Interning with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
For two Haverford students, lunch breaks now mean more than just time to scarf down sandwiches; they offer the chance to browse paintings by Rembrandt, Chagall and other acclaimed artists. With the help of funding from Haverford's John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center, Jacob Horn and Jenny Sanford (both class of '13) are spending the summer interning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest and most renowned museums in the United States.
Horn is working with Innis Howe Shoemaker, the Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the museum. He is helping to curate a show, Here and Now: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs by Ten Philadelphia Artists, which includes the painted photographs of Isaac Tin Wei Lin and the work of brothers Steven and Billy Blaise Dufala (whose PROBLEMY show was up at Haverford's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery last fall), among others. Horn's responsibilities include sending out loan letters to art lenders, contacting artists, tracking down information about the artists for the museum's files and helping to interview the artists.
Sanford is an editorial intern in the museum's editorial and graphic design department. She is working under the auspices of Gretchen Dykstra, who is the head editor in charge of labeling exhibits, and fact checking materials such as brochures, newsletters and monthly member calendars for all departments within the museum. Currently, Sanford is editing text for panels that will accompany the paintings in the upcoming exhibit, Rembrandt in the Face of Jesus, which will feature the Christ paintings and drawings of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), universally acclaimed as the greatest master painter of the Dutch Golden Age.
In addition to their internships, Horn and Sanford are participating in a museum studies course designed by the coordinators of the internship. The course allows them to learn about both the museum's vast art collection as well as its various departments.
Horn says he was attracted to the internship because he had some academic experience in art history (in addition to always being a general art enthusiast and appreciator), and thought that working with a curator would be a helpful opportunity to better understand how research can take place in a setting outside academiaâ€”something he might be interested in when it comes to long-term career goals.
For Sanford, the internship is ideal because it combines her interests in visual arts and museum studies, and she is using the opportunity to explore possible careers as well.“It is a wonderful opportunity, because I am exploring editing as a possible career path,” explains Sanford.
The internship, though, has been somewhat different than Horn imagined when he pictured himself running up the“Rocky steps” to work in the museum's main building each day. Instead, he takes the bus to his office in the adjacent Perelman Building. Not that it has diminished his overall experience.“Getting to engage with this world-famous collection on a day to day basisâ€”for example, taking part of my lunch break to go wander around a gallery of Picassos or passing by a Chagall exhibition every time I leave my officeâ€”has been an amazing experience so far,” says Horn.“I'm so thankful to have been granted this opportunity by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as the Humanities Center.”
- Stephen W Handlon '13