Filed under Student News

Summer 2010 – Isabelle Coler

I spent the summer interning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Indian and Himalayan art department, as a part of the Museum Studies Internship program. My work ranged greatly, from small tasks like rearranging files and cropping pictures to creating a binder that organized the department’s collection of paintings by region. However, my major project for the summer consisted of researching the department’s textile collection. After being trained in textile handling, I spent two afternoons a week with the assistant curator, photographing the hundreds of scraps, rolls and cloths tucked away in storage. The other part of this project entailed actually researching, both the textiles that I photographed and those with images already in the system. Using other museum’s online collections, and the large number of catalogs and books I had piled up on my desk, I was able to identify the state and sometimes city that many of the textiles came from, as well as the process used to make the cloth and sometimes the date.

This internship was a part of a general museum studies program which was great! Monday and Thursday afternoons were spent with the program’s 37 other interns, who came from every department (such as curatorial, development, education, editorial, conservation, archives, the library, the legal department, the gift shop and Rights and Reproduction). The program is meant to leave you with a very broad and thorough impression of what it is like to work in a museum and all the possible positions that exist, and this was exactly what it achieved. It was a fantastic experience and I highly encourage others to apply.