Art Behind the Scenes

Advice and Praise for Museum Interns

Visitor Services Intern working at the Kahler Information Desk. Photo by Nell Rae.
Volunteer Program Intern Gwen working at the Kahler Information Desk. Photo by Nell Rae.

Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed or lost in my own career trajectory, I remind myself that I have paid some serious dues to get my sensibly-heeled foot in the door of the museum world.

I licked envelopes at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Georgia when I was a moody, but somewhat artistic high school junior. Soon after I interned at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where my duties included tasks for registrar Frances Francis and helping with family programming for H. Nickels B. Clark (apologies if I have gotten the spellings wrong- it was a LONG time ago).

Another great internship followed the High Museum, I got to work at the Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva, Switzerland while studying abroad. My memories are vague–did I really try to translate French visitor guides into English using my remedial high school language skills? Did I really try to help conserve Karl Gotsch artworks by carefully moving works on paper off of acidic mats to prevent horrible speckling? One thing sticks: My friends were doing political internships at NGOs, curing cancer, and saving the world, but I felt just as meaningful working with art all day in one of the most incredible cities in the world.

What I mean to say about my internships is that they changed my life, and I know I’m not alone.

Art Museum Buildings

Museums and the Parking Business

Milwaukee’s United Performing Arts Fund “Ride for the Arts” happened along the gorgeous lakefront this weekend. Included was a Milwaukee Art Museum team of bicycle riders including staff, members, friends, family, and neighbors who woke up early on a Sunday morning to ride 25 miles in support of the arts.

To be honest, I joined the ride because it’s fun. But the lines between work and play can blur very easily for non-profit professionals, so I’m going to put on my Director of Visitor Services hat and talk to you a little bit about how I see bicycles, cars, and all things public access.

Because “parking” is a part of my job description at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Art Membership

The Woodgatherer in my memory, and on a bag!

Jules Bastien-Lepage, Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis. Photo by John R. Glembin.

When I was a freshman in high school, I came to the Milwaukee Art Museum on a field trip with my art class. We were instructed to sit in front of Jules Bastien-Lepage’s The Woodgatherer (1881) and take as many notes as possible on what we saw and what it meant to us, so that we could later write a paper on it.