In the Classroom: Summer Internships Go Virtual

This summer the Art Museum was able to quickly pivot in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and offer its annual summer internship program as a virtual experience. Eleven interns from locations across the globe, including California, India, New Jersey, and Poland, participated in the program. The students were both undergraduates and graduate students, with three interns who applied through the Museum Voices Internship, a joint program with the general internship intended to encourage greater diversity in the museum profession. As usual, the students applied for internships in various areas of the Museum, where they worked closely with curators and other staff members. Cara Bramson, student outreach and programming coordinator, and Veronica White, curator of academic programs, created a five-day orientation program for the interns, followed by weekly Zoom conversations with Museum staff and other professionals in the field. Veronica noted, “It was heartening to connect with students through discussions focused on works of art and the role of museums, and to offer meaningful career experience during a time when very few opportunities were available.” Below are reflections from several interns.

Through discussions with different departments, I learned about interesting jobs that I never even knew existed, broadening my ideas about what kinds of opportunities I might seek out after college.

Hannah Smalley, Princeton University, Class of 2021

As the Museum/PUPP Art intern, I helped plan lessons and run the art class for the high school program. The students were incredible, and it was an honor to teach them and learn from them. Needless to say, summer 2020 has been an adjustment due to social distancing, but despite this, the students were always on task and uplifting in the Zoom classroom.

Estefany Rodriguez, The College of New Jersey, Class of 2020

[My work] was part of a larger-scale initiative within the Museum’s department of Modern and Contemporary Art to increase the presence and equitable representations—physical and digital—of Princeton’s collection of contemporary North American Indigenous art.

Anika Khakoo, Princeton University, Class of 2022

Given my scientific background, I worked on image processing in preparation for high-resolution imagery to be made available. My project was twofold: creating a script in python to recognize color scales in images and to edit the Princeton University Art Museum website.

Shruti Sharma, Princeton University, PhD candidate

Although I have worked as a museum assistant and researcher in the past, I have never had the opportunity to contribute to the actual purchase of artwork. This experience has greatly expanded my capacity to support the slow, thoughtful work of building a world-class university museum such as Princeton.

Margaret Kurkoski, Princeton University, PhD candidate