Until Next Time, Farewell.

Since January, I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to intern at the Barker Mansion in Michigan City, Indiana. I started this internship as a means to secure the final credits needed for me to graduate this semester. When I first started, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with this blog. I didn’t know where I would take it. I’ve had the chance to write about a multitude of events, a bit of the history surrounding the mansion, and the future of the mansion. It’s been a great four months, and I’ve had the ability to learn a lot.

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I learned a lot from this establishment.

I want to thank Jessica Rosier for giving me this opportunity. She has been amazing to work for. She’s someone I’ve only gained more and more respect for the more I worked for and with her. When I first met with her, she asked me what I wanted to do for this internship which completely threw me off. I had this idea that I would just be told what to do. Instead, she made my internship a collaboration between the two of us. I thank her for that because I’ve loved writing this blog.

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The Throwback Games Event; the first event I was a part of.

Jessica knew I’m a creative writing major, and she made sure that my internship benefited my major, my craft. I remember the first blog I wrote. It took me the entire day, from the moment I walked into the mansion to the moment I left, to write it all. I felt in over my head after my first day. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, and I didn’t know how I would continue writing about the mansion. However, the staff at the mansion supported me. They helped me come up with ideas which all helped in the long run. As I look back at my past blog posts, I’ve definitely grown and the blog has continued to improve.

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One of many artifacts I learned about at the mansion.

I’ve had the chance to learn a lot about the Barker Mansion and the Barker family. I’ve been a part of numerous tours and been given small history lessons from different historical events the mansion held. I came into the mansion at an interesting time. Since Jessica has taken over, she has made it her goal to revitalize the mansion and make it a bigger part of the community of Michigan City. So far, she and her staff has done an amazing job. I’m grateful to have been a part of it all. The multitude of events the mansion has held have been successful and great learning lessons for everyone.

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As I end my internship, May 4th was my last day, I want to say thank you to Jessica and everyone at the Barker Mansion for this amazing opportunity. I’ve had the ability to learn a lot, and I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of something really special. I know the Barker Mansion will only continue to improve. I’ve been a part of many firsts at the mansion, including this blog, and it’s bittersweet to be walking away from it. Once again, thank you to the Barker Mansion for this opportunity. Until next time.


Miguel Valencia

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Jewelry Making at the Mansion

Last night at the Barker Mansion, we had a local from the community come to the mansion to teach a jewelry making class. Pat Frankinburger is a retired english teacher who has dedicated her retirement to numerous hobbies. One that she started around six years ago was jewelry making. From the moment she picked up a jewelry kit from Barnes and Noble, Pat has been making her own jewelry and continues to do so.

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Pat getting the class started.

The students for tonight’s class had the opportunity to create their own jewelry. They could choose between a bracelet and a pendant for the class. The class was all women, but there was a variety of ages. We had children, young adults, and adults all in attendance. Everyone seemed very eager to learn, and that’s not too surprising. Who wouldn’t want to know how to make their own jewelry? It’s probably cheaper in the longer run. Plus, as Pat shared with me, “there’s something special about wearing something you made”.

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The students making their pendants and bracelets.

As stated before, Pat used to be an english teacher. This was the first time Pat has ever taught a jewelry making class, but she naturally fit the part as teacher once again. She kept everyone’s attention and made sure to work one-on-one with everyone during the process. She told me before the class started that she felt nervous since this was her first time sharing her methods for making jewelry. She recalled the first time she wore her jewelry out in public. She wasn’t sure how people would respond, if they would respond at all. In the end, she received compliments for her jewelry. That was a great feeling for her then, and teaching this class was also a great feeling for her.

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Pat helping one of the students.

The reason Pat decided to have this class was due to her being in contact with Jessica, the head of the Barker Mansion. Pat has been a volunteer for the mansion, and felt there was no better place than the mansion to have her first class. When asked why, Pat simply said, “[it’s her] way of paying back the community”.

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Two of the finished bracelets.

Pat said, “it’s all about creativity” and that showed tonight during the class. She shared some pattern designs the students could do, but Pat encouraged everyone to do whatever they wanted. She promoted they be creative with it. In the end, it will be their jewelry, so it should look the way they want it to look.

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Pat giving one-on-one guidance.

Continuing on, the creativity had all always been there for Pat and the first person Pat taught how to make jewelry was her daughter, a fine arts major. Now, her daughter has gone on to make some fantastic jewelry, and Pat uses that as motivation to make her own jewelry better. Pat is currently looking into having another class with a troop of girl scouts in the future. She is excited about that prospect since it is a way to teach the girls something new while also allowing mothers and daughters to have a bonding experience the way Pat had with her own daughter.

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Pat Frankinburger, our jewelry making teacher for the night.

Making jewelry is a hobby for Pat, and she sees it staying that way. She’s been told to sell her jewelry on sites like Etsy and to create an online presence. Pat does attend craft shows and fairs to sell some of her jewelry. However, she isn’t looking to branch out and make her hobby into a business. She’s a crafter and enjoys making the jewelry for fun. Making some money isn’t bad, but in the end, it’s simply something fun to do. Pat has expressed the idea of having future classes, and we would love to have back again.


Miguel Valencia