My name is Caitlin and as part of my Woody Museum Studies Internship experience this summer, I am working with the curator of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture at Colonial Williamsburg. I am an Anthropology Major with an Art History Minor. My placement with paintings was well suited to my knowledge base and interest, and, thus far, what I’ve enjoyed most about my internship is getting the opportunity to dive deep into research on the paintings in the collection, getting personal with the sitters and artists by researching their genealogy, timelines of their lives, where and when they were in a particular city and why. There are many questions involved in curatorial research, many of which remain unanswered due to lack of documentation. This is especially true for many of the paintings and artists that I have been researching, who aren’t particularly well known but still prolific and incredibly talented. Thus, much of the research is like doing a puzzle, but with only a few pieces to assemble it.
This summer has consisted of a number of varying projects in the department, rather than a single project for the entire summer. These projects provide a broad scope of everything that the curators at Colonial Williamsburg do in their job. Every few weeks I’ve been able to attend the accessions meetings with the collections staff, in which I’ve learned a lot about how accessioning objects works and the way in which a large institution makes decisions and plans for its future. We also have intern professional development tours once a week, in which all of the Colonial Williamsburg Interns meet with the curators and conservators of a department to get better acquainted with the collection. It has also been great to meet the other interns and learn about what they’re doing in their internship. In my ten weeks working with Colonial Williamsburg, I hope to gain comprehensive understanding of what a curator’s job entails, acquaint myself with Early American Art and Folk Art, and build professional skills and connections.