Summer at the PMA

Summer at the PMA

So this summer, I’m an intern in the Editorial & Graphic Design Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of their Museum Studies summer program. My supervisor is Gretchen Dykstra, the Senior Marketing Editor, and I am grateful to work with her and with a number of other experienced editors and graphic designers in the department. The role of EGD in the museum is kind of broad, which means that my projects are always different and new, and I get to work with a lot of other departments. EGD is responsible for all ephemera published by the museum, both print and digital. That means that everything that has text or an image on it at the museum has gone through EGD. We work closely with other departments to develop content, such as copy for a new brochure for Development, wall text for upcoming special exhibitions, and images for banner replacements, and then our responsibility is to facilitate several rounds of edits and carry each project to publication (whether print or digital). The thing I’m quickly realizing is that there are often hundreds of projects in progress at once, and projects never stop coming in. So there’s always something new and more to do! As an English major with diverse museum experience, this internship placement in particular has been rewarding for me. I get to be surrounded by people who value the way words can support and augment visual art, and get to use the writing and editing skills I’ve gained as an English major and my knowledge of the museum industry to help Gretchen and the EGD staff to the best of...
why education is important: sentimentalism and other shenanigans

why education is important: sentimentalism and other shenanigans

Do you know that feeling when you’re running around for a whole day, and when you finally sit down on your couch at home, you realize that you’ve actually been running around for about two months straight? Yes, I’m happy to say that was me this summer at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I’m also happy to say that this pace didn’t cause my time at SAAM to skim by in a superficial way, but very much the opposite. My time was so chock full of different experiences that it will take me a while to unwind them all out. I’m going to work on just one knot right now–a way to articulate why education is important. Education has always been a presence in my life. Besides the few years when I didn’t know what I was doing (specifically ages 0-3), I’ve never not been a student. But since working with the Education Department at SAAM on several projects, the main one being a professional development program for teachers called Summer Institutes: Teaching the Humanities Through Art, I have really tried to put words to how education has played a significant role in my own life and the impact it can have on others. So here it goes: Education is important because it provides the tools people need to become their own educators. It creates citizens of the world who are curious and who care about the world and its people. It empowers people to know and believe that their voice is valid, but that silence is important sometimes too. It challenges people to challenge themselves–to stretch who they are, what they know, what they feel, and what they believe–in...
Teaching Visual and Linguistic Literacy at SAAM

Teaching Visual and Linguistic Literacy at SAAM

This summer, I am interning with the Education Department at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I am especially helping with a professional development program called Summer Institutes: Teaching the Humanities through Art. It is a weeklong program that seeks to provide teachers from around the country with the tools they need to incorporate art in their social studies and English/language arts classrooms. This program is interesting to me because it encourages both a visual and a linguistic literacy, emphasizing the parallels between the two. In my personal experience in academia, writing a good paper has been privileged above such skills as interpreting symbols in a photograph or analyzing materials and texture in a sculpture. Oftentimes, a person’s intelligence or intellectual capability are judged by the words he or she can understand and the words with which he or she chooses to express him or herself. That’s just not fair, especially today, because though we are surrounded by words, we are also surrounded by visual stimuli. Whether you are viewing a political cartoon, a crime scene, or your friends’ facial expressions, knowing how to read the visuals surrounding you is just as important as knowing how to read the words. That’s why I like this Institute, I think. It teaches teachers how to incorporate and connect visual and linguistic literacies to reach out to a variety of learners and to empower students to be curious and thoughtful about the world around them in different ways. Have a great day. -Courtney Carter,...