By Zoe Levine
Hey everyone, I am Zoe Levine and I am currently going to be a junior this fall at Chatham University. This summer I have an amazing opportunity to be able to be a curatorial intern at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park through ACE CRDIP. I was very excited to go to Cornish, New Hampshire and be able to learn more about the history of the area and New England as a whole, since I grew up and live in Western Pennsylvania. I was also anticipating what daily work would be like at the park, especially within the curatorial division of the site. I love history and have always considered going into the National Park Service so this experience will really let me see what this type of career path may look like.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a sculptor, specializing in bronze pieces during the late 1800s into the early 1900s. He helped trigger the start of the Cornish Colony of artists when his family decided to move in the summers to Cornish from New York City. When he passed away, his widow, Augusta Saint-Gaudens, turned their summer home into a museum. Eventually this land was made into the National Historical Park. One of the main goals of the curatorial department at Saint-Gaudens is to preserve the art and history of Saint-Gaudens and the Cornish Colony.
I have already gotten to experience a lot during my first two weeks interning here, including learning how to clean and preserve a historic home, conduct inventory on museum collections, handle artifacts, and conduct cleaning and waxing on bronze reliefs and sculptures. One of my main goals for this summer was to learn and develop art preservation skills, specifically bronze preservation skills, so it has been exciting to see that already underway. I have also gotten the opportunity to meet with other history professionals in New Hampshire and Vermont and learn more about their careers.
I am anticipating seeing what else I will be able to experience this summer here at Saint-Gaudens. I have some other goals including developing social media skills that help highlight history and historical education, and working on exhibit development. I am enjoying working with the other people in the curatorial department and learning from them.
To me, it is so critical to preserve history and art in order to educate others about it and compare it to how we live and what we are experiencing in current times. I really believe that the National Park Service, especially at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park has the same beliefs in regard to public historical education surrounding art. I cannot wait to see what else the next 8 weeks have in store for me.