Monday, June 3, 2013

Port Discovery Children's Museum


My name is Natalie Fitzgerald and I’m a senior Graphic Design major with a concentration in Book Arts. I spent the winter and spring of 2013 as a graphic design intern for Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, MD. Port Discovery is an interactive funhouse that teaches through playing. I found the position through an old listing on the MICA career services website and sent an email inquiring about current internship openings. I was interested in Port Discovery because I hope to make a career of designing for children and I specifically wanted experience in doing work with educational content. 

My supervisor was Segrid Pearson, the Director of Design and Publications. She handled nearly all of the print and promotional design for the museum, and the rest of the design department was comprised on an exhibition designer and a web designer. During the course of the internship, I worked mostly on spot illustrations as needed and layout for print materials such as flyers, postcards, and other items. My biggest task was illustrating a series of permanent window installations featuring original characters; this is something I’m still working on a freelancer even though the internship is complete. I was treated as a member of the team and was regularly trusted as sole designer on my projects.

I loved having the opportunity to work on real projects and under real deadlines. Even though I sometimes found the work to not be incredibly fulfilling creatively, it was a good insight into the realities of being an in-house designer for this type of establishment. I was able to determine that if I pursued further museum work, I’d probably more interested in exhibit design or coming in as a freelancer for special projects rather than working on the day-to-day collateral. One invaluable skill I picked up while working at Port Discovery was the ability to brainstorm and execute concepts quickly; my workdays were short and this pushed me to streamline my creative process a lot. I definitely grew as a designer through this experience and will carry the knowledge I gained as I move forward.