"This past summer I participated in a Curatorial Internship at the Flint Institute of Arts and worked under Tracee Glab, the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions. My project for the summer was researching and writing labels for fifteen works produced by the Taller de Gráfica Popular, or the People's Print Workshop, which is based out of Mexico City. I got to know prints that were specifically made during the heyday of the workshop, this being the 1930s and 40s. I found the work captivating; the complex social messages, layers of iconography, and technical skill in each print really made my internship experience an enjoyable and important one. I was also applying skills from my education in the History of Art department in a way I've never done before on a professional level.
Researching, writing, and collaborating with the Curatorial Department at the FIA was a priceless learning experience. I feel it also cemented my love for my discipline and my preparedness to move forward as an aspiring museum professional post-graduation. I had the chance to visit the Print Library in-person and see the prints up-close midway through my internship, and that moment of connection with objects and an institution as a whole is one that I will surely not forget.
In addition to this, I took on proposing new translations for some of the titles of pieces that were previously ignorantly translated by the original English-speaking publishers of the portfolio in the collection. With this project came a slew of museological questions that really impacted my understanding of collections and language as a way of understanding objects. My proposed titles and new labels are being transferred into the FIA database this Fall, and I feel as though this scholarship ultimately permitted me to do some really important work this summer."
Thank you and thanks to the History of Art Department again for the support, I'm so happy to be a part of such a stellar department!!
Lisa Ryou - University of Michigan Natural History Museum
During my internship, I was able to create discovery guides for the Exploring Michigan gallery at the University of Michigan Natural History Museum. The guides are worksheets to help guide students and families through the gallery. I hope that they will spark conversation and have them excited to explore. The other part of my internship was continuing my work as a docent at the museum. As we slowly reopened to the public, seeing the museum filled with people once again was exciting!
This summer, I had the opportunity to attend a virtual internship with the Conservation Department at the Penn Museum under the supervision of Lynn Grant. The experience was fundamental for me because it gave me hands-on experience in a field that I only understood conceptually.
My internship was split into two parts: a project digitizing film and learning about actual conservation techniques and skills.
The digitization project involved digitizing archival 35mm color film from previous conservation projects that took place anywhere from the early 1970s to about 2001. For this project, I digitized about 900 images and recorded any data that was included on the slide mount. This data is important to the museum because it can be used for research and to learn more about the past treatment of objects. Before the digitization, these images were only available physically but now they will be uploaded into a database and can be readily accessible.
The second part of the internship was learning about conservation and involved weekly lectures which I attended on zoom. These lectures were presented by members of the Conservation Department and discussed various topics in the field of conservation such as monumental stone conservation or techniques for analysis. The opportunity to ask questions directly to conservators and to learn about their experiences in the field was an incredible learning experience. I was able to get to know the members of the department during these meetings and I received valuable career advice.
During my internship I also worked on my own conservation project where I was able to apply the conservation skills that I learned during the lectures. I received from my supervisor a broken ceramic vessel and was tasked with putting it back together, following the steps that would be required in a real conservation lab. This was a long process involving written and photo documentation, figuring out how the pieces fit back together, allowing adhesive to dry, adjusting as necessary, and cleaning away extra adhesive. This was my favorite project because it was so hands-on and allowed me to practice skills that I will use in the future.
I am very grateful for the funding that made this internship possible. This experience has made me confident in my decision to pursue a career in Conservation and I feel prepared to navigate my next steps after graduation!
Sophia Layton - Missula Art Museum
I pursued a virtual internship with the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) in the summer of 2020. They are a contemporary art museum located in Montana’s Missoula Valley. After hearing the programs I applied for pre-pandemic were entirely canceled, the prospect of working for a museum I grew up with was comforting and inspiring. I applied on quite short notice, but they accepted me with open arms. I quickly fell into step with weekly education and staff zoom meetings.
