The Summer of a Budding Museum Professional
- Post Date: 11/8/2019
- Author: Kyndal Gragg, student writer
- Reading Time: 2 minute read
During my sophomore year at the University of Illinois, I worked in the Special Events and Information desk section at the Spurlock Museum. At the end of my first year at Spurlock, I joined the Collections Section as an Artifact Preservation Assistant; this sparked my passion for museum work. In the summer of 2018 I split my time between the information desk and training in artifact care, handling, and storage. I was majoring in Anthropology and took Art History classes for fun, and was extremely excited to have access to a space that aligned so well with my educational and personal interests.
At the beginning of the summer of 2019, I began a job at the Krannert Art Museum as a research assistant. I spent the majority of the summer digitizing files and conducting research for an upcoming exhibit. While working on this project, in conjunction with the skills I gained at Spurlock, I became passionate about Native Art and how society often decontextualizes art from indigenous communities. I wanted to learn more about the connections between traditional artistry and contemporary pieces in Native communities.
At the end of June, 2019, I attended a weeklong intensive internship at The Art Institute of Chicago. The internship focused on curation, and as soon as I arrived I knew I had found my passion; my professional goal to become a curator. During my time at the Art Institute, my cohort and I saw the inner workings of the museum and we spoke with curators, conservators, and the education staff to get a better understanding of the museum. My previous experience at the museums on campus prepared me enough that I had a good grasp on the ideas presented, and I was able to take advantage of an environment that was conducive to deeper thinking. I left The Art Institute feeling empowered and excited about my potential career as a curator.
My work experience at the Spurlock Museum, the Krannert Art Museum, and the Summer Academy at The Art Institute of Chicago immersed me in the museum world. These opportunities gave me a holistic view of museums and the way they operate. This fall, I will continue on as a research assistant at Krannert Art Museum, an Artifact Preservation Assistant at Spurlock, and a fellow at The Art Institute of Chicago.