Summer at BMC

Sun-soaked postcards from Bryn Mawr College

A Postcard From: Micaela Houtkin ’14

micaela_houtkin1Name: Micaela Houtkin

Year: 2014

Major: History of Art

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going! This summer, I spent nine weeks interning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the European Painting and Sculpture before 1900 department. As a curatorial intern, I was able to gain invaluable hands-on experience: I watched gallery re-hangs when several Van Goghs returned from being on loan, observed as a Rodin marble was replaced with a bronze by the artist, and even had the opportunity to hold some Italian art when it was moved into one of the galleries! I also wrote content in preparation for the Rodin Museum installation, coming in January. Researching and writing biographies about the subjects of Rodin’s busts was not only a great opportunity, I learned a lot doing it, too! I was also tasked with archiving digital and hardcopy files from the Van Gogh Up Close (2012) exhibition—a show I was privileged (and excited about) enough to see three times. If ever I had a question, I just asked my supervisor, who was a co-curator o f the show. To be able to work with one of the curators of an exhibition that was so important to the inspiration of my thesis was a wonderful experience, and certainly strengthened both my academic and personal interest in Van Gogh.

The program also included presentations, tours and lectures with myriad Museum employees. As a result, we were able to have private tours of the collection, led by the curators. These included: Arms and Armor, European Decorative Arts, the Rodin Museum, American Art, American Furniture, Costume and Textiles, South Asian Art, Contemporary Art, European Painting and Sculpture before 1900, Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Modern Art, and East Asian Art. We also had the chance to see the Museum’s two conservation labs, as well as have a tour of the entire museum—including the roof!

micaela_houtkin3Spending so much time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this summer has definitely played a role in my continued interest in pursuing a career as a curator. I have enjoyed it so much that I will be continuing my time there in the fall—an opportunity I am thrilled to have!

How I heard about my internship: As I became more and more invested in the study of art history and the museum world in general, I started to learn about the opportunities that are open to students. The Philadelphia Museum of Art listed this internship on their website, and it was one of the first places I looked when I began my research.

Why I applied for my internship: I have been visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art since I was a kid—my dad used to take me every Sunday! My love for both art history and this museum in particular made me want to apply, and after reading the program description, I knew for sure this was where I wanted to spend my summer.


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