Koby Haigerty ’21 builds a brand new exhibit based entirely around music in Walla Walla at Fort Walla Walla Museum in Walla Walla, WA

Hi! My name is Koby Haigerty, I am a rising Junior, and a Music Composition and Film and Media Studies double major. This Summer I will be working as a collections intern at the Fort Walla Walla Museum!

As a collections intern, I will be undertaking the broad task of categorizing, sorting, and archiving the many (and I mean many) artifacts, pictures, documents, and objects that the museum has yet to find a place and a number.  This also includes working through the already filed artifacts and searching for wear, tear, or rot, and generally making sure that all the artifacts are in as good condition as possible.  As exciting as all that sounds, my main focus for the summer will be taking charge of the design, and eventual installment, of a brand new exhibit based entirely around music in Walla Walla!

This project begins with an inventory of all things music related that the museum has to offer–instruments, photographs, scores, programmes–because all of these could be what inspires the exhibit’s primary focus and theme.  Will it be a timeline of sorts, tracking the Walla Walla Valley’s musical history from person to person?  Or will it be a more objective overview of music in Walla Walla as a historical whole? Will it focus on a single individual with a rich history? Or even a single event? After the inventory, I can take whichever artifacts I find to be the most interesting or informative and do a little (a lot) of research on them.  Where did they come from?  Who were they used by?  Were they used in a way that makes them stand out?  If the artifact has a story, it’s my job to find it.  Whether it’s something as mundane as a set of guitar strings, or something as rich as a military drum or bugle that actually saw combat during a war, anything that helps paint the larger narrative of the exhibit in wider strokes is more than helpful.

Finally, once all necessary pieces have been selected, and all the relevant information has been compiled, the exhibit itself must be designed.  Will it have a direction that it asks patrons to specifically move in, or will it lack direction and be more free-form?  How dense will the information presented be?  What will be most aesthetically pleasing for patrons? While no doubt the most fun, this final step in the design process is potentially the biggest challenge on account of its ambiguity and lack of structure providing no set start point.  Challenge or no, I am beyond ready to begin working on the exhibit, and leave my mark on the museum even as the Summer comes to an end!


Experiences like Koby Haigerty’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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