by Rebekah Zich, intern
As I flip through carbon copies of old, typewritten letters, I am in awe. Why are these letters â€“ among hundreds â€“ part of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museumâ€™s collection? The correspondence between artist Don Richard Eckelberry and his many friends and colleagues accompanies thousands of the artistâ€™s watercolors and sketches, thanks to the bequest of the late artistâ€™s wife. One of my first internship projects is to help preserve these letters written throughout the early years of World War II until 2001. Iâ€™m pleasantly surprised to be working with such important, historical items in addition to artwork.
As a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point pursuing a major in arts management and a minor in history, Iâ€™m excited that my internship this semester is blending my interests even more than Iâ€™d expected. UW-Stevens Point arts management students must arrange to work their last semester in an â€śexternshipâ€ť at an arts organization.
I sought an internship at the Woodson Art Museum because of a fascination fueled during elementary-school field trips. I remember listening to the docents as they led us through winding galleries filled with art; sculptures were my favorites because they seemed to loom so large! My desire to get involved in museum work also stems from these and other museum visits with my family.
A later visit â€“ part of a college art history class â€“ further piqued my interest; I wanted to learn more. How does artwork get here? Where is it stored and how is it preserved? These questions and others led me to consider a career working with museum collections. Thanks to my on-site supervisor, curator of collections Jane Weinke, I know Iâ€™ll not only learn the answers to these questions, but also a whole lot more.
With this initial project, Iâ€™m enjoying the opportunity to peruse files of Eckelberry letters, placing them in chronological order before scanning and saving them digitally for future online access. Iâ€™ll soon be working with artwork for upcoming exhibitions and researching early 18th-century drawings in the Museumâ€™s collection. Iâ€™m especially interested to learn how installations are designed.
All these projects will provide varied experiences for me, with the possibility of more surprises ahead. Stay tuned; itâ€™s going to be a great semester!
Write a blog-post-related comment on the Museumâ€™s Facebook page