Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

MuseumWorks Offers Students Rich Opportunities

July 27, 2018

2018 marks the fourth summer that the Middlebury College Museum of Art has run MuseumWorks, an intensive internship and professional development program for Middlebury students interested in pursuing careers in the cultural sector for the public good. Since its founding in 2015, MuseumWorks has helped 18 motivated Middlebury College undergraduates take their first steps toward successful and ethical careers in the arts. Their experience at Middlebury has helped MuseumWorks alumni go on to secure internships or paid positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Vermont Folklife Center, the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, Imhotep Vermont Design and Build Firm, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, MASS MoCA, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the National Parks Service, the Mariposa Foundation, and the Richard Avedon Foundation.

MuseumWorks is a collaboration between the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, the Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives, and the Middlebury College Center for Careers & Internships. Generous additional funding has been provided by Cookie Tager MA ’66 and members of Middlebury’s Visual Arts Council.

MuseumWorks 2018 Interns visit the Temple of Dendur
MuseumWorks 2018 Interns visit the Temple of Dendur at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Left to right: Elizabet Warfel ’19, Lyra Ding ’19, Laurel Margerum ’19, Samantha Horton ’20, Jessie Kuzmicki ’19, Sam Tompkins Martin ’19.

From June 11–August 3, six paid MuseumWorks interns are working under supervisors at four local cultural institutions this summer:
- Laurel Margerum ’19, Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History
- Jessie Kuzmicki ’19, Vermont Folklife Center
- Sam Tompkins Martin ’19, Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives
- Samantha Horton ’20, Middlebury College Museum of Art (Curatorial)
- Lyra Ding ’19, Middlebury College Museum of Art (Curatorial)
- Elizabeth Warfel ’19, Middlebury College Museum of Art (Education)

2018 MuseumWorks Education Intern Elizabeth Warfel
2018 MuseumWorks Education Intern Elizabeth Warfel ’19 engages a visiting student group in conversation during a visit to the Middlebury College Museum of Art.

In addition to contributing important work at their host institutions, the interns gather each Monday for an intensive professional development curriculum that includes an exhibition practicum, workshops, and field trips to engage in career conversations with seasoned professionals working across the field of cultural heritage.

2018 MuseumWorks interns enjoy an interactive science exhibit at the ECHO Leahy Center
2018 MuseumWorks interns enjoy an interactive science exhibit at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington.

This year’s MuseumWorks exhibition, which will be on display in Kirk Alumni Center starting in Fall 2018, tells a story of Middlebury College’s evolving student body. Working under the guidance of Middlebury College Archivist Danielle Rougeau and MCMA Curator of Education & Academic Programs Jason Vrooman ’03, the interns have delved into Middlebury’s vast archives. As the students work to distill thousands of images and documents into a cohesive exhibition narrative, they have engaged in meaningful conversations about links between Middlebury’s past, present, and potential future with David Bain (author of The College on the Hill: A Brower’s History of the Bicentennial, Middlebury College 1800–2000), David Stameshkin (author of The Town’s College: Middlebury College, 1800–1915 and The Strength of the Hills: Middlebury College, 1915–1990) and Jennifer Herrera Condry (Associate Director of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, Middlebury College’s Intercultural Center). In addition to highlighting a wealth of archival research, the exhibition will feature two original murals created for this project by renowned artist, educator, and community organizer Will Kasso.

2018 MuseumWorks interns prepare their exhibition
Middlebury College Archivisit Danielle Rougeau leads a graphic design workshop as 2018 MuseumWorks interns prepare their exhibition.
2018 MuseumWorks interns prepare their exhibition
Middlebury College Museum of Art Designer Ken Pohlman leads an exhibition design workshop as the 2018 MuseumWorks interns prepare their exhibition.

Professional development workshops have included career building with Alicia Gomez, Assistant Director for Career Advising at Middlebury’s Center for Careers Internships; exhibition design with Ken Pohlman, Designer at the Middlebury College Museum of Art; graphic design with Danielle Rougeau, Middlebury College Archivist; and grant writing with Chuck Mason, Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs at Middlebury College.

Vrooman and MCMA Coordinator of Events and Programs Mikki Lane have likewise led field trips to visit a wide range of cultural institutions, where the students engage in career conversations with seasoned professionals working across the field, including directors, curators, educators, accessibility officers, registrars, fundraisers, conservators, foundation administrators, gallerists, auctioneers, archivists, and folklorists. This summer’s roster of guests features a wealth of local and regional wisdom:
- Richard Saunders (Director), Meg Wallace (Registrar), and Chris Murray (Preparator) of the Middlebury College Museum of Art
- John Killacky (Executive Director) and Kat Redniss (Accessibility Coordinator) of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
- Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice President of the World Monuments Fund
- Shannon Darrough, Director of Digital Media at the Museum of Modern Art
- Alix Bickson, Photography Sales Coordinator at Christie’s
- Anni Mackay, Founder and Director of BigTown Gallery
- William F. Brooks, Jr. (Executive Director), Mary Manley (Associate Director), Eva Garcelon-Hart (Research Center Archivist), and Ava Freeman (Collections Specialist) of the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History
- Kory Rogers, Head Curator of the Shelburne Museum
- Tom Woodward, Chief Advancement Officer of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
- Tom Branchick, Director of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center
- Emily Ross, Public Engagement Coordinator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)
- Nina Pelaez, Associate Curator of Public Programs and Interpretation at the Williams College Museum of Art
- Danielle Steinmann, Director of Visitor Interpretation at the Trustees of Reservations
- Jamie Franklin, Curator of Collections at the Bennington Museum
- Ned Castle, Gallery Director and Media Producer at the Vermont Folklife Center

