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What I Learned at My Summer Internship

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When we think of education at the Museum, most of us probably think first of the field-trip programs offered for schools or for the art-making classes and workshops offered for the public.  These are important components of Crystal Bridges’ education mission, of course, as are the “informal” educational aspects of the Museum, such as tours and Art Talks. But many people may be unaware that Crystal Bridges also offers an internship program. Interns play an important role at the Museum:  they assist staff in almost every area, from the children’s classes to graphic design to exhibition preparation; and they come away with a wealth of behind-the-scenes, real-world experience in what it takes to keep a major museum ticking. In this post, one of our recent interns describes her experience with the Education Department this summer.   —LD

 

Children in this summer's Painting Week Summer Camp.

Children in this summer’s Painting Week Summer Camp.

My name is Chloé McWha. Since May of 2013 I have had the privilege to be Crystal Bridges’ Youth and Family Intern. In the spring semester of 2013, I joined Crystal Bridges’ College Ambassadors program, which is what led me to the internship. My journey over the past ten weeks has taught me more than I could have imagined.

One of the things I learned is that preparing art supplies takes a good chunk of time. Here’s a small idea of what I did to help prepare for the summer camps:  refilled over 300 Elmer’s glue bottles, cut over 1,000 one-inch lines with an X-acto knife, cleaned more than 100 watercolor palettes, organized the art supply room multiple times, and many more tasks. I was surprised at how much prep was required! The teachers spent hours getting ready for each week of the children’s summer camps.

During the summer camps I learned how age does not matter in art. The children surprised me with their work. I have never seen children create such beautiful sculptures, drawings, and paintings. It was honestly amazing to see the artwork these children created:  you just need to give a child a chance to show you.

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One of the last opportunities I received from Crystal Bridges was leading a Drop-In-Drawing for the Youth and Family Department. For Drop-In-Drawing the Museum sets up art supplies somewhere in the Museum for the public to come learn or to enjoy drawing for free. This was my favorite experience during my internship. I had the chance to help children and adults experience art. I set up my area outside on the south lawn by the LOVE sculpture, and I enjoyed watching all ages draw the sculpture for the first time.

Now looking back at my ten-week internship at Crystal Bridges I am very thankful for all of the nice people I met and the experience I received. Thank you to Ms. Janelle, Ms. Lori, Ms. Sally, and Ms. Whitney for putting your time and interest in me this summer. I appreciate you teaching me how to prepare for classes, how to teach children art, how to create surveys, database trackers, and much more. Thank you for letting me be your very first Youth and Family Intern.

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