Interview with an Intern

April 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Jenny Robertson, Intern with the Registrar’s Office (Spring 2009)

Jenny Robertson, Intern with the Registrar’s Office (Spring 2009)

I had the opportunity to interview Jenny Robertson, one of our spectacular interns at the Museum. Over the past four months, she has unpacked, numbered, conditioned, recorded and re-packed over 250 pieces from the Cecere collection, logging approximately 160 hours!

Why did you decide to work as an intern?
Two internships are required for the Museum Studies curriculum. I think it’s great; so many aspects of museum work and organization can only be learned through real experience.

Marking a box= priceless organizational learning experience

Marking a box= a priceless organizational learning experience

Did you know where you were going to be interning?
Nope. Before my first semester here, it was the middle of summer and I knew I needed to get my internship plans squared away. I sent Jean Makin an email because I really liked the Print Study room. At first there weren’t any projects that still needed intern assistance, but when the Warhol prints were donated, Jean remembered me. It’s a really good example of how helpful it is to start a dialog.
During the middle of last semester I mentioned to Jean that I needed to start looking for another internship. She referred me to Anne Sullivan, and that’s how I was eventually introduced to the Cecere Collection.

Why did you decide to intern at the ASU Art Museum?

The ASUAM has a great collection. I had visited the Jules Heller Print Study room with a class, and I loved the facility, so I wanted to come back for more.

Jenny packing art in the photo room.

Jenny packing art in the photo room.

How often do you come in?
I’m in 3 days a week this semester, 10 hours a week total.

What do you do on a daily basis? What is the process for this collection?
I do a variety of things day-to-day. I’ve been focusing on accessioning a big portion of one collection, so I’ve been going through phases beginning with marking and inventorying, conditioning, database entry, and packing. It’s been very hands-on, and I’ve been given a lot of freedom to manage my time in the most effective way I see fit.

She already made the list and she's checking it twice.

She made a list and she's checking it twice.

What have you learned from your internship experience?
The most obvious skill I’ve been honing is organization. Not only do I have to keep track of the pieces I’m working with, but also the information associated with each of them and what I have yet to complete. Since the group of pieces I’m working with is so large, I’ve had to keep my pace up to ensure that my assigned project is complete before I’m done. Something else I’ve really come to understand is perseverance; there are so many pieces and associated procedures to complete that sometimes I felt like I’d never finish. I just had to learn to keep my head down and work, and to resist wasting my time by looking around at everything still left to do and becoming overwhelmed.

What is your favorite piece in this collection?
This collection contains a lot of variety, and I haven’t even seen the whole thing! Of the pieces I’ve been working with, there are two Ecuadorian farm animal figures – a horse and a cow – that have managed to charm me.

Love at first sight!

Love at first sight!

Is interning better than job?
Interning is different than a job. I don’t think one is particularly better than the other; they serve different purposes. One very nice thing about an internship is that you’re known to be learning. The staff members know that you’ll have questions and you’ll need guidance, so it takes some of the pressure off.

What are the perks of the internship ASUAM?
The ASUAM offers flexible hours and projects, it’s on campus (how convenient is that?!), and interns can be exposed to many different styles of work.

Would you intern here again?!
I would intern here again in a heartbeat!

Interviewer’s note: Jenny will graduate this May with a major in Museum Studies and a minor in Anthropology. After graduating, she plans to go back to school (fun!) and take more courses in Economics and Math so she can apply for a doctoral program in Economics (more fun)!

If you are interested in an internship at the ASU Art Museum, visit our website to learn more!


Entry filed under: ASU Art Museum, ASU Art Museum: Behind-the-scenes, People at ASU Art Museum, Uncategorized.

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