An Internship at the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Valade, MaryJane E.
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To fulfill my Senior Individualized Project, this past summer, I worked as an intern at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art (NMAA), in the Curatorial Department. My supervisor was Jeana Foley, the museum's Virtual Exhibitions Specialist. There were ten interns in our program; however there were only two of us in the second floor Curatorial offices. Liz Richards and I shared an office and occasionally collaborated on projects. Her supervisor was George Gurney, Curator of Sculpture. In addition to many of my projects and assignments, which I will describe below, there were weekly intern seminars provided by the Smithsonian Institution. These were for all the Smithsonian's summer interns and were designed as an aid to us, as we are soon to enter the workforce. The topics of these seminars varied from what to put on a resume, to how to find a job that compliments one's personality. There were also many opportunities to visit other Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. so we were able to observe the inner workings of a museum other than our own. For example, we took a tour of the Renwick Gallery, a Smithsonian gallery under the direction of the NMAA, with their Exhibit Director. He explained to us everything that goes into creating a display. From deciding the colors of the surrounding walls, to building a mount for the display of pieces, there are many small, yet important things overlooked and unknown to the public as they walk through an exhibit.