I’ve interned twice for art institutions, once in New Jersey and once in Korea, but this was really my first long, comprehensive summer internship where I was actually part of the process and had access to all the behind the scenes work in a gallery.
And it was kind of awesome being able to see everything come together.
While I was interning, we were focused on putting together and getting ready for the opening of Courtly Treasures, a show about the art and artifacts that had belonged to Dr. Thomas Evans, a man who was instrumental in creating the Penn Dental School. And that might sound dry, but he had been acquainted with royalty across Europe and had received some amazing things from them, from paintings to sculptures to medals.
I should know; I went through everything while helping with the condition reports!
One of my favorite parts of the internship was doing research using primary source documents, looking at correspondence between Dr. Evans and various royal personages. Looking through the crisp, 19th-century telegrams was not something I had expected I would be fascinated by, but there you have it. Old mail: way cooler than new mail, and much more informative.
What surprised me most was how much time and effort goes into getting an exhibition up and running. In a lot of ways, an exhibition is like the paintings and artwork that are in it. The viewer sees the final product, not the blood, sweat, and countless emails that go into creating it. Working at the ARG offices gave me a glimpse into what working for an art institution is like on a day to day basis. I’m really grateful that I had the opportunity to work here this summer, it’s been a blast.
– Isabel Kim
University of Pennsylvania C’18