Nebraska Society Internship 2010

Hometown: Hastings
School: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Internship: Smithsonian American Art Museum

When I found out I had been selected as a Smithsonian American Art Museum intern, I was shocked. And then ecstatic. And then a little horrified wondering how on earth I could possibly afford to live in DC for eight weeks. I had applied for the internship on a whim, not really expecting to get in. As someone interested in the museum field, there is obviously no better place in the United States to get museum experience, regardless of the lack of stipend. I

knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t possibly turn down. With the help of the Nebraska Society of Washington, D.C. intern scholarship, the internship became fiscally feasible.

I worked on two big projects at SAAM – the impending opening of a Norman Rockwell show and re-doing the labels on the second floor of the museum. I made all the labels for the Rockwell show, which involved printing, cutting out, laminating, mounting on plastic as well as actually hanging them. I also cut out the vinyl title signs, introductory text and quotes hung around the exhibit.

The label project was a long-term goal, and it involved checking the existing label text to make sure it matched what we had in the computer system, resetting the text in a larger and easier to read typeface and constructing and hanging the labels. In addition to these projects, I assisted with daily tasks in the exhibitions department like making no photography signs, calendars for the Renwick Gallery and installing signs and labels.

In addition to my work with the exhibitions department, there were many other opportunities for the Smithsonian interns like tours of other museums, networking meetings, resume building and grad school workshops and

meetings with a representative of every department at SAAM. My experience at SAAM was excellent, mostly because of the people I worked with. Everyone was very helpful and supportive, particularly my immediate supervisor, Grace Lopez. I loved working with the exhibitions department because I could immediately see the work I had done and get

instant gratification for my hard work. It has also peaked my interest in exhibition design, which is a crucial detail inany exhibition that allows for creativity and hands-on design work.

The Nebraska Society of Washington, D.C. has my heartfelt gratitude for helping to make the experience of an internship with SAAM possible. The experience was invaluable and something I will carry with me throughout my professional career.