Madi Becker, English, BMC ’21

Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar (Prof. Scott)

Faculty Adviser: Monique Scott

Field site: The Rosenbach Museum & Research Library

Field Supervisor: Jobi Zink

Fieldwork Description:

For my Praxis, I worked as the Collections Intern at The Rosenbach Museum & Research Library in downtown Philadelphia. Although the experience was cut short because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was really valuable while it lasted. As an English major and a Museum Studies minor, my work at the Rosenbach allowed me to combine my two interests in a way that I had not been able to explore previously. Not only did I learn more about museum collections and management, but I also was able to continue expanding my knowledge of literature and experience it through the new context of book/manuscript production. During my time at my field site, I had two main responsibilities: the camera study and the shelf read. For the camera study, I observed the actions of visitors, logging their interactions with the main exhibit in Microsoft Excel for later analysis. For the shelf read, I worked with other members of the Collections Department to ensure that all the works in the museum’s collection were accounted for and in their correct storage location.

Overall, one of the most significant parts of my work was simply existing in the professional, office space of the organization. Although I had worked in a museum previously, prior to this experience I had never been so thoroughly integrated into a professional space. I learned a lot about the practical side of communication, including office dynamics, sending emails, and participating in meetings. In terms of my other learning objectives, I also learned a lot from working in an organization within Philadelphia. Seeing the different demographics of people that visited The Rosenbach, walking through the neighborhood the museum is located in, and participating in discussions about networking in the city gave me a greater understanding of what it is like to work in a metropolitan, public-facing organization.

Final Presentation:

The Rosenbach Museum Research Library

Please click here to access a PDF version of the presentation.

5 thoughts on “Madi Becker, English, BMC ’21

  1. Mira

    The Rosenbach sounds like a really interesting and unusual place based on the range on material it has in its collection and the types of exhibits it has. It’s super interesting that you got to participate in the camera study – that is definitely a unique experience among this cohort!

  2. Ceara Buzzell

    I’d never heard of the Rosenbach before this semester, and all that you showed us in your presentation made me want to visit it (whenever we are able to visit places again). Your insights on the camera study were fascinating, and a part of museums/exhibiting institutions that I had never really considered in an in depth way before. I’m sure it will be interesting to see how the data you compiled gets utilized!

  3. Rebecca Kelly-Bowditch

    It was so interesting getting to learn about the Rosenbach and your experiences there! As a book nerd, I definitely was jealous hearing about the shelf read. It must have been so much fun getting to go through and look at all the fascinating books in the collection! I can’t wait until I get back to Philly some day and can have the opportunity to visit.

  4. Mortimer Cavanah

    It was absolutely fascinating to hear about the Rosenbach and all of the work that you did for it. I really love the idea of combining an archive/library with a museum setting, so the Rosenbach was especially interesting to me. I’ve never been to the Rosenbach before (I honestly didn’t even know that it existed before this course) but now I’m determined to go and visit when I have the chance. I’m hoping to catch one of the literary exhibits that you were talking about, as they sound like they could be especially informative and fun.

  5. Judy Balthazar

    Madi, I am so glad you had this experience. I am particularly fascinated by the camera study. What a great idea!

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