This summer I was gifted with the opportunity to intern at the James A. Michener Art Museum in my beloved hometown of Doylestown, Pa. As a Global Media (Visual Journalism) major and Studio Art minor having just finished my first year of college, I would have been absolutely ecstatic at the prospect of interning at any art museum, but in order to understand my particular joy at interning at the Michener you need a bit of background: I love that place.
I grew up a few minutes outside of Doylestown proper, six minutes from the bookstore, three from the first Starbucks and five from the second, and, perhaps best of all, approximately twelve minutes away from the Michener Art Museum. I was no stranger to the permanent collection of Pennsylvania painters, the wood floor, little café, and replica of James A. Michener’s office. I had been on many an outing with my family to partake in the quintessential Doylestown culture spot, across the street from the Mercer Museum, caddy corner from our local chapter of Boy Scouts of America—I could draw a map.
I had even taken a fashion class there one summer in high school which ultimately convinced me I hadn’t the patience to construct clothing and drastically altered the trajectory of my career path. This embeddedness in my personal history is responsible for my delight at working there. It also should have meant the following tale wouldn’t happen.
You see, I had been to the Museum on multiple occasions. I therefore had (or should have had) a feel for the not-uber-formal workplace environment. I knew that, especially in the summer, “business casual” meant khakis and floral prints. Yet, hoping to make a good impression while inadvertently dressing for the television version of the Museum, I arrived on the first day in a black trench dress and patent leather pumps, hair coiffed, nails done, and far too early.
The subsequent waiting in the museum lobby, in my professional-dressy wear, gave me time enough to convince myself I had come horrendously overdressed—and I was right. I bambi-on-iced my way through the day in the too-high heels and tried to make my posture as informal as possible to compensate for the ensemble. Despite this early snafu, the internship proved an amazing experience where I cultivated and applied skills learned at my first year at Arcadia.
At the time of my arrival, the education department was in the process of developing stunningly beautiful off-site programs for an October exhibit, From Philadelphia to Monaco Grace Kelly, Beyond the Icon. Because I had worked in Photoshop, InDesign, and Publisher for my Honors Project the previous semester (I chose to create a fashion magazine), I was able to develop promotional materials for these programs utilizing the knowledge gleaned from the Honors project. These kinds of projects were interspersed with the expected interning tasks like making copies (which, come to think of it, proved quite useful as I now know how to use huge office copiers that once intimidated me). One such task of which I’m particularly proud was the copying, folding, stuffing, and mailing of over 500 Grace Kelly fliers (some of which I designed). It was such a note-worthy accomplishment my boss suggested I take a picture with my masterpieces, pictured above (perhaps most importantly, this picture demonstrates that I eventually got the knack of dressing appropriately—ie. in a manner not befitting a New York banker).
The days passed quickly as daily work was studded with docent meetings to discuss the gorgeous Bertoia exhibit then in the galleries or the odd school tour. I discussed my schooling and career plans with those in the marketing, communications, and education departments, always coming away from those discussions with more perspective than I had when we began. I had lunch with my boss at Jules Pizza across the street, got experience in creating promotional materials, and was afforded the incredible delight of imbibing masterful works of art every day. I am unbelievably grateful for Arcadia’s hand in preparing me for such an experience as well as unbelievably grateful for the experience itself—one I will always treasure.