I’m currently in Washington, D.C. completing my 2nd summer work project in the photograph conservation lab at the National Gallery of Art (NGA). I know from my last summer in New York that an 8-10 week internship is really no time at all! As I expected, the summer has flown by and I only have 1.5 weeks left to wrap up my research on platinum/palladium prints before I move on to my next adventure in Houston. Of all the places I could’ve been for the summer, I think I lucked out with D.C., partially because of all the amazing museums here, but also because of the number of amazing conservators that work in them.
I’ve been fortunate to share this experience with many other interns at the NGA and at other locations around D.C. After doing the math, we counted over 10 of us interested in paper, photo, or library/archives preservation and/or conservation! Thanks to a clever technician at the Lunder Center, our group organically received the name of THE FLAT PEOPLE due to our affinity for flat objects. Perfect right?! Naturally, the only thing for us to do was to organize tours of the local conservation labs in museums and libraries, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (through the WCG), the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Museum of the American Indian Photo Archives, the Lunder Center, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and finally the NGA (scheduled for next week).
It’s been so great to meet the many conservators and allied professionals at all these D.C. institutions and to see the beautiful spaces they work in. One of the best parts of the tours, though, has been learning about what my student colleagues have been doing during their summer internships: treatment, surveys, re-housing, outreach, research, and more. I’m so thankful to my supervisors at the NGA for letting me participate in these extra activities; I feel like I’ve been able to take part in 6 separate internships in only 9 weeks!