Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 9

July 30th - August 3rd

This summer has certainly gone by quickly! With two more weeks left to go on Monday, the end of the internship was definitely in sight. I started to put together a list of resources for the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY teacher packet. The articles and websites that I came across mostly recommended strategies for covering difficult subject, such as war, violence, and death, in the classroom. I also attended the presentation for a research project about the collections feature of art museum websites, completed by the Photography intern Kenji.

Tuesday, I began annotating my WAR resource findings. I also met with Natalie to go over my Tanner packet questions again. She gave me some feedback on my writing for two more of Tanner's paintings. Primarily, I needed to hone in one the point that I wanted to make with each question. I also needed to change the ordering of my questions and text so they matched each other - ultimately creating a scaffolding that students will be able to build their reading of the paintings on.

Later in the day, the interns met with Director of the MFAH, Gary Tinterow. Following the typical structure of our meetings with staff, Mr. Tinterow told us a little bit about his background, his experiences at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where, after nearly thirty years of services, he concluded his time there as the director of the Met's 19th century, modern, and contemporary department. Our talk with him was congenial. He answered questions about his approach as a museum professional ("you get what you give"), the museum's plans to construct a new modern and contemporary building, and his goals concerning the MFAH's commitment to serving a diverse public (he said that he hopes to "dispel imperceptible barriers" and make the museum a place where there is something for everyone). The meeting was personally enlightening and a great opportunity to hear from the individual who will guide the MFAH's public presence and personality through the coming years.

Newly appointed Director of the MFAH,
Gary Tinterow
On Wednesday, the interns met with one of my supervisors, Director of Education Dr. Victoria Ramirez. The talk followed its usual format: personal/academic background, overview of the department/position, and questions. Like many others, Dr. Ramirez began with an interest in curating but switched paths after having an eye-opening experience with an education department and concluded its type of work was better suited to her ideas and goals about contributing to the museum world. Something that was surprising to her (and I think would be surprising to anyone interested in museum work) is that most people come into the education center to ask, what is there to do here? It's sort of a strange question for people who simply love museums, but I think the prevalence of this question sums up what the education department is here to do: serve as a medium between the museum and the typical visitor. If the typical visitor enters the museum with a question of this nature, then the education department is indeed poised to perform a vital function.

Thursday, I worked on my internship essay. Each of the six undergraduate interns is required to write a 5-7 page reflection on their experiences. These essays are then compiled into a book to be given back to the interns or are shown to trustees, donors, and other supporters of the museum's internship program. I took a break in the middle of the day to watch The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a film that is considered to be the older surviving animated feature. Created in 1926, it's no longer the most politically correct of children's tales, but for the most part the animation was really beautiful and the story entertaining.

The first few minutes of Lotte Reiniger's The Adventures
of Prince Achmed

On Friday, I completed my essay and a brief paragraph about myself by the afternoon. The rest of the day I spent editing the Tanner packet.

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