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From Far-Fetched to Practical

“There are plenty of things that I’m super excited about,” says Jacob Noble ’18.

And Earlham has fanned the flame of his natural enthusiasm and, at the same time, helped him find possible careers to focus on.  In four years at Earlham, Noble worked in cataloging and inventory for the Joseph Moore Museum, completed a May Term at the Library of Congress, completed a summer internship at the Levi Coffin House, completed a May Term with retired State Senator Alan Paul, studied abroad for a semester in Jordan on an applied Fulbright grant, and convened the Earlham Historical Journal.

“There’s been quite a lot that I’ve been able to squeeze in my time here,” he says. “Looking back, wow, I’ve really done a lot. Through my classes it seems it was one thing after another, and a lot of cool opportunities come up working at the museum and as a history major more broadly.

“One of the biggest advantages at Earlham is its community. You really get to know people here, and by getting to know them, more and more opportunities become available to you.”

Noble is majoring in History with a minor in Museum Studies and a self-designed minor in Middle East studies. He’s been working at JMM since his sophomore year.

“It’s mostly been in the collections behind the scenes,” he says, including two years of cataloging bird specimens.

“It was a large project but very attainable,” he says. “It’s very satisfying to know that we have completed all of the work. It was really exciting.”

The bird project was completed during the summer of 2017 while Noble also served as an intern at nearby Levi Coffin House, a historic home referred to as the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad and used by hundreds of fugitive slaves on their journey to Canada.

“I was working to help to improve their collection database, and I did a bunch of mini research projects on their collections to determine period accuracy,” he says. “It was a really good experience. I was given a lot of leeway to do what I needed to do and a lot of support.”

Growing up, Noble liked going to historic museums and reading travel logs, but it wasn’t until enrolling in the  “That Belongs in a Museum” course that he began thinking about museums in an academic way.

Convening the student-led Earlham Historical Journal during Fall 2017 gave him insight into the article review process, the professional world of publishing, building consensus and debate.

While in Jordan, he learned that immersion is a great way to learn.

“Being there was a huge boon that made learning more interesting and more applicable,” he says. “So much is happening, and when you are there you find really clear cause and effect. And as a history major, I found that fascinating.

“It showed me ways that I could bring all of my far-fetched ideas and interests together,” he says. His experiences have opened up two or three career paths, including teaching in an academic setting, working as a preservationist and/or working in museum collections.





Jacob Noble

Jacob Noble 2018

Major at Earlham: History

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