Internship Surprises

By: Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on September 24th, 2014

by Rebekah Zich, intern

As I flip through carbon copies of old, typewritten letters, I am in awe. Why are these letters – among hundreds – part of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s collection? The correspondence beintern Rebekah Zich reviews Eckelberry letterstween artist Don Richard Eckelberry and his many friends and colleagues accompanies thousands of the artist’s watercolors and sketches, thanks to the bequest of the late artist’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. I’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, I’m excited that my internship this semester is blending my interests even more than I’d expected. UW-Stevens Point arts management students must arrange to work their last semester in an “externship” 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 – part of a college art history class – 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 I’ll not only learn the answers to these questions, but also a whole lot more.

With this initial projEckelberry letterect, I’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. I’ll soon be working with artwork for upcoming exhibitions and researching early 18th-century drawings in the Museum’s collection. I’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; it’s going to be a great semester!














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