I was delighted to be offered the task of researching, conceptualizing, and writing an online course inspired by an upcoming exhibition covering the work of a Japanese American artist, Takuichi Fujii. Pursuing a minor in Asian Language and Cultures, this was an excellent opportunity to expand my knowledge on the Japanese American Experience. The exhibition was centered around Fujii’s experience in Internment during WWII. The course would be made available to middle school classrooms all over Montana. I adapted the exhibit into five modules and a concept which I came up with called the “virtual goodie bag.” It is essentially a Japanese and Japanese American popular culture playlist with movies, books, music, and television. MAM’s small staff granted me much authority on this project.
About halfway through my internship, I was discussing an exhibition the MAM was hosting of contemporary artist Stephen Braun. It became quickly apparent that the use of racist and antisemitic imagery in the exhibit was heedlessly inflammatory and threatening to visitors. This situation was especially perplexing considering the museum’s ongoing discussions around anti-racism. I wrote a statement which sparked the museum to self-reflect and to begin rewriting the wall-text. Carrying along this discussion taught me how to walk the line between questioning authority and appeasing it. I was happy to play a part in the museum’s recognition of its biases
and its stance on neutrality. The potential of blank museum walls has always been thus, “what artists are you saying no to when you say yes to artist XYZ?”
After spending all my time for this internship working remotely, and creating a virtual learning experience, my thinking about the museum mission and the museum as a physical space has become complicated. Museums have empty walls to fill and while that is an epic responsibility, profound learning experiences can happen miles and miles away from the brick and mortar of it all.
This summer, I had the amazing and life-changing experience of interning as an archival assistant for Dr. Margaret Carney, the founding director of the International Museum of Dinnerware Design (or IMoDD, located in Ann Arbor, MI). Not only did I have the chance to refine and hone my skills and learn an incredible amount of information, I also formed (what I hope to be) a lifelong friendship and mentor/mentee relationship with Margaret (and her three amazing cats, Pingguo, Carob, and Tomato, who I get to see every time I go to work!).
At IMoDD I was exposed to many different tasks and jobs, however my internship was focused around archives, as my goal is to (eventually) get my Master’s in Library Science and become an archivist. My first task was to create scrapbooks of all of the articles, flyers, and publications that the museum sent out or was mentioned in. This involved organizing chronologically, cutting things precisely, and an eye for detail and placement. When I was finished, I had filled out two scrapbooks almost completely.
After I completed the scrapbooks, I catalogued roughly 150 (mostly) archival objects (along with dinnerware itself). In order to do this, I scanned these objects, wrote detailed descriptions of them, and entered them into IMoDD’s database. Occasionally, this involved doing research into who the manufacturer or designer of certain objects was – I spent time conversing with manufacturers and finding information on niche sites. This took a while to learn, but by the end of my internship, I felt very comfortable with the task!
From July 15th through the 21st, I had the opportunity to take over the UM Students’ Twitter account (@UMichStudents) and talk about my summer internship and the museum itself. I thought it would be both a good chance to try working with social media in a museum context and fun to talk about the amazing stuff I was doing. Honestly, I’m not sure how many people I was able to reach, but I think it was a good experience to have, anyways.
The International Museum of Dinnerware Design is a small, recently established (2012) museum, containing around 8,000 objects related to dinnerware and the dining experience. Because of this, I learned a lot about what running a small museum is like. Dr. Carney is usually a one person show – with help from volunteers and her board – so I got to see all of the different tasks she has to do on the day-to-day. I helped with the search for places to hold pop-up exhibits and grants and also worked on various membership tasks. I learned a lot about donor relations and the financing questions a small museum, especially one that’s not connected to an institution, faces.
While my thinking about museums as incredibly important cultural institutions hasn’t changed, my thoughts surrounding smaller museums have. I’ve had the chance to see the difficulty they have receiving funding from donors, along with the disparity between state funding, federal funding, and community involvement in comparison to larger, more established museums.
I had a truly amazing internship experience this summer at IMoDD with Margaret, Pingguo, Carob, and Tomato, and I look forward to my continued work with them.
