The author takes in Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware
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My Met Store Internship

A departing intern on discovering exhibitions, the puzzle of social media, and his favorite Met artworks

During the last two semesters, I interned at The Met’s merchandising department. While I’m not an art history expert, my role didn’t require this knowledge, and I found myself navigating my responsibilities comfortably with the fortune of having millennia of art right next door, offering me something new to check out with each visit to the galleries.

While it wasn’t my main goal for the internship, I think I did gain some familiarity with art and the Museum. Prior to this experience, for example, I don’t think I could have explained what an exhibition is. Now, that has changed: It’s a story told through objects in order to provide a glimpse into a past time and place. And this understanding has reminded me why museums and similar institutions are important—they are resources for everyone, for scholars, for curious children and adults, even for strolling locals who simply want to look at something new.  

The Hand of God. Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917). Marble; 29 × 23 3/4 × 25 1/4 in.; modeled ca. 1896–1902, carved ca. 1907. Gift of Edward D. Adams, 1908 (08.210)

 

As an intern involved in a retail organization, I witnessed how different departments are connected, all ultimately contributing to the same cause. In my role, I worked with social media, where I helped produce communications for The Met Store, giving me the chance to exercise some creativity within the framework of Instagram stories. Creating a structure to the layout of featured products and images  was a puzzle—and solving each one gave me a sense of accomplishment. 

Through frequent visits to the Museum and peering at objects, I could enjoy the Museum’s displays, like ancient false doors recreated in the Egyptian galleries. Some of my new favorite art pieces within the collection include Auguste Rodin’s The Hand of God, Margaret Nielson Armstrong’s studies from the Field Book of Western Flowers, and even pieces I’ve only seen virtually, such as A Still Life with Grapes.  

 

Left: Lilac Clematis (Atragene occidentalis). Margaret Neilson Armstrong (American, New York 1867–1944 New York). Watercolor and brown ink over graphite, with page design indicated in graphite, and details in ink; July 1909. Gift of Helena Bienstock, Cynthia MacKay Keegan and Frank E. Johnson, 2010 (2010.341.2[32]). Center: Still Life with Grapes. Carducius Plantagenet Ream (1838–1917). Oil on canvas. Gift of Peck Stacpoole Foundation, 1999 (1999.299.2). Right: Opuntia Basilaris . Margaret Neilson Armstrong. Watercolor and brown ink over graphite; May 1912. Gift of Helena Bienstock, Cynthia MacKay Keegan and Frank E. Johnson, 2010 (2010.341.2[23])

 

At the very beginning of the internship, before I even officially started, I was asked to explain a connection I had to a piece of art. This is something we do constantly, sometimes without even knowing it, as we encounter different media each day.

My experience at The Met was a wonderful backdrop for my growth as a professional.

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