Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar (Prof. Scott)
Faculty Adviser: Monique Scott
Field site: The Rosenbach Museum & Research Library
Field Supervisor: Jobi Zink
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.