Summer Centered: Nana Nieto ’19 Interns with the American Museum of Natural History
The history of art major and museum studies minor is learning the many facets of one of New York City’s iconic museums.
In the 2006 comedy film Night at the Museum, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is filled with nocturnal secrets—dinosaur skeletons run around the atrium, tiny figurines battle each other, an Easter Island head chews bubble gum. Nana Nieto ’19 hasn’t witnessed anything so outlandish on the job, but her summer internship with the AMNH is giving her a different sort of behind-the-scenes look into all the museum has to offer.
With funding from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, Nieto is spending 10 weeks in the AMNH’s Public Programs Department, which coordinates activities outside of the museum’s exhibitions. Currently, she is helping review films for the upcoming Margaret Mead Film Festival, which features movies that document humanity’s global diversity.
“Watching movies at work is as fun as it sounds,” she said. “Ultimately, it is very empowering to have such a significant role as an intern in reviewing some of the festival's content and helping to curate the totality of what will be showcased by the museum in October.”
Nieto is majoring in the history of art and minoring in museum studies, both of which are Bryn Mawr programs. With her internship this summer, she has the opportunity to complement her studies with firsthand experience.
“The field of museum studies is very interdisciplinary, and I think that it is really important to learn about and explore many career opportunities, whether it's in education, curatorial design, publications, or in the archival collections,” she said.
This isn’t Nieto’s first experience with curation. Last summer, she worked for the Magill Library staff doing research and curatorial work about influential alumnus John C. Whitehead ’43, who served as chairman of the Securities Industry Association, director of the New York Stock Exchange, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State under George Shultz, and chair of the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, among other roles. She has also augmented her interests in arts and culture while on the editorial board of Margin, a themed student art publication.
This summer, however, she’s brought her interests to one of the biggest stages in the international museum world. Between meeting famous academics (she ran into the museum’s planetarium director and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson in an elevator), capitalizing on her free pass to all New York City museums, and working on community-outreach events, she has had many opportunities to witness—and practice—museum studies in action.
“The Natural History Museum is such a hallmark for the city of New York,” she said. “Whether you know the movie Night at the Museum or the iconic dinosaur remains that crowd the halls, almost everyone I know who has been to the city has a story about a time at the AMNH.”
-Michael Weber ’19
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.