Wells-Bishop Internship at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
(August 2020 – May 2021)
Through my internship at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, I have learned a lot about the museum world and what that might entail for me in a future career. My supervisor, Emily Grabiec, is very helpful and informative and has shown me all the amazing things one can do in a museum and with the community. Throughout the year, I have worked on a large project showcasing the buildings and art on Longwood’s campus and have made a digital product on their website. I have also helped out with many other projects that the LCVA had been working on and lending my help in any way they needed.
At the very beginning of the internship, I was very nervous and unsure of my abilities. I was surprised that I had gotten the job and was able to advance my education and future career at such a well-established location. The LCVA is a beautiful art gallery and I was excited to be able to learn all that I could. At first, I was tasked with coming up with ideas for a project I could work on during the year, and I was initially unsure what to do. However, I quickly realized that I wanted to talk about and share my love for Longwood’s campus. The architecture and the distribution of art on campus are severely underrated and overlooked in the academic community. So, in response, I decided to create a digital map that showcased the history of the buildings on campus and highlighted some of the prominent art that the LCVA provided to Longwood.
Figuring out how to create this project was the first big hurdle I encountered. There are a variety of programs online that I could use but most of them, unfortunately, cost money and I did not want to worry about that. So, I eventually went to the library and discussed the project with some of the librarians to see what they would recommend. It was then that I was introduced to the incredible program of ArcGIS StoryMaps. This program is amazing and it created a beautifully seamless digital product that I could work with.
The next hurdle was learning how to use this program. Although it was amazing and rather user-friendly, I had never had to create something like this before and had to start from scratch. Nevertheless, about ten-to-fifteen tutorial videos later, I began researching and creating the project. For research, I primarily went to the library and met with the archival department there. They had so much information and pictures about Longwood’s campus to give me, which made everything so much easier in the long run. This helped me realize the importance of having a library or librarian to go to when researching. This communication with the archival department also helped me realize that I might enjoy a possible career in archives at a museum in the future.
Once I got the hang of the program and had all my research, I began to put it all together into ArcGIS StoryMaps. This part, although tediously long, was rather easy to do. While working on the project, I also helped Emily Grabiec with other LCVA projects where I was needed. This helped me learn more about other departments and jobs at the gallery and showed me all the future possibilities of a career. I felt incredibly grateful that I was able to do this internship because of all the inclusivity of the LCVA and the connectedness I was able to experience at a smaller museum.
Once the second semester began, I had already finished the overall base of the interactive map and had inputted all of the necessary history and information. While the map itself was great and I was really proud of what I created, I realized that it might not be as personal as it should be. When I think of Longwood, I also think of home and community. To translate this into the project, I decided to film videos of Longwood faculty, students, and staff discussing their favorite places on campus and why they loved Longwood. Although I was only able to convince around ten people to participate in this project, I was glad I had, because it added a lot more charm and made the project feel more like Longwood and how the university makes the students feel. This last part of the project severely tested my social anxiety and forced me to step out of the box a bit and try something new. I had to push myself into the community to find people to participate and I had to get involved in ways I never thought I would have to. I also learned how to handle a lot of filming equipment, I made legal forms to have permission to post videos of others, and I learned how to edit videos. Overall, this was a huge learning experience for me but I feel like it benefitted the project and helped me grow as a person.
In conclusion, I feel like this internship was the best one I could have chosen and participated in. I am entirely grateful to have been allowed to work at the LCVA and learn all that I could from the wonderful people there. Learning how to create a digital product and connect with people in the community is something that I needed to work on and this internship helped me do this and more. While I might not have considered working in the education department in a museum before this internship, I am considering it now. The education department at the LCVA takes the history and education out into the community and shows people how amazing their gallery truly is. I feel like that is something I would love to do in the future and I was glad to have been allowed to figure that out and learn from the best. Overall, it was an experience that I learned an abundance from and will never forget.