Over the course of the 6 weeks that I worked at the Dallas Museum of Art in the heart of Dallas Texas, I have worked closely with Dr. Heather Ecker, a curator of Islamic Art, on a variety of projects. Primarily, I have been helping her to completely re-curate the exhibition of the objects in the Keir Collection – a loaned collection of Islamic art here at the DMA. The collection was loaned to the museum in 2014 by the family of the collector Edmund De Unger. Dr. Ecker was hired a year ago to promote the curation and education of that collection.
We have also begun curation of the Keir's traveling show, which is expected to occur in 2024-2025. Through this work, I have gotten to know the objects in this one-of-a-kind collection and it has been immensely exciting for me to be able to work with the objects hands-on. In addition, I have been able to shadow Dr. Ecker in various meetings and have therefore gained insight into the career of curation--this experience has not only confirmed but highly encouraged and motivated my desire to become a curator. Those meetings have regarded a variety of issues including the travelling show, the exhibition plans for the coming year, bi-weekly exhibition logistics, and meetings regarding research for Heather’s future exhibitions. Smaller side projects included making a masterlist of manuscript pages of a story for a French publishing company, printing Persian manuscript pages for Mashhad research, and photocopying pages for research on Cartier (an exhibition on how the jewelry was Islamic inspired).
During my internship, Dr. Ecker asked for my opinions and insights on projects that she was working on--some of which she included in labels and reports to colleagues. I have also come away from the internship with a new theory regarding a hook and chain here in our collection, along with some ewers that include similar visual elements – I think that they have been incorrectly located. I plan on publishing my findings in a senior honors thesis in my final year at the University of Michigan.
It has come to my attention that the University of Michigan’s Museum Studies Program is considering collaborating with the Dallas Museum of Art to help provide interns. I would highly recommend the program but hope that any incoming interns receive notice of their acceptance many months before their internship begins. This is for a couple reasons: 1. to obtain funds early on in order to begin purchasing housing, plane tickets, and plan transportation accordingly 2. to be able to find housing in advance. I think the expectations of the internship should also be carefully laid out before a student’s application to the program. Also, I was extremely grateful and lucky for the Museum Studies Scholarship of $4,500, though I was limited to either purchasing housing or renting a car with those funds. Obviously, it depends on the situation of the intern if that amount will work for them, especially if they end up working at the DMA for more than 6 weeks. Of course, the internship itself was more than I could’ve asked for and I would highly recommend it. All of this information has already been communicated to Sarah Coffey, the Education Coordinator for Internships at the DMA.
Over this past summer (2019) I had the opportunity to intern at Sotheby’s in New York City thanks to the support of the History of Art Internship Scholarship. Upon my arrival to the Sotheby’s internship program, I was placed in the Proposals Department. As the only intern in this department, I had a hands-on experience in helping to produce proposals that are sent to our international clients. My department acts as a lynchpin between the business development team, specialist teams, and marketing department; this allowed for me to learn about many aspects of Sotheby’s business, and how the departments collaborate to win big consignments. While I was an intern, we won numerous big sales for the upcoming fall and spring seasons. My tasks included proof-reading; researching artists, clients, and auction records; and streamlining resources, such as images, case studies, quotes, and more. I assisted in the overall writing, designing, and production of the proposals. The work was incredibly detail-oriented and taught me a lot about business-getting strategy and client relations.
My favorite part of the summer was our internship programming. Every Tuesday we had a speaker series with the Vice Presidents of many different departments. My favorite speaker series was with the Worldwide Head of Restitution who talked to us about both the legal and press concerns of looted art, as well as the ethical concerns. We also learned about client development, the auction process, the art of service, and future career opportunities. On Fridays, we had offsite visits to other businesses and cultural institutions. We visited museums such as the Judd Foundation, The Frick, and The Whitney, where we attended private curator-led tours. My favorite visits were to Paddle8, LaPlaca Cohen, and Kickstarter. These visits were a chance to talk to visual arts professionals and learn about other professional opportunities within a similar field. On top of the intern programming, working at Sotheby’s granted me access to interesting events and exhibitions. As a lover of feminist art, I was ecstatic to attend a lecture with one of the founding members of the Guerrilla Girls. It was also amazing to be able to pop-down to our gallery spaces and view works from our contemporary online sales, the Chatsworth exhibition, high-fashion sneakers, and an installation of ArtForum covers.
