The hallmark of a consummate museum professional is the ability to be resilient and pivot according to the needs of the moment. That is exactly what the graduate museum studies students did during Summer 2020. Last week we highlighted the work of our eight capstone writers and earlier this summer, this blog featured the Summer 2020 internship work of Kaylee Pinola at the National Museum of the American Indian and Gabriella Silva at the Western Neighborhood Project.
In this week’s post, we bring our readers up to date on five more Summer 2020 internships, overseen by faculty member Karren Shorofsky.
Along with Kaylee, two other Museum Studies students completed internships for institutions based in Washington, D.C. At the National Gallery of Art, Bridget Girnus worked across two departments: intern relations and curatorial records. Although the internship was fully online, Bridget had the opportunity to work on a multitude of projects that added to her professional portfolio. She took on responsibility for creating and running intern activities, including a weekly “Artful Connections” post to prompt interns to learn more about the NGA’s fabled collection. She also harnessed the power of the internet to plan virtual ice breakers and helped the interns with their gallery talks. On the curatorial side, Bridget researched provenance for different works in the collection. She also researched a screen print in the NGA collection (Anton Refregier’s “San Francisco ’34 Waterfront Strike”) and presented a pop-up talk on it.
Justin Channels was fortunate to work both online and onsite at the Woodrow Wilson House, home of the 28th president of the United States. He worked on walking tours of Dupont and Sheridan Circles originally produced in 2008 and edited, re-recorded and researched new stops. He also conducted a focus group for the House and helped to plan and worked on an outdoor exhibition entitled “Suffrage Outside,” covering a few main themes in the history of women’s suffrage. He reviewed and helped design a more modern website to launch later this year and coordinated “Vintage Game Night” for museum visitors and guests over Zoom.
Back in San Francisco, Chloe Clouse and Nicole Smahlik worked at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, continuing USF Museum Studies’ fruitful relationship with this important collection about legal history in the western United States. Much of the collection is comprised of oral history interviews of Ninth Circuit judges recorded over the years. Many of these interviews have been posted to NJCHS’s YouTube channel. Chloe and Nicole used iMovie to edit and upload more interviews, and then added visual and written materials to enrich existing interviews, making them both more appealing and easier to search. They also responded to the needs of the moment by helping to plan the Society’s major fundraising event. It has traditionally taken place in person at the historic courthouse. The annual “Trivia Night” proceeded on Zoom. Amazingly NJCHS ended up achieving the financial and membership goals it set prior to Covid.
Only a few blocks away, the offices at San Francisco Historical Society’s new building in the old Mint are so large, that there is plenty of room for social distancing. Thus Annette Burns worked onsite. She built her collections management skills by logging in donations, scanning photos and postcards in the collection, and unpacking and organizing items that were in storage pods in order to determine whether the SFHS was going to retain or transfer/sell them. She needed to search for documents related to the storage items and also review these documents to help decide whether there were legal or related issues associated with deaccessioning the items. She also wrote a short report on deaccessioning guidelines and researched potential institutions/organizations that might be interested in acquiring any deaccessioned items.
Whether they worked online or in-person, directly with collections or through developing online events, our students made important contributions to the arts and history this summer. We thank the National Museum of the American Indian, the Western Neighborhoods Project, The Woodrow Wilson House, the National Gallery of Art, the Ninth Judicial Court Historical Society and the San Francisco Historical Society for providing these learning opportunities for University of San Francisco students and we salute the students for their professionalism and great spirit over a summer that will surely go down in the history books.