Behind the Scenes

Intern Reflections

Museum visitors enjoy Matisse's painting "La Musique" which was on view this summer in the exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels. Photo by the author.
Museum visitors enjoy Matisse’s painting “La Musique” which was on view this summer in the exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels. Photo by the author.

Was it not just yesterday that I was only applying for the internship that is soon ending? I recall the nervous feelings that came with awaiting an email from the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and the pure joy of actually receiving one. I feel thankful to have been given the opportunity to intern in such a highly regarded institution that, let’s face it, is also incredibly beautiful.

My time in the Communications/Marketing Department at MAM has consisted of learning a lot of new things, but has also allowed me to embrace the things that I was already passionate about. As a senior art history student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I, of course, have a true passion and appreciation for all forms of art, but I also love to write; I plan to earn a master’s in journalism after completing my undergraduate degree. This internship has blended my interests in art and writing into a job that seems almost molded just for me. I have had the chance to help with a press tour, create blog posts for the Museum’s website, write press releases, and assist with social media. I can think of no job that is more fun than one that allows me to promote something that I love, respect, and admire.

Luckily for me, this summer has been a very busy one for MAM, which means that there was plenty to do and no shortage of excitement. The feature exhibition, Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, brought a lot of attention, displaying works by some of history’s greatest and most well-known artists. Events such as the Lakefront Festival of Art, MAM After Dark, Café Calatrava’s Art of Craft Series, Meijer Free First Thursdays, and Yoga @ the Museum have allowed me to see various types of marketing strategies and promotion techniques. In addition to these many events, anticipation has been building as the Museum’s major renovation, restoration, and reinstallation near completion. Much preparation has taken place to provide a reopening that is sure to please visitors this coming fall.

If I had to describe a favorite memory from this internship experience, it would be the times that I was able to just walk through Van Gogh to Pollock, to take pictures or simply observe. I love hearing people get excited about a specific work that they like and listening to the discussions about what each piece could mean. Surrounded by such beauty and creative thinking, I feel completely in my element; I am home. At those times, I cannot help but feel proud to have been a tiny part of the larger institution that sparks such conversations.

As I previously mentioned, I have learned a lot in the few months that I have been at MAM, but I think my biggest takeaway is that it takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work to make a museum run smoothly. I have spent a lot of time in museums, but knew little about what actually goes on “behind the scenes” beyond the roles of curator or designer. Event staff, docents, volunteers, volunteer coordinators, security guards, Café workers, librarians, and many more are all important pieces of MAM. Everyone has a role, but it is the blending of skills, ideas, and professions that creates a fantastic outcome. Though only for the summer months, I am fortunate to have been a part of this team and look forward to seeing what great things they do in the future.

Thank you, MAM, for a wonderful summer!

— Erin Green, Communications Intern

One reply on “Intern Reflections”

Dear Erin, What a wonderful synopsis of your experience and appreciation of your MAM internship. Indeed, you were blessed with such an opportunity and, it seems, did so quite successfully and joyfully. Indeed, you are an excellent writer, and I am certain you will have many career opportunities in the future. Thank you for this communication, Janet Larscheid

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