Closer to Art Than Ever Before
Rosie Simon’s internship at the Berman Museum in Summer 2022.
In the summer of 2022, the Berman Museum extended a collections internship to Rosie Simon (she/her), a student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Originally from California, Simon is now in her fourth and final year studying Art History at St. Andrews, where she enjoys ballet and contemporary dance as well as working as a writer and editor for a student art collective.
Simon played an integral role in processing a large acquisition of Rennaissance Master prints during her internship at the Berman. As we undergo a database change to improve the digitization of the Berman collection, we reached out to thank her for all her hard work in the collections and to ask for her reflections on her time with us.
What interested you in pursuing a summer internship at the Berman Museum?
I have been interested in museum work for a long time! I love art and art history, and I think that they can provide such a unique perspective on the world and serve as a valuable educational tool. However, in my experience both fields tend to be seen as elitist and inaccessible.
Museums, especially ones like the Berman that make a concerted effort to move past these preconceptions with free admission and the presentation of diverse exhibitions, can play such an important role in bringing these disciplines into more people’s lives. I was so excited to be able to play a small part in that.
What projects did you get to work on at the Berman?
When I arrived at the Berman in early June, the staff was beginning to process several large acquisitions received while everyone was working from home during the pandemic. One of these gifts was a series of over ninety works on paper—mostly Renaissance prints—donated by the Czubaroff family.
I started by going through the appraisal documents for each work in the collection and digitizing all the information included to upload the important details to the collections database. Then I helped photograph and write condition reports for each piece. I was also able to help around the museum with some of the installation for the Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Andrea Modica exhibitions!
Looking back on the summer, what do you think your biggest takeaways were from the internship?
Though I was confident in my desire to do museum work before this summer, I really wasn’t sure what that would look like. Working at the Berman gave me a window into the museum world that was invaluable. I learned so much so quickly about the daily operations of a small museum and what working in collections can look like.
Beyond museums, I felt like spending time with the artworks was such a special experience and so different from looking at art in a classroom setting, or even as a museum visitor. This unique contact with the work often inspired me to research what I was looking at beyond what was required for my internship. I even developed new research techniques that I still find myself using in the process of writing my dissertation.
Can you share a little bit about your dissertation?
Sure! The final year dissertation here is a little bit like a master’s thesis in the States. I’m focusing on how fin-de-siecle images of the mythical temptress reflect men’s anxieties about women’s place in society and how women received and interpreted these tropes and images both as artists and consumers.
What stands out as the most rewarding moments of your time at the Berman?
It was amazing and so rewarding for me to be able to spend so much time close to art. No feeling compares to holding a print by an artist you’ve studied for years! Being able to tag each work and looking at the completed acquisitions spreadsheet alongside the photos, condition reports, and tagged works at the end of the summer was also extremely gratifying.
Most of all, it was amazing forming connections with all the staff at the Berman! They are all such wonderful people who were great mentors, and it was so rewarding being able to learn from them.
“No feeling compares to holding a print by an artist you’ve studied for years!”
Thank you so much for all your work on the Czurbaroff collection, Rosie! Your contribution to our collections goals was indispensable, and it was such a pleasure working with you. Good luck with your dissertation!