Spring 2013: Intern Stephanie Dunn in the collection

Our Spring 2013 intern, Stephanie Dunn, was a senior who graduated in May. She plans to attend graduate school at the University of Oregon in the fall. Her internship was not her first experience with the collection—which she had used in coursework as an art history major—but it was her first opportunity to get a hands-on experience with our objects! Her internship assignment was to help catalogue the incoming objects that were transferred from the former OSU Museum of Natural and Cultural History, which closed in 1994.

As an art history major, museums are one of my favorite places to go. It is always great to be able to see a piece of artwork in person rather than just a projected image, which is why one day I hope to have a career in an art museum. It is for this reason that I applied for the OSUMA internship, in order to gain hands on experience in the museum field. I was extremely excited when I found out I was being offered this wonderful opportunity and could not wait to get to work.

Spring 2013 intern Stephanie Dunn completed condition reports for incoming collection objects during her internship.

Spring 2013 intern Stephanie Dunn completed condition reports for incoming collection objects during her internship. The images in this blog post are from her final presentation to the museum staff.

During this semester my project was to complete condition reports on the items being transferred from the OSU Museum of Natural and Cultural History to the OSUMA.

Condition reporting is a vital part of museum collection documentation. Reports document the physical condition of the objects and assess the need for conservation treatment and/or special handling.

Condition reporting is a vital part of museum collection documentation. Reports document the physical condition of the objects and assess the need for conservation treatment and/or special handling.

Every day was just like Christmas, I never knew what the next item I unwrapped would be. It was such a joy to be able to handle and interact with the artwork on a close up level. It allowed me to see every detail of the art, which is hard to do just walking through a museum.

A wide variety of objects came to the OSUMA from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

A wide variety of objects came to the OSUMA from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

Learning the condition report process taught me how to carefully inspect and handle artwork.  Additionally I was able to see how climate and storage conditions can affect the overall condition and well being of an object.

The variety of objects required Stephanie to learn specific handling techniques for different materials.

The variety of objects required Stephanie to learn specific handling techniques for different materials.

Along with the condition reports, I was able to complete other various tasks such as filing documents, transferring and hanging artwork, and making spreadsheets to organize works in the Annual Juried Exhibition.

When the Museum of Natural and Cultural History objects arrived at the OSUMA, they needed a lot of work to be catalogued, organized, and safely stored!

When the Museum of Natural and Cultural History objects arrived at the OSUMA, they needed a lot of work to be catalogued, organized, and safely stored! Stephanie’s work for the OSUMA was a vital part of that process.

This internship allowed me to gain valuable knowledge about the museum field that I know will help me in the future. Furthermore all the museum staff are awesomely helpful and encouraging. I would urge everyone to complete an internship with the OSU Museum of Art because it truly is a unique learning opportunity that you will never forget.

Interns are a vital part of the OSUMA staff, and our goal is to provide an in-depth experience alongside more diverse exposure to our daily operations. Applications for internships are made available on the museum website in the prior semester.

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About osucurator

Louise Siddons is Associate Professor of Art History at Oklahoma State University and founding curator of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. She maintains this blog as a record of her students' work with the Museum's permanent collection as well as more generally with topics related to museum studies.
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