I have officially completed one full week of work at my internship, and what a week it has been. I am interning at the White House Historical Association (WHHA) in their development department. WHHA is a private, non-profit organization that was founded by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. After she moved in she had a vision and made it come to life with the great restoration of the Executive Mansion. This organization was set up to help preserve the White House and give the public access to the history of the Official Residence. Whenever the First Lady has a project she wants done, whether that be redoing the family room or replacing a carpet, it is up to WHHA to help make sure that project gets done.
WHHA also host many events to help the community learn and develop a relationship with the White House. For example, they put on book signings with authors who write about different historical topics. They also host a workshop for teachers from around the United States to help enhance social studies classrooms.
The organization also has a couple different gift shops and visitor centers set up in Washington DC. They sell books, replicas of the china that has been in the President’s Palace throughout the year, White House puzzles, etc. One of the staple items that is featured in the shops is the annual White House Ornament. Before the organization had a develop department, the ornament brought in a majority of the revenue for the organization.
The private offices for WHHA are located a block away from the White House, next to Lafayette Park. One of the buildings that is owned by the organization is the Decatur house, which was the first private house built in the White House neighborhood. This house is still open for tours once a week and are put on by the historians of WHHA.
The White House Historical Association also has a large digital library that the public can access from their website. These include images of the White House, presidents and their families, the first family’s pets, different rooms within the White House, different events hosted at the White House, etc. Some images from the digital library have actually been purchased by the producers of House of Cards and other TV/Media outlets so that the movies and shows can create sets as similar to real life as possible.
It has been interesting working a block away from the Executive Mansion. Often times the roads get blocked off, sometimes for reasons that are known and sometimes for unknown reasons. Lafayette Park is right in front of the White House, and this also gets shut down often with secret service agents around.
This past week has been filled with many different fun activities. My favorite so far has been a National’s game. On Monday I went to a Brave’s and National’s game and had amazing seats. There are some great views of the rivers from the stadium. I sat with all the season ticket holders, so there was a lot of pride and energy, which made the experience that much more authentic.
The rest of the week was filled with shopping, trying new food places, exploring our neighborhood, and having game nights. Once the sun goes down the weather is pretty nice so we like to go out as a group and hang out at a patio for dinner. We love to ask each other about how our day’s went and enjoy each others presence.
Since my last post, considering I was still new in my internship, I learned a lot about development. My normal day consist of creating a data base of potential donors, whose names we pull from other non-profit organizations that are similar to ours. Basically our department deals with creating revenue for the organizations, so in short I am learning how to professionally ask people for money. There is obviously a lot more work that goes into doing just that, such as building rapport with prospects.
I have learned the importance of creating real relationships with people and how that effects your business and potentially your personal life. Creating connections is everything and i’m constantly learning how to be to be a young professional. Most importantly, i’m learning how to be the best me possible 🙂