Now that I have wrapped up my internship at the Cincinnati Museum Center, I am going into my final year of graduate school with a better understanding of my professional goals.

The Benefits of Small Departments

This summer I got to witness the benefits of being part of a small department of a museum.

Because of the department’s size, my supervisor had a wider variety of responsibilities which I got to be a part of. These range from handling donations and acquisitions, to processing collections, to selecting audiovisual material for upcoming exhibitions.

It was incredibly interesting to watch and assist with the various tasks that were a part of his changing day to day as curator.

Touching History

I’m also still enthralled with how many objects I was able to handle throughout the course of my internship. Prior to this experience, I was intimidated by interacting with objects in this way.

I gained a new sense of comfort and fascination by using the sense of touch instead of solely sight. While I still don’t believe my desired career will be focused on handling objects, it’s certainly a perk that I will look out for. 

Public Education and Archives

This internship also solidified my passion for interacting with the public. Archival work and collections management are crucial for every museum professional to understand the basis of, but they are very much behind-the-scenes.

Ideally, I’d love to balance that behind-the-scenes work with more outward-facing duties in education. I look forward to returning to my position as a teaching assistant and thinking about ways that objects and the work that goes into organizing and maintaining them can strengthen my teaching style and benefit my students.

I learned a lot from the staff and volunteers I interacted with at a museum complex that was outside of my professional comfort zone before this summer. When I graduate and enter the museum field, I will take the same leap of faith wherever I end up. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to grow at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Read all of Abby’s Summer Internship Posts