This summer Methodist University senior Lin Baumeister will help museum staff catalog artifacts in the Calvin Jones House. Her work will help strengthen tours of the Calvin Jones House. To learn more about Lin, we asked her to complete a short questionnaire.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a senior at Methodist University with a History major and an English minor. When I’m not reading about dead people, I enjoy hiking, growing mushrooms, and talking to anyone who will listen about food, politics, and commodity chains; I’m also embarrassingly good at playing Overwatch and remembering Taco Bell advertising campaigns.
What interested you in this internship and what do you hope to learn?
This internship interested me in part because understanding local history is extremely important, particularly when you live somewhere as strange as North Carolina. I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of the construction of public history, and how we may use artifacts to provoke greater curiosity about the past.
What are your personal historical interests?
My personal historical interests have been somewhat all over the place but I’ve found my research on the specialized language usage in fugitive slave advertisements to be particularly rewarding. Understanding the most painful and uncomfortable aspects of our history is necessary to confront the uncomfortable realities of our own time, especially when those histories have been ignored and sorely misrepresented. I would also say that there are some really interesting connections between medievalism, white nationalism, and metal music that I would love to explore further.
What has been your favorite class at Methodist? What did you enjoy most about it?
As cliche as it sounds, it’s difficult to pick a favorite class as so many of them have been essential in forming my current understanding and appreciation for history. If I were to pick just one, however, I would say without exaggeration that–as someone who had little prior interest in history–the introductory world history course that I took as part of a general education requirement changed my life (thank you Dr. O’Neil). The actual material covered was far less important than the skills I was taught and the realization that I actually loved history–once I was given the tools to properly explore it. Excluding that personal significance, the Middle Ages in Film class I took was fascinating and instrumental in shaping my understanding of the rhetorical utility of medievalism and historical narratives more generally.
What are your plans after graduating?
I’ve been careening towards graduate school, so if all goes according to plan that will be my next venture. If not, I will either dedicate myself more fully to activism and mushroom cultivation or pile everything into my Prius and drive out west to enjoy the aforementioned hikes in the great Mojave wilderness.
What’s one book you’ve read recently that you’d recommend to others and why?
Recently I’ve been reading Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy, and while I have some criticisms of the work I think it’s a fantastic way of learning more about our relationship with fungi, mycoremediation, and cultivation. Fungi present a really useful way of looking at the world–both literally in the case of mycoremediation, and metaphorically as we may apply the model of fungal mycelium to our understandings of history, community, and identity–and I think McCoy presents a lot of useful information in an accessible way that hopefully sparks greater curiosity about our natural world and our place within it.