Overall, interning with Sotheby’s was a fantastic experience that taught me a lot about auction houses, as well as other institutions, corporations, and start-ups within the art world. I believe this summer has opened many doors for me, and I am so thankful for the History of Art department and their donor’s support!
This summer I worked with Karl Longstreth at the Clark Map Library, looking at Michigan’s collection of Renaissance maps depicting the city of Rome. I learned a lot about cartography, methods of representing cities, and the history of printmaking, in addition to how a research library collects and displays its objects. Karl Longstreth and I worked with maps held in the Clark Library and Michigan’s Special Collections, and we took a trip to the DIA to see their collection of prints. The maps often appeared within books written about Rome or in atlases that collected city imagery, but several were printed alone for use as wall hangings.
Some of the maps depicted Rome as it could have been seen at the time of the making of the images. The most common ways of doing this were showing the city from a bird’s eye view or obliquely from an imaginary hill overlooking the city. Most interesting to me, however, were maps that reconstructed the appearance of Rome at the height of the Empire, over 1000 years before. Some printmakers worked like archaeologists, carefully analyzing the ruins of monuments, textual sources, and images on coins in order to recreate the ancient city. Other artists relied more on their imagination, taking creative license to make fantastic images of a lost imperial capital. To study these images I looked at traditional cartographic texts that described the technical process of mapmaking, but also new art historical research that studies the deliberate choices used by artists to represent a place.
One of my main projects was writing a report on the De Disegni delle piu illustri città, et fortezze del Mondo, an atlas of city images made by Giulio Ballino in 1569. The book contains 55 images of cities, from Venice to Tenochtitlan, four of which depict Rome. This is an early city atlas, and the images differ wildly without a standard method of representing each city. During my internship I researched the origin of each image and tracked how it was copied in the following decades. At the end of the summer I scanned the book for online viewing and wrote up a report on my research for use in the library.
I learned a lot from this summer in the Clark Library, and it was a great opportunity to have hands on access to these centuries-old objects. I enjoyed working with maps and I hope to continue learning about city representation in the future.
● Created a map of artwork locations throughout the museum to be distributed at the July Summer Institute for Teachers
● Assisted in the creation of a ‘facebook’ of information for new interns and fellows in the Education Department.
● Coordinated and developed ‘zones of artistic inquiry’ for six Institute ‘teach-out’ sessions with educators
● Prepared informational packets of activity guides and artworks cards to be distributed to Institute teachers
● Created instructional Smithsonian object collections with interactive textual material using the Smithsonian Learning Lab
○ Published a collection entitled “The Changing Image of American Classrooms,” which used Smithsonian accessioned objects, video content, and website resources to discuss the Civil Rights movement and other developments in the teaching profession. The collection was later used for the Summer Institute Teachers, who will also be working the Smithsonian Learning Lab to create their own lesson plans.
● Brainstormed and created new in-gallery activities for families and intergenerational audiences
● Facilitated the production of the Summer Institute for Teachers through two individual weeks in July. Fifty-nine teachers in total from 25 states and China participated in this year’s Institute.
○ Managed and tracked teacher attendance and participation
○ Assisted SAAM staff in facilitating gallery conversations and visual thinking strategy activities
○ Presented on the history and development of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the chosen visit site for a Wednesday ‘field trip’ each week
○ Developed and led an in-gallery postcard activity
○ Led a group of teachers through a practice run of their presentations on a single artwork utilizing Harvard Project Zero visual thinking exercises.
○ Assisted in onboarding Institute teachers to the Smithsonian Learning Lab, which they explored and used throughout the week in developing the outline for their lesson plan. Completed lesson plans from this year’s Institute can be found at https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=%23SAAMteach&st_op=and&item_type=col lections.
