Georgia Museum of Art
Curatorial Intern (African American and African Diasporic Art)
During the Spring 2022 semester (January 18-April 28), I interned with the Georgia Museum of Art on the University of Georgia campus. I specifically worked with Dr. Shawnya Harris, the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art. As part of this internship, I participated in bringing together two exhibitions highlighting the Thompson Collection and in participation with the traveling exhibition Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects. This included selecting works of art to display, editing exhibition labels, and researching artist biographies in collaboration with Dr. Harris. I assisted in research for biographical information, collecting archival images, and editing /narrating a script for an introductory video honoring artist Lou Stovall. Additionally, I gathered together preliminary bibliographical information for future projects and exhibitions.
Pitts Theology Library
In Summer 2021 (May 17-August 13), I interned at Emory University's Pitts Theology Library, working in connection with their rare books division, to consider their exhibition practices and curate a digital exhibition. When Pitts received a new building several years ago, they gained an exhibit space in which to display some of their rare book collections and engage in more public facing scholarship. As they develop that space more, I had the opportunity to join them in thinking about their exhibit practices and help adjust them to better match best practices in museum studies. This will allow Pitts to get the most out of their exhibit space based on their collections and the needs of the student body at Emory's Candler School of Theology. Additionally, I curated a digital exhibit based on one of my interest areas. This is part of an ongoing project Pitts has pursued in creating digital exhibit spaces alongside their more traditional physical exhibit, a project that has taken on more importance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this internship, I curated the digital exhibition, "My Eyes Beheld an Eerie Sight": The Place of Monsters in Theology.
Relevant Course Work
FCID 7010: Introduction to Museum Studies
An introduction to museums as important cultural sites. Through discussion, readings, written assignments, on-campus field trips, and guest lecturers, students will examine different types of museums, responsibilities of staff, and the challenges and issues encountered in entering the field. Especially valuable in this course was the reflection on museum theory and how that may be showing up in museums that we visited and the roles different positions played in putting that theory into practice. Part of the course work was creating an online tour of the on-campus public art, which you can find here on PocketSights.
ARED 7500: Introduction to Museum Education
We engaged questions of how people learn in museums and how museum educators create opportunities for visitors to connect meaningfully with works of art. The course included both a theoretical look at what museum education looks like, asking what challenges arise, and how it has changed to meet the modern world, particularly during COVID-19. Course projects include creating a tour using the collections at the Georgia Museum of Art (see above), completing a visitor study (my study focused on photography in art galleries), and engaging with ongoing programs, such as their virtual 5th grade tours and Instagram daily inspiration posts (see mine on Paul Cadmus's Shells and Figure).
ENGL 6290: The Technologies of Medieval and Early Modern Book Production
Using the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at UGA, we explored questions about manuscript and early print technologies and how the materiality of texts plays a role in the way they convey their messages. This involved both theoretical conversations exploring the notions of authority in the medieval context and the shifts between text technologies, but also practical experiences working with the collections at Hargrett and digital manuscripts to see the physical impact of these technologies. Part of this practical experience involved developing blog-style public scholarship about items that interested us from class. For me, this course was an important way of connecting work in other museum studies courses and my internship with Pitts Theology Library with archival questions about materiality and exhibition. The course culminated in a final project where I curated an exhibition case to highlight the recently acquired Catherine B. Krusberg Vampire Collection, which is on display at Hargrett in Spring and Summer 2022.
HIPR 6160: Public History and Technology
This course explored the interplay between spaces of the past and technologies used to present them. This included looks at how apps and VR may be used to present history, how artists have revisioned history museums with technology (including a conversation with Paul Pfeiffer), how websites can use digital mapping to display historical information, and the importance of technology for organizing collections and information. Being at a southern university, the place of slavery on campus was a major part of our conversation, which included projects using the special collections library to reflect on how slavery is remembered on campus and how we might re-engage those conversations. For example, as a class we worked on a walking tour of campus which told the stories that lacked any historical markers, and discussed how technology may be used to present those stories.
HIST 6027: History of American Museums, Parks, and Monuments
An examination of the history and practice of museums, parks, and public monuments in the United States. Making use of the campus and its collections, students investigate the presentation of history at UGA. An important aspect of this course was looking at the history behind our current museum practices in the United States, and how that history affects what we still do today. Another key aspect of this course was considering issues within museum studies, such as the place of Civil War monuments, a conversation with important implications for a campus in the American South and in the months leading up to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, and the subsequent move of Athens, Georgia's own Civil War Monument. This course also included tours and conversations with curators at the on-campus art museum, natural history museum, and special collections library.
HIST 6755: Oral History, Methods and Theory
This course explores the theories and methods that guide Oral History practice, including the subjective nature of oral history, the relationship between interviewers and narrators, and oral history interviewing tips/indexing. The course culminates in a project conducting and indexing an oral history interview of Nuçi's Space for UGA's Russell Library's Oral History Collection. Nuçi's Space is a local Athens organization seeking to end the epidemic of suicide by providing mental health resources to musicians. Additionally, as a graduate requirement I am producing a literature review about ethics in oral history practice, particularly related to the power dynamics between interviewers, narrators, and the instutitions housing oral history collections.
MTS 520T: Research Methods in History, Scripture, and Tradition
This course explored how to do research on religion in the subfields of history, scriptural studies, and the traditions of the church. Much of the focus was around developing research skills to search through the library's collection for primary sources and using the variety of mediums offered. The course also centered using materials from special collections, and culminated in a project about a Reformation-Era bible, its marginalia, provenance, and special features, upon which we then gave a presentation.