Staff Spotlight: Destinee Sparks

by Alexandra Rasic

The Homestead is excited to have Destinee Sparks as our Museum Intern this summer. A junior studying history at Cal Poly Pomona, Destinee is approaching the way she is planning for her career in the museum field like a great runner; she’s strategic, intuitive, and determined. Using a sports analogy of some kind is a must, because sports are one of her passions, and she has already begun looking at the Homestead’s collection to see what she can find and share. Look for some exciting blog and social media posts in the coming months! In the meantime, you can learn a little more about her below.

Why did you apply for the Museum Intern position?IMG_20190619_123340465

I applied for the position because I had visited the Homestead before and became interested in the abundance of different stories the museum tells, from the Mexican era to the Great Depression. The wealth of narratives interested me because I could have the opportunity to explore many different time periods within American history. I wanted to work in public programs because I want to gain experience in how a museum connects with its audience. One day, I would like to become a curator and having this experience will inform how I create exhibits that every person in a family can interact with. Finally, I applied for the position because I had not worked in a history museum, or a house museum. Most of my experience was in a science museum and an archive. I wanted to learn the differences between the two types of museums and how both a museum and its archive work together.

What inspired your love of history?

Honestly, I have no idea. From elementary through high school I had always gotten good grades in my history classes, but I enjoyed my science classes more than history. After my first quarter in college, I realized that science was not for me. So, I began to take some general education classes to see what subjects interested me. Then, I took an early American history class and something clicked. It was different from any other history class I had taken before. The primary sources I was reading made the history vibrant and all of a sudden, history was more than just old dead people. But it was not until I took a sports history class that I began to love history. I have always enjoyed watching sports and studying them has been exciting so far. Being able to track themes from history that are still relevant today is really amazing, such as equal pay and recognition for female athletes and their sports, and the increased influence of advertising in sports.

Tell us about your favorite museums. What makes them special?

My favorite museums are the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Civil Rights Museum. What I like about these two museums is the breadth of their exhibits. As I said before, I am interested in many different periods, so being able to tell a lot of different stories in the same place is nice. What makes these museums special is that because of the breadth of stories told, there are many connections that can be made to all ages of people.

You’ve been digging into our collection looking at items related to sports for a social media series. Tell us about the most surprising item you’ve discovered so far.wordpressedit

There are two surprising things that I have discovered so far. First, how big Southern California was on car racing in the ‘20s. There are a lot of items in the collection that document early races. It is surprising because today racing is seen as more of a Southern activity, not Western. Another surprising find was a 1927 USC football ticket from the LA Coliseum that was stamped, “MEN’S SECTION.” I have no idea what that means, but it is going to be interesting to learn the backstory as I do more research.

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