● Assisted in facilitating breakout sessions for WISSIT Conference Museum Day – A local teacher conference organized by the Washington International School and Harvard Project Zero.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection - Venice, Italy
This past two months, both June and July, I had the opportunity to work at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (PGC) in Venice, Italy, an unforgettable experience that I will always treasure. Housed in the Palazzo dei Leoni, interning at this highly renowned institution was both challenging and enriching and had a profound impact on me both personally and professionally. I received valuable knowledge on the art world, curation, and the logistical interworking of a museum, all while overlooking the Grand Canal, surrounded by the beauty of the city of Venice.
In addition to being one of the most beautiful and mysterious cities in the world, Venice truly is the perfect place to explore as a History of Art major. The PGC contains an array of twentieth-century avant-garde art; From Ernst to Picasso to Pollock, I was able to work and study amongst modern masterpieces inside the museum, and then outside of the museum on my days off I was able to see many masterpieces of the Renaissance and visit museums such as the Ca’ Pesaro, Museo Correr, San Marco, Palazzo Grassi, and last but not least Venice’s Biennale, an international art exhibition featuring contemporary art from various countries linked by a particular curatorial theme (this exhibition dates back to 1895 in Venice).
As an intern at the PGC, I was given a great deal of responsibility and faith to execute tasks assigned. Interns assist in various aspects of daily museum operations, giving a broad insight into the workings of an art museum. I prepared the galleries prior to opening, making sure the works are ready for public display. I also guarded rooms, a great opportunity to become more familiar with the works in the collection and to also simply enjoy the masterpieces around me. While guarding, I would also serve as a docent for the public, answering any questions at hand and interacting directly with the museum visitors. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge of the collection with the public in a more informal conversation. I would also help staff visitor facilities such as the cloakroom and ticket office, managing entrances and catalogue sales. This position was very rewarding, as it gave me a chance to practice my foreign language skills, welcoming visitors from around the world. Lastly, as far as operationally, I would help staff private events, seeing the PGC past its regular operating hours and how it engages with the public on a more personal level.
In addition to museum operations, interns are also responsible for educational programs at the museum. I was unaware of just how much my knowledge of modern art and its context would grow in such a short time. The internship is a complete immersion into modern art; interns need to become familiar quickly with the entire collection and its history. Throughout my time at the museum, I gave many more formal talks to the public on various subjects. I gave biographical presentations in the garden on the life of one of the most colorful art patrons, Peggy Guggenheim herself, including her exceptional life, her achievements as a collector in both Europe and the United States, and her specific contributions to the city of Venice. I also had the opportunity to create a detailed analysis of a specific painting in the collection, including its context and backstory of the artist. Lastly, I gave talks on the temporary exhibitions in the museum, 1948: The Biennale of Peggy Guggenheim and Josef Albers in Mexico. Although I was nervous at first, having to memorize many new ideas and facts in a short amount of time, my public speaking skills developed a great deal. I also had the access to the various archives in the library for study on the collection and the encouragement of the close-knit, supporting community of the museum. I felt confident at the end of my internship, transforming my research into an accessible and entertaining discourse.
While the Guggenheim Foundation is an American foundation, the Peggy Guggenheim, is located in Italy, meaning Italian is a main language used in the museum. Having studied Italian at Michigan and also in Florence this past semester, this internship was also a great way to improve my Italian language skills as well. My Italian was challenged when I was asked to lead a Kids’ Day, a guided visit to the museum and workshop for children aged 4-10, in Italian. Through this experience, I was able to truly distill what I had learned by having to present in another language.
