What you don't see at MOPA

One of the most exciting things I discovered during my internship at MOPA is what is going on behind the scenes of a museum. I went to many exhibitions before and I wondered how the art pieces got there – it couldn’t be a miracle that they just somehow got there by themselves, there must be a story behind their origins. Some people had to work hard to make these visits possible. So, I was really curious to see how a museum operates every day and how a team can organize exhibitions and museum events.

First, there are a lot more people working here than I imagined, from the curators to the people working in the store and front desk, the cleaners and the people working in the administrative offices… There are also some very dedicated volunteers who help MOPA’s staff. Some of them even spend many days of their week here. All the staff works together to create and help organize events, promote them, and make the best out of them. The museum holds general staff meetings every two weeks in which all of the upcoming events and programs are discussed and in which everyone is present. There are also many more specific meetings that take place between some members of the staff only. Yesterday, I assisted in a meeting for Education about the CARE program. It is an arts education program with partners such as La Jolla Playhouse, Mingei International Museum, Timken Museum of Art and MOPA.

It was interesting to hear that MOPA is actually involved with many programs that don’t take place within its walls; rather, some events are hosted in schools for children and their teachers to participate. It's not something that every visitor would know about by visiting the museum. Interestingly, MOPA has a library dedicated to photography on the second floor of its building, with more than 20,000 books related to photography and that is accessible by appointment. This might not be too obvious either for a first-time visitor at MOPA. Now, I would like to see more of the behind-the-scenes area where the collections are kept.

I’m looking forward to learn more about MOPA as my intern goes!