Museum Intern Needs Toe Shoes

By: deanna on June 19th, 2013

My name is Olivia Heitz and I am a summer intern at the Woodson Art Museum. I’ll be a sophomore at Luther College this fall and I plan to major in both fine arts and psychology. As someone who loves the arts but isn’t certain what career I would like to pursue, I thought an internship at the Woodson Art Museum would be a great opportunity to explore one of many possible options.


I started on June 10, just a few days after my 19th birthday, and not one day has been the same as another. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited to get firsthand experience learning the ropes of a museum career.

On the first morning, I anticipated working inside all day so I wore long pants, a black long-sleeve shirt, and cute, new shoes. Also, with all the recent annoyingly unusual crisp and rainy weather, I assumed it would continue to be windy and chilly outside. On what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, and hot day, I was asked to help Andy, Dave, and Joe (all of whom were amicable and patient) prepare for the installation of Gwynn Murrill sculptures in the garden. My attire made for a sweaty but rewarding day; I did some lifting, pounding, drilling, and hammering – switching from my fabulous, new shoes into a different pair I luckily had in my car. Helping with the sculptures may have given me a few blisters, but it’s exciting to know that I helped install new artwork for visitors to enjoy.
This week, I’m assisting with the take down of the three “Whimsical & Wild” exhibitions and installation of Celebrating Summer: Plein-Air Painters of America. Removing bentwood artworks from the galleries and re-packing them in crates for shipping was a new experience. It involved lots of bubble wrap, packing peanuts, foam, and complicated instructions. [The huge amount of bubble wrap would’ve been any kids’ dream to stomp and pop.] The entire packing process went smoothly, and now that it’s finished, everyone moves on to the next job. It’s one thing after the next here but an enjoyable, fast-paced ride.

Every day at the Woodson Art Museum is a new and different experience for me – from sorting papers to installing sculptures. It keeps me on my toes. I am excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store; I’m hoping to experience a little bit of everything before leaving in the fall for another year at college.
PS. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to blog again toward the end of my internship and provide an update on all that I’ve learned.

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