From Square One: Redeveloping the UAG Website

Author: Anika Agarwal

My time as an intern at the University Art Gallery allowed me to learn about and contribute to the critical work that goes into providing a positive museum experience for visitors. Working under the guidance and supervision of Isaiah Bertagnolli, graduate assistant of the University Art Gallery, intern Lydia Bailey and I were able to aid in the redevelopment of the UAG website. Additionally, we were each expected to devise our signature projects by the end of the semester.

I am here to tell you all that redeveloping a website for a university gallery that has hosted a multitude of exhibitions since the dawn of the 1960s was no easy task. Contrastingly, the amount of insight that I gained surrounding the production of an exhibition, be it from transcripts of conversations between curators and artists to the invitation lists for the premieres, helped me further understand the myriad of thinking behind the culmination of an exhibition. A massive takeaway from my journey at the University Art Gallery was a broad understanding and diversified perspective on all the elements that go into developing and executing an exhibit from start to finish.  

As a student intern, my work entailed cross-referencing online exhibitions displayed on the website with their physical counterparts. When trying to compile information for online exhibitions physical catalogs came in handy as they helped form the base for descriptions that were then projected onto the website. Although it was easier to do this for later exhibitions, I started to face many hurdles when it came to exhibitions from decades ago. Older exhibitions featured on the website would lack descriptions or physical catalogs and pivotal information was lost. This is where I faced most of my challenges.  

Conducting research from the bottom up with minimal to no information on the dates, names, or descriptions of exhibitions felt like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Additionally using search engines like Google Scholar, the University Library System, and other resources was often misleading and lead me back to square one. It wasn't until a little while later that I was introduced to a browser that referenced newspaper articles, with which I hit the jackpot. Looking back at my time at the gallery, the adversities that I faced, and the challenges that I overcame, I was was left with a sense of pride and accomplishment unlike any other. The knowledge I gained as an intern at the University Art Gallery will permanently expand my experience and interactions with museum settings, and I hope to have added some value to a gallery as enriched as the UAG. 

Anika Agarwal, Museum Studies Intern at the University Art Gallery, Spring 2022 

Constellations Group