I`m Mengyang Wang from Illustration Practice. I am an international student. Since I want to gain some working experience and improve my language skills during the summer, I checked the MICANetwork website to look for some internship positions. I found an internship as a gallery guide at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. I prepared all the documents I would need and, after a phone interview, I was informed I got the internship.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, named after the founding donor Joseph H. Hirshhorn, belongs to the Smithsonian Institution and is located in Washington D.C. It houses more than 12,000 pieces in its collection and aims to exhibit both modern and contemporary art works. A gallery guide`s job is to help audiences have a better understanding of the artworks through conversation. There are two ways of guiding: one is daily guiding which means approaching viewers randomly and speaking with them while the other way is to lead a scheduled tour. Each tour lasts between 30 and 45 minutes covering four to five selected pieces of work. The gallery guide may decide the theme for each tour which works like a lecture.
I still remember my first time of leading a tour; I picked the exhibition of Robert Irwin as my theme. Although I was trying to remember all the wall texts and my notes I was too nervous to even make introduce each work—let alone to engage the viewers. Fortunately, after several times, I was getting more and more confident with the language as well as the touring pace. It`s worth mentioning that, after each tour, each intern would upload their notes onto a shared Goggle Drive folder so everyone could learn from other`s experience which I found very helpful.
This summer internship was a very important experience for me because it helped to build up my confidence and gradually improve my language skills a lot. It even gave me the confidence and interest to become a teacher. Before, I was afraid of communicating with people and was too shy to share my opinion. But after this internship, I enjoy talking with people and can look them in the eye while doing so. There is so much potential to be found through communication so I am thinking about teaching as one of my dream jobs.