Other visits this summer include: ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain; Marianne Boesky Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, and other contemporary art galleries in New York’s Chelsea district; American Museum of Natural History; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Park Avenue Armory; Frick Collection; Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum; Guggenheim Museum; Storm King Art Center; Morris Frelinghuysen House and Studio; Hancock Shaker Village; and Tanglewood.

Will Kasso discusses his work in the Anderson Freeman Resource Center
Renowned mural artist, educator, and community organizer Will Kasso discusses his work in the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, as he prepares to contribute two murals to the 2018 MuseumWorks exhibition.

The MuseumWorks program continues to give students a rich opportunity to think broadly about the important role that museums, libraries, and archives play in our society, even as these interns develop professional connections and concrete skills that will help them step into this dynamic professional world after graduation.

2018 MuseumWorks interns with Anni Mackay, Founder and Director of BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont
Anni Mackay, Founder and Director of BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, introduces the 2018 MuseumWorks interns to Hyper Flora, an exhibition of work by JoAnne Carson.

Praise for MuseumWorks from past participants:

“What I loved about my internship was the ‘completeness’ of the learning experience. Although academically I am following a concentration in Art History and Museum Studies, I was uncertain of the specific career paths available in the domain. Following the MuseumWorks program, however, I have a clearer view of what I would like to do or not do in the future. I was exposed within my internship context and outside along with the MuseumWorks group to the variety of positions and jobs in the field. Curatorial work is very appealing to me, and after July I realized that what I loved about it was the necessity of practical creativity and academic formality. Finally, I appreciated the responsibly and trust that the team had toward me and my work, as well as the constant encouraging and friendly atmosphere in my internship placement and among all MuseumWorks interns.”
–2016 MuseumWorks participant

“Every part of the program, from my internship placement, to the exciting task of curating an exhibition, to the visits to museums in Vermont, the Berkshires and New York City, taught me a lot and challenged me in interesting ways. I also learned ways in which I could apply my architecture skills in the museum world (as exhibition designer, for instance), which opened a whole new array of career options. MuseumWorks was a wonderful experience.”
–2016 MuseumWorks participant

“My internship experience working at the Middlebury College Museum of Art was nothing short of transformative. I enjoyed working directly with people in a collaborative environment, and was drawn toward the enduring goal of the internship: to foster education in and through the arts. The MuseumWorks program offered this collaborative environment and communal goal, while even further providing a multiplicity of educational opportunities.”
–2016 MuseumWorks participant

“MuseumWorks offered me an opportunity to see how museums as institutions work with the public, whether students, children, or adults, in fostering an environment that is both visually appealing and educational. As I am interested in increasing the accessibility of the art world, I found it very valuable to view the inner workings of museums that are established and important within the American artistic imaginary.”
–2015 MuseumWorks participant

“MuseumWorks provided the perfect opportunity for a hands-on experience with the museum world and made the possibility of working for a fine arts museum much more attainable.”
–2015 MuseumWorks participant

“I think I speak on behalf of all of the interns when I say that MuseumWorks was a profoundly beneficial experience as we move forward in our careers as students and as young professionals in the working world. In MuseumWorks, every day was a cooperative experience, and thus a lesson for real-world work dynamics. It was an invaluable experience in every aspect and, as a student, I am so appreciative to have been given such an incredible opportunity before I even graduate. I will be sure to recommend it to peers at Middlebury for years to come.”
–2015 MuseumWorks participant

“MuseumWorks was a great benefit to me intellectually, for career prospects, and as an experience that was greatly enjoyable in itself. Each week we would gain professional skills, through workshops with Middlebury staff, or by meeting people in different roles in the museum world, from a wide range of institutions. The program exposed us to all of the work that goes into a museum and helped us to see where specifically our interests might lie. We were also given the incredible blessing of the resources, space, and time to curate our own exhibition as a team of interns. This was an unforgettable experience, and it was so meaningful to go to the exhibition opening and see all of the people who came to witness our work. This is seriously a rare and significant experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
–2015 MuseumWorks participant

“As a summer program, MuseumWorks is essential to the educational and professional development of Middlebury College students interested in pursuing careers in museum-related fields. MuseumWorks enables students to explore their professional interest in a way that cannot be accomplished in the classroom. Students gain real world experience by working with talented professionals throughout the Middlebury and greater Vermont community. I believe the time I spent in this program was the period of my greatest personal and professional growth while at Middlebury.”
–2015 MuseumWorks participant

“This is definitely not the last time I will be involved in the museum world. This internship has sparked my interest in learning more about museums. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity.”
–2017 MuseumWorks participant