A Sea of Gallery: Multiple Projects for a Museum Intern

Danielle Parga, August 6, 2012

A museum intern’s job is multifaceted! I’ve helped with various projects over the past few weeks.

About the Fall exhibit: we decided which colors to use! Here are a few examples of colors painted on accompanying stools. The stools will be part of the “scientific” side of the exhibit where visitors will learn about the recent research performed on several Maya objects. Installation is in a matter of days…


Next, I put together an interactive powerpoint to showcase digital scans of our Maya stela, PC.B. 537. Chris Harrison is building a label slant which will have an embedded iPad for visitors to explore the scan at different angles and under different lighting. Digital scanning helps scholars to examine, share and preserve ancient artifacts.

Image   Image

In anticipation of next year’s exhibit celebrating 50 years of pre-Columbian art at Dumbarton oaks, I have requested copyright permission to reproduce a variety of paintings and photographs from other institutions. Often, for a single image, I had to contact many different stakeholders, including the photographer, the owner of the artwork, the heirs of the artists, and national government institutions. It takes a lot to get all the proper copyrights!

Specifically, we are working on a mural which features our Tlazolteotl figure. She appears I the bottom corner of the image, so if we reproduce the mural on our gallery wall, the figure sits close to the floor. I used a computer program to show the mural on different walls and at different scales in the galleries, so that we could decide on the optimal format for display. Either way, the mural will look extremely impressive once it goes up.


I worked on another side project curating a new display case for the pre-Columbian galleries. It is tricky to display our pyroengraved ChavÍn gourd bowl considering it is organic matter that is over 2,000 years old. A special mount will have to be made in order to support this fragile object and we are also checking the temperature and humidity in the case and galleries for the best environment for the bowl.


Down in museum storage, I recreated the display case using exact measurements. I then printed out life size photos of the objects in order to get a sense of scale. By putting them on various mounts and in various positions, we could get an accurate impression of what the case will look like. Take a look once it’s installed!

So this is it for the internship! It’s been a quick ten weeks but I’ve loved my work here and enjoyed meeting such interesting people. Most importantly, I learned so much about museum work and I hope to take these skills to the next level. Au revoir!

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