Alejandro Garcia

Alejandro Garcia

Last week was mostly preparation for the Annual Inventory of the collections here at CHAM, this week however we had an opportunity to engage with applied archival and historical work. I worked closely with my supervisor and Cultural Resource Program Manager, Mark Calamia, Rodney Sauter an Interpretive Ranger and with my assistant intern, Juan (in the picture from the last blog entry) on the three different inventories of the overall Annual Inventory of our museum collection at CHAM. We began with the “Controlled Property” inventory which was housed in our vault and began the “Random Objects” list which were found in three separate storage locations one being off-site. The “Random Objects” list took two full days to complete, the following day we began the “Accessions Files” list which was mostly locating the records and paperwork pertaining to each accession in the museum collection, although for some we had to also locate the object. This was a long week and I learned quite a lot about what exactly our collection was comprised as a means to continue the development of the update to the Scope Of Collections Statement here at CHAM. Archiving and Collections Management are key elements of our work, and to be honest I really do enjoy it! That Friday I continued the documentation of non-accessioned items and continued to read about the management of museum collections by the NPS. I also began reading the SOCS of three other memorial parks of the NPS, as a means to understand how they were developed and written in comparison to the 2010 SOCS at CHAM. Onward and upward my people!!! 

This week was intense and fun!  We completed the necessary IMT training in order to have access to the NPS computer system in time to start the Annual Inventory of the museum collections the following week. After our visit from Khallel from WACC, we had plenty of work to do in order to prepare for their return visit to transport archives and a/v reels to their facility in Tucson. I had plenty of research and reading material, such as the NPS-28 document, to engage with in order to begin the update to the Scope Of Collections Statement at the Chamizal National Memorial with my direct supervisor, Cultural Resource Program Manager, Mark Calamia. At the end of the week, we received packing materials for the records, archives and a/v reels that would be transported to the WACC facility later in the summer. Next week, we will begin the Annual Inventory of the museum collection and I am looking forward to the process. We’re getting closer to our trip to D.C. and I am so looking forward to meeting all the other LHIP and Mosaics interns. As always Pa’lante mi gente con mucho carino, y si se puede!!!

In preparation for the visit from the regional assistant archivist from the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center (WACC) we spent some time organizing some protective archival materials and supplies we had at our off-site warehouse. This week was jam packed with work, and the opportunity to engage with the senior staff at Chamizal and from the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center (WACC). I was able to be involved with the briefing and debriefing meetings this week by Khaleel the assistant archivist from WACC along with the Superintendent here at CHAM, Gus F. Sanchez, the Cultural Resource manager, Mark Calamia, and Interpretation officer, Rod Sauter. We spent most of the week with Khaleel working on identifying the items that WACC would be taking back to their facilities for final archiving. Some of the materials that were of high priority and interest to him were the central files and personal papers I was able to locate during the inventory of non-accessioned items earlier in my internship. This work was what I really wanted to engage in, and for that I am thankful and grateful to both LHIP/EFTA and the NPS. At this point I am looking forward to what the rest of my summer internship will bring, and like always, ¡¡¡Pa’lante mi gente!!!

So this past week we were able to get on site and meet some of the staff at CHAM. I continued the inventory of non-accessioned item of the collection and began reading the last SOCS as a means to move forward with its update. I finished the transcriptions of the oral histories of former smelter workers, and the Smeltertown residents which taught me so much of the industrial history of El Paso from the end of the nineteenth century to the twentieth. It blew my mind seeing the documents, memorandums and personal documents at CHAM from its inception in 1966 as we continued the inventory of non-accessioned items. There were a few correspondences from the white house which revealed quite a bit of the development and founding of the Chamizal National Memorial Park and its first superintendent, Franklin G. Smith.

Like always, ¡¡¡Pa’lante mi gente!!!

This second week of my L.H.I.P. internship at CHAM was really fun, we continued our oral history project at a community partner institution. In addition we started discussing and implementing the direction of my project for the summer which would consist of finishing the inventory of non-accessioned items at CHAM in order to update the Scope of Collections Statement. I made some interesting discoveries while conducting the inventory, among some random items I found the central files and personal papers of the first Superintendent at CHAM. This summer will be full of discoveries, and I look forward to further developing my skills as a cultural resource specialist while learning from my mentor here at CHAM, Mark Calamia, Cultural Resource Manager for the NPS. I will keep this post short and sweet, while I continue my work and look forward to hearing from my colleagues and their adventures with L.H.I.P. this summer. Like always, ¡¡¡Pa’lante mi gente!!!

My name is Alejandro Garcia. I live in El Paso, Texas and I will be working at the Chamizal National Memorial here on the US-Mexico border. I am currently completing my Master's degree in history at UTEP, where I focus on public history and borderlands history. This internship will be my first, and I am looking forward to working with the National Park Service (NPS) and engaging in cultural resource work at the park. I have begun my internship offsite at a community partner institution, and we are currently transcribing oral histories for an upcoming exhibit and in order to add to the archive of another community partner institution. The project I will be engaged in will consist of an inventory of non-accessioned items as a means of updating the “Scope Of Collections Statement” here at CHAM. I am looking forward to meeting our goals for this project this summer. Additionally, I am looking forward to meeting all the other Latino Heritage Internship Program I(LHIP) nterns this August in Washington D.C.!

¡¡¡Pa’lante mi gente!!!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 12:30

Alejandro Garcia

My name is Alejandro Garcia, and I am a historian and cultural anthropologist based in El Paso, Texas. I earned a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on African American Studies, and a B.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis on Cultural Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Archaeological Field Methods, and Cultural Resource Management at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the History Department at UTEP, with an emphasis on borderlands studies and public history. I am actively conducting research on the ongoing process of constitutional recognition for afro-descendant communities in Mexico by defining cultural difference through music and other cultural expressions. I am also currently the graduate student Research Assistant for the Museo Urbano, The Center for Borderlands History, The Public History Lab and The Institute of Oral History at UTEP. I have also served as lecturer, curator, assistant curator, and as a researcher for exhibits at The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, The History Museum of El Paso, and the Centennial Museum at UTEP.