My name is Taylor Shuck, I am a painting major with a curatorial concentration going into my senior year at MICA. Over the summer of 2014 I was a museum management intern at the Dali Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida. I first visited the museum in high school and loved the collection and what the museum has done for St. Petersburg, my hometown. I first learned about the internship on the museums website, which is where I got the application. Family friends on the board of the museum also recommended me for the internship. I heard back from the Dali a month later in April that I was accepted for the position.
The Dali museum houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali's work in the United States. A new building was built to better protect the art and have a more appropriate architecture that reflects Dali's work. The museum and the grounds are stunning, including large geodesic dome architecture and a labyrinth outside overlooking the water front marina. I really enjoyed going into work everyday and learning so much about the collection and the artist. My supervisor and mentor was Pam Whiteaker, she was the Museum Manager of the Dali. Pam was an excellent person to work under and learn from. She assigned the other 3 museum management interns, and myself, projects and often we worked with her to complete them.
In my first week I was informed about a new program the museum was working to create. I was tasked on research and development of a program to bring in Alzheimer patients and their caregivers into the museum for special tours titled The Persistence of Memory. I then began research on grant opportunities for this type of program. I then began the grant application for the top choice. I worked on this for some weeks until I was tasked with a different program. We worked on developing a new position called a Gallery Host, which is not quite a docent but located in the gallery to answer questions and give interesting information. The other interns and myself researched on Dali's entire life and were each assigned a 10 year span of his life to cover. We made a powerpoint and presented this information to volunteers and docents interested in the gallery host position. After that we went back to working on the Alzheimer's program, I continued with the grant writing as well as researching other possible partners and sponsors, as well as create an Advisory Counsel for the program. At the end of my internship we presented all of our research to the Education and Curatorial departments.
I am very proud of the work I completed while interning at the Dali Museum, I was very happy to be working on such a beneficial program for the museum and for the community. My biggest take away was networking with coworkers and offering help in any way possible. I learned to go beyond what is expected or asked of you and always be happy to do so. I learned I still have a lot to learn and am excited for my future career in the museum world. I did take away from the experience that I am less interested in administrative work and more interested in Curatorial aspects of the museum. I will venture further into Exhibition Design and consider Art Handling as an important skill to learn.