The internship itself, however, transcends to outside of work as well. Each intern must present a thirty-minute seminar on their own work in art whether that be their own art, special research, ideas from a previous course, or a personal interest. I was able to learn on topics outside of the boundaries of the museum. Additionally, members of the staff would give their own seminars, giving insight into their specific roles. This was a chance to learn individually their daily routine and a greater sense of the overall management of the museum. I was surprised that on my first day of work, my intern group was given a tour of the museum by Karole Vail herself, the director of the museum. She explained her curatorial practice and the overall significance and direction of the museum. We also took many Guggenheim-sponsored art-oriented trips throughout my time at the Guggenheim in Venice and greater Italy. In my time we went to Florence and Sirmione in addition to the Accademia and Espace Louis Vuiton in Venice itself. These trips gave me a greater cultural perspective and allowed me to bond with my fellow interns. Lastly, I was a member of the Backstage committee, the intern monthly magazine, combining everyone’s different skill sets and ideas.
In conclusion, there was never a dull moment in my time spent at the PGC and I will remember it fondly. I was a part of such an encouraging team, working in a supportive environment. I met many other passionate interns from all around the world sharing the same interests in art and travel. My internship will stay with me forever, as I believe I have also made many life-long friendships.
Rebecca Bernstein - Brooklyn Museum
For the past three months I have interned in the Director’s Office of the Brooklyn Museum, with the support of the Department of History of Art’s Scholarship for Summer Internships. This experience has aided my professional development by teaching me key administrative skills, and by giving me an inside look of a museum with a unique mission and groundbreaking exhibitions.
I worked alongside the two executive assistants for the Director and President/COO of the museum. This exposed me to many diverse departments of the museum, and I learned about how they collaborate with each other. For example, daily I worked on many administrative tasks for the Director’s Office, but I also worked closely with the public programs, chief curator, and development teams on special projects.
It was an exciting time to be at the Brooklyn Museum, with the recent controversy of their hiring of a white woman to be a consultant curator of African Arts, and with the popular David Bowie Is exhibition. On top of my daily tasks of scheduling meetings, managing calendars and contacts, fulfilling expenses via Concur, and tracking correspondence with donor’s via Raiser’s Edge; I also had many interesting projects. In my first month, I had the responsibility to organize internal suggestions on improving the institution, and to create meeting materials for their “Moving Forward” meeting series to discuss the museum’s future. I also researched best practices for dealing with controversy and included examples of art institutions’ responses to controversy, which included materials from my History of Art and Communications coursework. For David Bowie Is, I wrote letters to celebrities inviting them to visit the exhibition, scheduled VIP visits, and wrote detail-oriented logistics to ensure these visits went smoothly. Furthermore, for the upcoming Soul of a Nation exhibition, I researched New York based civil rights and black arts organizations, and created briefings for the team to look over before meeting with these groups. Similarly for the upcoming exhibit Half the Picture: A Feminist View of the Collection, I researched women’s organizations and created a proposal for the Government & Community Affairs/Public Programs teams; once it was approved, I invited the groups to visit the exhibition and to use our meeting space. For the monthly staff meetings, I collected information from diverse departments and created powerpoints for the 200+ staff to see at every meeting. After the museum received over 2 million dollars from the city to renovate spaces and create a permanent African Arts gallery, I wrote thank you letters to the council members who supported our funding. These are just a few examples of the many projects I worked on, and I also had the opportunity to sit in on important meetings. One of my favorites was the “messaging meetings”, where every department from visitor services to curatorial to the museum shop would get together to discuss the logistics of future exhibitions.
Overall, this internship was full of challenging tasks and interesting insights to working at a museum. Working closely with the Director, Anne Pasternak, and the COO/President, David Berliner, was unique. I got an insider look at how Anne’s visions are brought to life by David’s leadership and organization skills. A perk to the job was that my ID got me into all NYC museums for free, so I got to spend my weekends viewing Giacometti at the Guggenheim, surrealist works at the MoMA, and french impressionists at the Met; all of which I studied the past two semesters. Thank you to the Department of History of Art and their donors for funding my internship, without your support I would not have had such a thought-provoking, educational, influential, and fun summer.
● Worked under executive assistants and Anne Pasternak, Director and David Berliner, President & COO of the museum.
● Assisted in managing the Director & President’s calendars and contacts, and organized all meeting materials.
