Museum Education Internship at the Frick Pittsburgh

  • Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé, c. 1610. Oil on canvas. Frick Art & Historical Center
  • Isabelle de Borchgrave's creation based on Rubens's Portrait
  • Fashion exhibition research
Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé, c. 1610. Oil on canvas. Frick Art & Historical Center

Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé, c. 1610. Oil on canvas. Frick Art & Historical Center.

 

Museum Education Internship at the Frick Pittsburgh

Museum Studies Intern at The Frick Pittsburgh - Spring 2017

During the past 2017 Spring semester, I worked as an intern under the supervision of Amanda Dunyak Gillen, Director of Learning & Visitor Experience, at the Education Department of the Frick Pittsburgh. My main job responsibility was facilitating the museum’s public programs, including program planning, gallery talks, adult and family programs, special events, etc.

The Frick Pittsburgh is known for its historical significance as it is infused with the history of the Frick family and the 19th century Pittsburgh. At first I was a bit intimidated by the unfamiliar historical materials I was about to confront, but as soon as I entered the department, I started to learn about the museum's mission beyond being a historical institution. Revolving around its own collection, the museum has hosted and will be hosting a variety of exhibitions and corresponding programs to enrich their visitor experience. Their current big project is a three-year series of fashion focused exhibitions —Killer Heels (2016), Undressed (2017), and Isabelle de Borchgrave (2018). These fashion exhibitions are not only opening up the museum to a younger crowd, but they are also offering a new angle for looking at the museum’s collection and history. The Killer Heels exhibition, for example, drew the public’s attention to the collection of footwear of the Frick family, and some shoes were put on permanent display in the Frick’s visitor center in order to meet the continuous enthusiasm about the fashion aspect of the family.

As an intern, I was lucky to have a lot of hands-on experience with museum programs. I assisted running special events such as the annual Women’s History Program and the Easter family program. I was also a speaker for the Friday gallery talk program and presented on the museum’s collection of Claude Monet, which I further developed into a digital project for the visitor center interface.

My biggest project was designing public programs for the upcoming Undressed exhibition. The first phase of my work included conducting research on contemporary fashion exhibitions and their related programs, as well as learning about the Frick’s previous programs. Because of the increasing sensibility towards fashion in recent years, there were many institutions who have hosted fashion-focused exhibitions and programs, such as the MET, MOMA, as well as some smaller-scaled, local museums, and therefore I was able to find many corresponding resources. But to narrow them down and extract applicable information based on the museum’s own specificities was much trickier. For each resource I found, I listed out their key features that can be potentially incorporated into our own space. This step was very helpful towards the second phase of my work, which was the actual programming. At first my development of ideas was not very constructive. However, in the meantime, I shadowed the Women’s History program, and during the process of planning and preparation, I learned about how much details to be put into program planning. Based on my precious experience on our Gallery Talk program, I proposed an adult drop-in writing sessions in the galleries to inspire more interactive conversations on our collections. Some other examples of programs I proposed are: live art and fashion—lace making; family ball with the Beauty and the Beast; etc.

I am very grateful for this internship through which I gained valuable hands-on experience on museum programming and many other practices. Most importantly, it helped me to find my passion on museum education, and I believe I will benefit from the knowledge and skills I learned from this internship in my future career.

Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

Categories: 
  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh