Special Collections and Archives blog

Introducing the 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern – Ms. Britney Bibeault

Britney Bibeault, 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern
Image Courtesy of Britney Bibeault

It is our pleasure to announce Britney Bibeault as the 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern. Britney will be working with the staff of Special Collections and Archives to develop virtual and physical exhibits celebrating the life and activities of actress, singer/songwriter, river runner, author, activist, and world class cusser, Katie Lee. Britney is completing her junior year in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University studying anthropology and history.

Britney is the recipient of the Lumberjack scholarship and a member of the NAU Honors Society – Alpha Lambda Delta; she’s been on the Dean’s List since her arrival. Britney is a student assistant in Special Collections and Archives, where she arranged and described the manuscript portion of the Katie Lee collection. She also received the Mary Crawley scholarship in 2018.

To give everyone the opportunity to learn a bit more about Britney, we asked her a few questions…the most important of which is the last question.

What are you studying at NAU?

I am studying history and anthropology with an emphasis on archaeology. I’m fascinated by the study of previous cultures and history and what they tell us about ourselves.

Tell us where you’re from and why you chose NAU?

My family is currently living in Buckeye, AZ, but I have lived in Idaho, New Mexico, and England. I came to NAU because it is in Arizona and it’s close to my family. It’s also a beautiful area where it rains and there are a wide variety of outdoor and recreational activities. Academically, I was drawn to the Honors Program (now College) and the faculty in the Honors College.

What are you hoping to learn from the experience?

Katie Lee in Dungeon Canyon,
Photograph Courtesy of Tad Nichols Collection, NAU.PH.

I am hoping to learn how to present information to the public in a way that is relatable and relevant. I had the opportunity to arrange and describe Katie’s collection, which combines my interest in history with the study of earlier cultures. Katie is a well-know figure in the region and she was involved with so many different things, such as acting, signing, writing, activism, etc. While I was going through her collection, I was learning about early human and indigenous activity in the Glen Canyon region of the Colorado Plateau. These things excite me!

What interested you about the Reilly Internship?

The Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship interested me because I would like to eventually work in a museum or archives, sharing and interpreting historical information to the public. The internship provides the perfect opportunity to learn how to develop an exhibit, tell a compelling story, and fabricate and install an exhibit. As I mentioned above, I processed the manuscript portion of the Katie Lee Collection and found myself wanting to learn more and understand her in a broader historical context.

Katie Lee, Glen Canyon, May 1954
Photograph Courtesy of Tad Nichols Collection, NAU.PH.

Do you have a favorite Katie Lee quote, story, photo (PG13 rated), and/or something from her life that you would like to share with us?

One of the fascinating aspects of Katie Lee that isn’t quite as well-known is world travels. When she was in her late 50s, she inherited some money and used it to travel the world and kept detailed journals of her trip which are absolutely amazing. It is a dream of mine to travel around the world and Katie’s trip is inspirational.

What inspires you outside of class, studying, and the internship, and why?

I have many things that inspire me outside of class, studying, and the internship. My family and friends inspire me to grow and become a better person. I am inspired by the beauty around me in nature and other people. I’m also inspired by makers (people who crochet, knit, dye yarn quilt, essentially just make things) because I hope to be able to create beautiful things that people enjoy.

Are you in camp dog or cat…and why?

I love cats. I have a cat, named Abe, and Abe is the kewlest kat around. Anytime I see a cat, I get so excited. I actually have a tattoo of one of my cats. I like dogs; okay, I only like Corgis, because they’re dogs trained as cats, and they’re cute.

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