Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Walters Art Museum


My name is Aubrey Vinson and I am an Art History Senior. I’ve known for a number of years that I have wanted to work in a museum, and the Walters is one of my favorites. It has one of the largest collections of medieval art in the country, and a wide range of European, Asian, and many other kinds of historic art. I always keep my eye on area museums’ job and internship pages, just to see what’s out there and maybe find something I actually qualify for. This past spring, the “registration intern” position popped up on the Walters’s website, and it really intrigued me; I didn’t really know what a registrar did, but I knew I would be at my favorite place in Baltimore! I did a little research on museum registrars, and sent in my application through the museum’s website. (Also, a lot of museums post job openings on their social media pages, so just keep looking!)

A few weeks later, I received an email from the museum, and set up a phone interview with my future supervisor, Danielle Bennett. After that, we set up an interview, where I met her and a few other people I would be working with at the Walters, and they told me I had the internship.

I spent two and a half months over the summer of 2015 working with Danielle and her coworkers on a variety of tasks and projects. Some of the time, I was helping Danielle in her duties as the registrar – pulling art objects out of storage for curators, taking objects to or from the conservation department, and sampling the different tasks a registrar handles. Data entry is a major part of the registrar’s duties, and it helps to keep track of the museum’s collection. One of the things I tackled was measuring, photographing, and rehousing a collection of 90 Ethiopian coins that were donated to the museum - in a coin album! My work with the coins made it easier for other museum staff to work with them, and for the museum to better keep track of each individual object.

This internship was invaluable to me, and has really helped me in my museum-oriented career. Though I don’t think I want to be a registrar, I gained useful experience handling art objects, working with museum databases, and meeting different people in different roles through the museum. Even knowing this isn’t the exact job I want to pursue is incredibly helpful. I would have never known what a registrar does without this internship, and I will have a much better appreciation for museum registrars when I work with them in the future.

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