The Archivists’ Corner: Getting to know your CHC archives staff, Part 2

This month, we are highlighting our fabulous archives staff here at the CHC.  Our part-time archives assistants, interns and volunteers do it all — from processing collections and writing finding aids, to cataloging the research library, taking care of fragile objects and collections materials, and promoting it all on social media.

Our second staff post features Meta Partenheimer, Digitization Assistant.

Hi, my name is Meta, and I work at the Cambridge Historical Commission as a Digitization Assistant. Before beginning my work, I started at the CHC through an internship while taking a course at Simmons, and came back to volunteer over the winter break.


Meta with the survey files!


A quick snapshot of the stacks I took last fall during a tour at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

I grew up in a small town in east-central Illinois, and attended college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While attaining my undergraduate degree in art history, I recognized that I loved spending time browsing the stacks and researching, and wanted to facilitate that experience for others.

After school, I moved to Oklahoma City where I worked for The American Pigeon Museum & Library, and the Oklahoma Historical Society. Working at these institutions helped me realize I wanted to become an archivist, and I decided to apply to the Master of Library and Information Science program at Simmons. Currently, I am halfway through my work towards an MLIS with an archives concentration. In addition to working at the CHC, I also intern at the John F. Kennedy Library.


A collection of racing homer photographs from The American Pigeon Museum.

My dream job would be professional beer tester—but I think more realistically I would love to work as an archivist with the Archives of American Art in Washington, DC. When I’m not archiving or catching up on homework, you can probably find me listening to a true-crime podcast, going to the gym, or catching up on my favorite British drama shows.

Fun facts about me:

  • My first paying job was detasseling corn the summer before I turned thirteen.
  • I have a cat named Winslow

Winslow at Christmastime on the farm in Illinois.

  • I am an avid fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder

My first OKC Thunder game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.

One of the strangest things I’ve discovered during my archival career was with the Manuscripts department at OHS. One summer, we were charged with collecting and preserving items from the State Capitol Publishing Museum, which had been closed for a number of years. While recovering a drawer of documents, I came across a small mummified mouse which my colleagues and I dubbed “Frontier Mouse.”


Each drawer on this wall held a blank book of forms for orders, permits, and other paperwork. I found “Frontier Mouse” in the top row.

So far, my favorite archival find at the CHC is a collection of cyanotypes that were taken during the construction of the subway system in Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding areas.


Cyanotype titled “Kendall Sq. Station” from the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) Collection, dated 28 March 1910.

Currently, I am working on digitizing our architectural survey files, processing collections, and creating posts on CHC social media.



2 thoughts on “The Archivists’ Corner: Getting to know your CHC archives staff, Part 2

  1. It’s wonderful having you with us. I hope you don’t have a chance to demonstrate to the commission your bravery around critters!


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