CAM Raleigh Summer Internship: An Experience Like No Other!

There was a time when a visitor had to step into a museum to see its collections. Those times have changed. The 21st century museum visitor can visit a museum from the comfort of their living room, and depending on the institution, see online exhibitions, and download gallery talks or browse the collection. Visitor expectations of museums have changed as well; no longer do visitors expect that all museums have a permanent collection. It is much more about the ideas that are being presented in the exhibits than the collections that are housed within the museum. CAM Raleigh exceeds these expectations and brings to the community a non-collecting museum that is focused on presenting exhibitions that inspire, and educate.

My name is Tamar Harris and I have been an Exhibitions Intern this summer from May through August 2012. I am concluding my Master of Art in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. As part of my degree program I secured this internship and I have worked with the Gallery and Exhibitions Manager on both exhibition specific and general curatorial activities. This internship has provided me with real world museum experiences and I have had an opportunity to be involved with a variety of substantive tasks. My first project thrust me into the museums first Arthouse auction.

I had an opportunity to prepare didactic labels, install them and assist with the exhibition preparations for the opening of the event. It was exciting to see all the works of art installed in the main gallery of the museum.

There is a great deal of collaboration between the programs and exhibitions at the museum. I was assigned to work with the Education program on the Teen Art Exhibition. The teen art council designed the layout of the exhibition. I installed the exhibition, exhibition signage, worked on the lighting and posted the didactic labels throughout the exhibition. It was really nice to see how the high school students’ project culminated with this exhibition, and their work was just fabulous! I thoroughly enjoyed working with the other departments within the museum on this assignment. 

In addition to working on the exhibitions, I learned how to update the museum website, worked on exhibition loan contracts, performed research and of course, did my fair share of general curatorial activities too. There were so many aspects to this internship; from the exhibitions that I preformed specific tasks on such as the José Lerma—The Credentalist exhibition, to the upcoming GirlTalk exhibition and everything in between. I have gained a solid understanding of standard museum practices and am more familiar with the curatorial functions within the museum setting as a result. I loved all the hands-on assignments!

This experience has been invaluable to me….Thanks CAM Raleigh and especially Kate Shafer for making this an invaluable component to my education!

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