Thursday, October 2, 2014

Amy R.'s Museum Internships

This summer I have had the amazing opportunity to intern at two museums, both in my hometown. At The Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas at Austin's campus, I worked with Martha Bradshaw, the Manager of Visitor and Volunteer Services, to coordinate and orientate volunteers at the museum and facilitating our installation art/art-making station, the WorkLab Satellites. Each day I am in the museum, I interact with visitors and volunteers, make friends with the Gallery Assistants (our security folks, many of whom are current or former UT students), and meet more and more of the staff through the logistics of day-to-day business in the gallery. I have really enjoyed getting to know some of the docents as well because they are just as passionate about the works in our permanent collections as they are about the works that are only on display for a short time. Additionally, I have spent time working with volunteer records in the Altru database/ records management system that the museum has in place.

My second internship is with Emily Cayton, Associate Educator for Teachers and Docents at The Contemporary Austin.  While The Blanton has a substantial permanent collection including paintings and prints going back to the Medieval period, Classical casts, and a significant component of Latin American contemporary art, The Contemporary's downtown location serves as a white box space, a blank page for each new exhibit to interact with uniquely. My primary responsibility has been doing research about upcoming works and preparing materials about them for the docents. For someone who is accustomed to researching in the stacks of a library or skimming through JSTOR search results, this has been an experience of becoming more aware of the variety of online art resources and how helpful (or otherwise) news articles about new and old exhibitions can be. A studio artist and passionate art educator, Emily has also fostered in me an interest in art education with print resources, allowing me to shadow her tours, and by getting to assist during part of the Summer Teacher Institute, a continuing education opportunity for local art teachers, which explored a variety of methods and lessons for teaching through an art museum. Through these internships I have learned about two different kinds of art, been a part of two different kinds of art museum, and learned to see the museum experience from the view of the educator and the visitor.

            As long as I am in the area, I’ll be able to stay a part of these institutions through volunteering and I intend to serve as a docent for the Do Ho Suh exhibition for which I researched.


One of the WorkLab Satellites and a supply cart
Blanton Blog Post: 

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