Collections Management: The Internship

This week, MOPA's Curatorial Department is pleased to present a guest blog from our summer intern, Diana Chavez.  Read on to learn more about her adventures in Collections Management.

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Salutations MOPA friends!  Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Diana Chavez and I am a graduate student in the Museum Studies program at Syracuse University. For the summer I returned home to San Diego to defrost from the bitter winters of Central New York and as well as to intern in the Curatorial Department at MOPA. My main focus of study is collections management and the brilliant and welcoming Collections Manager, Megan Clancy (pictured top left), took me under her wing. The overall experience was enlightening, rewarding and just plain ol’ fun.

Each day at MOPA was different and exciting. My projects proved to be fantastic lessons that broadened my knowledge of collections management and, most importantly, the management of photographic arts. My undergraduate degree is in Anthropology and I have over three years of experience working with anthropological and archaeological objects. I didn’t know what to expect when it came to working with two dimensional works. I quickly learned that a collection of photographic artworks can be dynamic and challenging.

During my two months as an intern I worked on a variety of assignments. Some of these included the post-exhibition procedures of the Jessica Lange works. I assisted in de-framing the pieces, final condition reports, and packing the photography for return shipment. I also assisted with inventory projects, matting, gathering collections data and photographing images for internal and public use.

My biggest project dealt with the recent acquisition of the Lynn G. Fayman Archive. Thanks to Megan and Jerry, another volunteer, the slides were well organized but there was still a lot of work to do. Namely, scanning and assigning acquisition numbers to the 1,000 plus slides. While at a glance some might find the work to be tedious and repetitive, Fayman’s unique process kept the experience interesting. I am no expert in photography but I was able to gain an appreciation for each unique slide and the artistic nuances it contained.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. My internship is coming to a close and soon after I will head back to Siberacuse. I am eternally grateful to the generous staff I encountered. The entire Collections team including Megan, Chantel Paul and Scott Davis were extraordinarily supportive and served as invaluable mentors. The same goes for all the others who made me feel at home here at MOPA. I will definitely miss my time here and the wonderful people who made it a positive experience.

For more information about volunteer and internship opportunities at MOPA please check out