Working at a world class art museum, right on campus

Enter TitlePhoto/Mike Lovett

Emma Peters and Hannah Kressel in Mark Dion's "The Undisciplined Collector," a permanent installation at the Rose Art Museum.

As museum curatorial interns, Emma Peters '20 and Hannah Kressel '20 have developed tours, tracked down information in the museum's archives and had front-row seats to see how exhibitions come together.

To get to work, all they have to do is walk across campus.

“I can walk out of my classroom and into work, or vice versa,” said Kressel, who is triple majoring in art history, studio art and European cultural studies. “It’s fun to have this organic experience of seeing works on the wall, or in the back rooms of the museum, and then going to a class ten minutes later, where I can reference something I just saw or was just working with.”

Peters and Kressel are the Sherman H. Starr Family Curatorial Interns at the Rose Art Museum, the internationally recognized modern and contemporary art museum that calls Brandeis home. The positions are reserved for Brandeis students and awarded to outstanding juniors or seniors interested in exploring the potential of a museum career. Supervised by the museum’s curatorial team, the interns are introduced to curatorial work, collection management, programs, and other administrative museum operations. The intership program is one of several opportunities for students to get involved with the museum.

Part of the work includes following up on records inquiries in the Rose's archives, which are kept in tall stacks of organized cardboard boxes in the museum's back office. Digging through the past has unexpectedly been one of the best parts of the job for Peters, who is double majoring in art history and linguistics.

“I’ve never had access to archival materials and I love it," she said. "It’s not the type of work I would have thought I would be interested in, but there is so much fascinating material. You get a deeper understanding of the history of the museum and how exhibitions come together.”

The pair were given free rein to develop tours of exhibitions this fall, one that featured works by Gordon Matta-Clark, and one featuring pieces from the Rose's collection. In developing the tour, they tried to imagine the type of tour they would have wanted to take as first-year students.

"It was fun for us to connect with the student body, and think about the dual role we play, being both students on campus and working here at the museum," Peters said.

The pair will continue to work at the museum through the spring, and they are both interested in pursuing careers related to art.

“Having this gem of a collection right on campus is really special. If you mention the museum to people in the art world, they know it,” Kressel said. “It’s a unique place and I’ve learned so much here.”

Spring exhibitions at the Rose open on Feb. 14.

Categories: Arts, Student Life

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