● Answered heavy phones and directed calls for the department.
● Greeting VIP visitors & donors, assisted with catering, and wrote thank you letters and invitations to VIPs.
● Fulfilled invoices and completed expense reports via budgeting software, Concur.
● Chosen for special research projects for the Director, including research on crisis management, strategic planning, and community outreach.
● Coordinated VIP ticketing requests around the blockbuster David Bowie Is exhibition, and escorted VIPs to the galleries.
● Prepared proposals and logistics for visiting groups, including all communication with security and operations.
● Tracked communication with donors via Raiser's Edge.
● Collaborated with multiple museum departments, including Development, Public Programs, and the Office of the Chief Curator.
● Created the first ever intern guide, explaining all processes and protocols of the Director’s Office.
Public Programs Department
● Attended and took notes for several meetings within the Public and Scholarly
Engagement Department regarding this summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the
October 2017 reopening celebration for the museum
● Researched traditional Asian board games and contacted teachers who could possibly
help teach these games to the public during the reopening celebration
● Researched and contacted a number of potential candidates to serve as storytellers for
three Sunday performances during the reopening weekend
● Began to develop and plan a registered family workshop that will be offered twice in
○ Met with Freer|Sackler staff members to discuss objectives, background
information, and the creation of a lesson plan for each workshop
○ Worked to develop a list of outside partners and activities for the family
○ Collaborated with other interns and staff members to determine the timing, target
audience size, and space required for the workshop
● Wrote a family activity card guide for a 4th century Parthian period spouted vessel with a
lynx protome in relationship to the Freer’s reopening programs
○ Researched the object using the Freer|Sackler’s Ancient Near Eastern Art
○ Adapted the object’s description to fit the appropriate tone and audience for the
● Created and advocated for family workshop programming related to an upcoming
exhibition on ancient Chinese bronze bells
● Designed and coordinated family workshop and open studio events related to exhibitions
○ 11th century Japanese Buddhist sutras
○ 17th century Japanese ceramics
○ 7th century BCE Chinese bronze bells
○ 5th century BCE Chinese bronze vessels
● Researched and consulted a number of potential external partners related to each
workshop and open studio
● Created programming related to a Diwali bookmaking activity workshop.
● Created children’s resource page with object descriptions for two permanent collection
objects related to an upcoming exhibition:
○ 2nd century stone frieze depicting scenes from the Life of the Buddha
○ 11th century wood Kamakura period Guardian figure
● Assisted in interviewing 28 potential storytelling candidates for the Freer|Sackler
Reopening Weekend Event
○ Personally interviewed 13 storytellers, typed up evaluation reports, and provided
input leading to the eventual selection of a storyteller
● Input months of event attendance tracking information into EDGE computing tracking
○ Created an instructional template for EDGE attendance computing for use by
● Discussed a number of possible projects related to the Galleries’ permanent Japanese
woodblock print collection with the Senior Curator of Japanese art
● Researched the Freer|Sackler collection of 4,000 Japanese prints, focusing on a period of
dramatic change in production and style between 1870 and 1930
○ Utilized the Freer|Sackler online collection, TMS database, and a number of other
Public Programs Department
● Wrote the introduction text for a children’s resource page with interactive activities for an
exhibition entitled “Encountering the Buddha”
● Facilitated a curator-led lecture featuring a master Cambodian ceramic artist
○ Wrote paragraph biographies for the presenters and artists involved
○ Assisted with setup, wayfinding, and the logistics of the lecture and reception
● Wrote a program proposal for a family workshop centered around an exhibition on Ikats,
ornately decorated fabrics made using a technique in which threads are tie-dyed before
● Filled in for the Freer Sackler film curator for three film screenings over two weekends at
the Warner Brothers Theater in the National Museum of American History
○ Hung up flyers, coordinated with museum ushers, notified the museum
projectionist of potential issues, and kept track of attendance using a clicker.
