The Summer of a Budding Museum Professional overview image

The Summer of a Budding Museum Professional

  • Post Date: 11/08/2019
  • 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.

  • Kyndal and another student arrange a kimono in a storage drawer

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.

  • Kyndal studies something above her in a classroom setting in an art gallery
  • 15 student interns pose in front a day-lit atrium before a gallery labeled impressionism

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.