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.
It’s no secret around the Museum that I’m a huge tech nerd. One of my favorite things is finding out what apps, websites, and programs people use to get their jobs done. I’ll admit it, I’m a little bit nosy (or nebby, as the native Pittsburgher in me would say), so I find it fascinating to see how folks in any industry organize their lives and make things happen.
So it’s about time I asked staff here at the Milwaukee Art Museum what tech they use to get stuff done. You might think we museum people are all about “old stuff” (and, of course, we do love a good 500-year-old painting), but we here at MAM are pretty techie indeed. Today, I’m sharing some of our staff’s favorites apps and websites with you. You don’t have to work at an art museum to use these apps in your work or life–I guarantee it!
Each day, hundreds of visitors enter the Milwaukee Art Museum to stare in awe at the incredible wealth of artworks within the museum’s collection. But what can too often go unrecognized is the equally awe-inspiring work of the many museum staff members, without whom the museum in its current state could not exist. “MAM Behind the Scenes” is a blog series written by Digital Learning intern Emma Fallone to showcase the wide range of positions that make up a museum, and to reveal just a few of of the many people whose work makes the Milwaukee Art Museum a source of inspiration and education. We begin with Heather Winter, Librarian and Archivist.
Can you give a brief description of your job, in thirty seconds or less?
A little bit of anything and everything. My responsibility is to take questions about the Museum’s collection and history, and then answer them with any number of materials from the library or the institutional archives. It’s my job to know where those materials are, and to use them to answer the questions quickly and accurately.
We are just a week from opening the new exhibition in the Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery, Illusions: Near and Far! Have you ever wondered how an artist makes a work of art seem “real”? We tell all the tricks of the trade—you’ll get to see just how an artist makes us think we are looking into space when we’re really not. Better yet, you get to make your own magic!
Recently brought out of the vault for display in Gallery #5 is a portrait of Margaret, Lady Tufton (1636-1687). A beauty of the English court, she was the granddaughter of Edward, 1st Baron Wotton, a diplomat and court official for Queen Elizabeth I.
Margaret is shown in her elegant silk gown (which is actually an informal dress because of the loose, flowing fabric and lack of lace collar and cuffs; it shows a significant amount of bare skin!). She has beautifully arranged curls and wears expensive matched pearls. To accentuate her loveliness, she holds delicate roses in her lap.
When this painting entered the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection in 1956, it was heralded as a masterpiece of the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641). Van Dyck was one of the greatest portrait painters of all time. He influenced generations of later portrait painters, including Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727-1788). Using brilliant brushwork, elegant compositions, and luscious textiles, he gives his subjects an easy aristocratic air while still making it clear that they are beautiful, virtuous, and powerful.
But now the artist of this work is listed as “Anthony van Dyck and Studio.” What does this mean?