● Developed open studio activities for a Buddhist Journeys day related to the upcoming
Encountering the Buddha exhibit
● Continued to type up notes for weekly implementation team meetings regarding the
● Compiled a list of 30 potential storytellers for the Buddhist Journeys day and personally
interviewed the top candidates after receiving feedback from my supervisors
● Continued to retrieve information from The Museum System (TMS) for various
○ Created a ‘Getting Started Guide’ for TMS for use by future interns
● Took notes for a planning and logistics meeting for the reopening festival with Folklife
● Created an Onboarding Guide for future incoming interns
● Wrote the master content guide submission for a Diwali bookmaking family workshop
○ Collaborated with a partner outside artist to best develop activity description
● Further researched the woodblock prints of Kobayashi Kiyochika using the Freer|Sackler
online collection, The Museum System (TMS) database, and an archived exhibition
binder from an exhibition from 2004 at the Freer|Sackler.
● Wrote a 4-page entry for the Senior Curator of Japanese Art discussing my personal
discovery of the work of Kobayashi Kiyochika. This entry included a visual analysis of
Kiyochika use of light and shadow and drew upon a number of sources for research.
○ This entry was also submitted on the Freer|Sackler blog site and will be used by
the Curatorial Department to attract visitors and the museum teen council
members to access to the museum’s online open collections website
I participated in a variety of projects and activities this semester at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. In many ways, my contribution has been in smaller, less noticeable ways; yet, this has been an interesting lesson for me in the world of museums. Much of what I completed this summer involved ongoing tasks, such as database entry, research, and exhibit assistance. In this sense, I did not complete these tasks at the Kelsey. The researchers I helped are still conducting work and the exhibits I handled objects for have not opened yet. Realizing this has changed how I think about museum work. I have come to see that it is a very fluid institution, with projects that often intertwine and are revisited over and over again. Previously, it was easier to consider museum work as set of exhibits following one after the other, start to finish. Now I see that the behind-the-scenes work is usually jumping between focuses that require work from every position in the institution.
However, there are some things I completed that I believe have made a difference in the Kelsey. Under Sebastian's guidance, I organized and complete a project involving the museum's collection of marble funerary inscriptions. The majority of this large collection has remained untouched in storage since the new wing opened about ten years ago. Through research, organization, and measurement, I created a plan to reorder and distribute the collection in a more comprehensive and accessible design. I was able to begin moving some of the inscriptions, but have largely left the completed plan as an endeavor for future interns. I believe this work will continue to help the collections team, as well as future researchers, by making the inscriptions easier to access.
Working with Sebastian and collections management at the Kelsey this summer - though challenged my perceptions - has reinforced my enjoyment of museum work. I believe I would greatly enjoy continuing work with collections in the future and look forward to how this experience with shape my professional decisions to come.
As I wrap up my internship over the next few days, it’s a marvel to think about the work I experience over the past three months. From start to finish, I was able to see a variety of departments in the museum and better understood the roles of these positions play in the museum. I also felt like a part of the community in the museum because of my Ceramics Rehousing Project, in which I organized and housed the majority of the museum’s ceramics collection and ensured a smooth acquisition of new pieces from the Toledo Museum of Art. While I definitely hit bumps in the road with this process, I never felt as though I was doing the ‘grunt-work’ that I and other interns have had to deal with at past internships. I truly think that after the work I did and continued updates in the database, accessing and studying these objects will be considerably easier. It was also exciting because I was the third of three people who have this project over the course of many years, so I felt as though I were a part of a larger team associated with the museum. As my summer ends, I’ll no longer have a part to play in the project--but I’ll have left instructions or suggestions for the next person to come along to the museum.
My understanding of the museum world has changed dramatically over the past year because of the new perspectives I’ve heard in my Museum Studies classes and at my internship this summer. I used to think that I wanted to live on the east coast and work for a big-time art or history museum, but now I think I may prefer the intimacy and freedom of a smaller museum. This is something I’m definitely going to keep in mind as I search for future internships and perspective jobs, and it’s clear that my experiences over the past year have helped me better understand both myself and my goals in these institutions.