The Lone Intern Comes to the Rescue

At the Jewish Museum of Maryland, interns are supposed to be full time for 10 weeks. But I’m able to do part time for 14 weeks instead to accommodate my other part time job as well (got to make sure I have spending money for abroad!).  So this means that I began interning two weeks before the other interns arrive! This is actually a blessing because I am able to create relationships with the museum employees that maybe would not have been as good if I had started with all the other interns. It gives me a leg up since the employees already know me! I also started at a perfect time for my supervisor, the curator, because the script for the upcoming exhibit is overdue! I have been able to help her organize the spreadsheets and documents needed that will be sent to the exhibit designer.

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These documents are intense. The script is about 55 pages and the spreadsheet has about 550 rows! It is clear so a lot is going on in these. A dropbox folder is also used, so all 3 of these mediums need to be aligned! There is no easy way to do this, but I do oddly enjoy it. Each object, image, document, etc that will be in the exhibit must be represented correctly in the spreadsheet, script document, and the dropbox folder so that the designer can easily find everything.

I have also had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with a handful of museum employees including the executive director, the curator, the collections manager, and a few others. They were meeting with the designer to work out a few things in the exhibit plans. After arriving 45 minutes late (my usual Baltimore exit was blocked, but I called my supervisor so it ended up being ok), I got to experience the common arguments that happen between curators and designers. Curators are perfectionists; they want everything in the exhibit to be perfect. However, the designer is also on a time crunch and cannot wait forever! It was fascinating to hear the employees discuss the exhibit and how it could improve. A common theme in the discussion was making sure the setting of each part of the exhibit would most accurately portray the narrative. For example, this exhibit (called Jews and Medicine) has a section that was originally going to be a genetics lab. However, it was decided that the lab setting was not consistent with the narrative that was trying to be conveyed. So, it will end up being more general and focused on the objects and images to tell the story unless something else is better.

The other interns arrive next week, so it will be interesting to see what kind of work environment forms!

 

Until next time

And the summer begins!

The summer has begun and things are already in full swing. I am interning part-time at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, but I am also continuing my old job of working at a pool in my hometown. So this will be quite a busy, yet fulfilling summer! Last week I began my internship, and I have already learned so much from it. It is an exhibitions research internship with the curator of the museum, so I’ll be working on an upcoming exhibit called Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. The exhibit will examine the stereotype of jewish doctors by looking at how jews in America have been involved in the medical world. The first week at the internship was occupied by background reading on the exhibit to help me get up to date on what the exhibit is all about. This was exhausting but  definitely a necessary evil. I read two documents about the exhibit–the script (about 20 pages) and the walk through (about 60 pages). These documents are used to maintain an organized narrative of what the exhibit will include. I have never read anything like this before, so it really gave me a sense of how exhibits are put together. It was the perfect introduction into what a curator does in this stage of the exhibit design process. Next week I’ll be sitting in on a meeting with the exhibit designer!

Until next time