Undergraduates in the Art Conservation Program at the University of Delaware are encouraged to pursue summer and winter internships in order to cultivate a familiarity with the museum field. The undergraduates during the summer of 2012 undertook a variety of educational experiences across the United States. From the documentation and treatment of dresses from the early twentieth century to participating in the operation of an art gallery in Italy, an antiques auction house in New England, students explored the endless avenues of opportunity that cultural, historic, and artistic institutions can provide to those eager to learn. Whether desiring to gain pre-program experience for graduate scholarship in Art Conservation, or pursuing a career in collections management and other museum-related positions, students of the undergraduate program in Art Conservation develop the valuable skills necessary to be responsible custodians of cultural heritage through their active participation in the care and preservation of material culture.
Featured below are a sample of individual statements from the students who pursued summer internships.
Yen Ling Choi, Class of 2016: This summer I was so fortunate to work as an undergraduate intern at the Barnes Foundation as part of its summer internship program. During the nine weeks, I was exposed to a variety of duties and problems that conservators are responsible for and encounter in a museum setting, especially preventive conservation. I assisted in annual, weekly and daily gallery maintenance, which includes vacuuming numerous Navajo's textiles that are on display, dusting frames and objects, environmental monitoring, and integrated pest management. I also had the opportunity to write a condition report and work with different people within the institution. Furthermore, I met other interns from different departments through intern enrichment activities, which also led me to many wonderful places and people. I learned a lot about the history of the institution as well as the role of conservator in a museum by working closely with the conservator in the conservation department."
Karissa Muratore, Class of 2015: "This past summer I interned at The Hispanic Society of America in New York City, where I had the honor of learning from their head conservator Monica Katz. Due to her enthusiastic teaching I was able to handle and treat a variety of materials including silver, ceramics, and textiles. Each material presented its own interesting challenges, which we solved through examination, research, experimentation, and scientific testing, each of which we recorded in detail with the appropriate documentation. In addition, I was invited to be a part of the conversation dealing with the complications of preventive conservation when housing a collection in a historic building. Most exciting however, was not only the learning and experiencing of new things, but having the ability to successfully apply what I had just learned in the classroom in the real world."
Claire Martin, class of 2017: "This summer Lizzy Van Winkle and I participated in survey of over a thousand coated copper alloy objects at Winterthur Museum. We worked closely with the head objects conservator at Winterthur to analyze the data we collected and see how different lacquers effect the objects they are coated on. During our research we were allowed the chance to treat two coated brass candlesticks. Our data will be used to apply for a grant for further research and re-coating of the museum's collection."
Megan Murphey, Class of 2014: "This summer I worked as an intern at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. I worked in the library with the molusk archives. My main job at the museum was to organize all of the records from a specific donor, write a biography about the donor, and write easy to follow instructions on how to use the donors records. These records included field notes, personal correspondences, and documentation of the donation of the collection to the Delaware Museum of Natural History. With each collection, I put all the records in acid free folders, labeled in archival ink, and put into acid free boxes. Then I organized all the archives into two metal cabinets labeled 'Mollusk Archives.' Each cabinet had a shelf list. Other jobs included swapping acidic boxes for acid free boxes in the mollusk collections and a map inventory project."