By Madisyn Rostro
As my last week in New Hampshire is quickly ending I have soon begun to realize how fast I must come back to reality. That is the reality of finishing my education at Iowa State and continuing to gain other experiences at other places in the US as well. I have been very fortunate to travel across the country to chase my very own dreams. I am beyond grateful for taking this opportunity and being able to learn as much as I possibly can before I head home. While completing this internship I have made my decision that I want to continue to do internships around the US to gain more experience from different regions. I think that this is a vital piece in my career at least so that I may see what region I like better and what type of museum work that I like more as well. This internship has opened my eyes to more opportunities that I am willing to take and that I am willing to do. I want to get as much as experience as possible while I am an undergraduate and before I must enter the real world of looking for a job.
For a summary of what my last two weeks of this internship have been like. I must begin with how much I didn’t realize how much you spend cleaning in this job. Every day we start with our rounds of cleaning Aspet (the home of Augustus Saint-Gaudens) and then going around to the Little Studio, Shaw Memorial, Adams Memorial, carriage barn, New Gallery, Atrium, and ending at the Farragut Monument. On one of the nice days, we had begun to see how much dirt was collecting over at the temple. As we all headed down there and began to clean, we noticed that it was a lot warmer there than what we had originally noticed. Cleaning the temple is no easy task, just like cleaning any piece of sculpture that is a century old. We must first sprint some water onto the temple and then take bushes and clean off the bases. We even have these toothbrush looking brushes that work well for tight and tiny spaces. I took my time with that making sure to get all the gunk off the temple and so that it shines again.
Later that week we went to The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. There we got to meet almost the entire staff that works closely with the objects to people who educate others on certain topics. We also got to meet the people who help construct an exhibit or even help put it up on display. One golden gem that was there that we had to see was the Diana. The Diana is of a female nude that shows the face of Davida Johnson Clark, the model, mistress, and mother of Augustus Saint-Gaudens illegitimate son Luis (Novy). I had a fabulous time going to the Clark and being able to see so many beautiful
paintings about so many different topics that I had never seen before. I also like the feeling that you could spend hours in there and there would always be something else to look at. Even if you already saw every sculpture and painting then you go back a second time and take a deeper look at each piece and beginning to get a better sense of idea who these artists were and how they interpreted the world.
The next exciting thing that I did was going to Montreal, Quebec. I had been to Canada one other time and that was on my way to this internship. Zoe and I had decided to take a trip up there and to do a little sightseeing before we both headed back home. I had another great experience, although everything was in French and I don’t speak or understand any French I still managed to get around. It also helped that Zoe knows French and is getting a minor in it back at Chatham University. While we were there we decided to stop and see the Pointe-à-Callière Museum it is the history and archeology museum in Old Montreal. To my surprise, it was mostly about the history of Montreal. I found this museum very interesting because it talked about the first settlers that came to Montreal and how they interacted with the Native Americans and how it didn’t turn out the best way. It was also very fascinating to see the different time periods that were going on in Canada and Montreal through the time. Exploring the downtown of Montreal was also amazing to see. Old Montreal looked as if I was in the UK and looking up at these historic buildings. One of my favorite things was going to some of the restaurants/ Cafes and seeing what they had to eat that I had never had before. Even though I was terrible at pronouncing the French word I’m glad that they spoke English as well and could understand me for the most part. Lastly, Zoe and I went to the Botanical Gardens on our last day there in Canada. It is right across the street of the Olympic stadium that hasn’t been used since the 1970s when Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner was the star of the show. It was nice being able to see all the plants that are native to Canada and foreign as well. Some things that I wouldn’t see anywhere else, for example, like a Bonsai Tree. They are the very small trees that don’t look humanly possible nor do they look as old as they are. It was fun going there and being able to take pictures so that I can look back on this memory for years to come.
As my last week is quickly coming to an end, I have nothing but good things to say about my experience. I am beyond glad that I took this opportunity to come across the country to follow my dreams and to see if working in a historic area was right for me. I have found that it is right for me and that I am more than happy with the choices that have gotten me here and for the memories, I will leave this place with. I look forward to applying to more internships in the future and seeing what else they have to teach me. I feel that every day I learn something about working closely with the objects and even working with the curatorial team. I have grown to like the New England area as well and I would be more than happy to come back to this area in my future and to see how well it has aged and to take advantage of everything that I didn’t get to do the first time I was here.