The Cloisters Summer College Internship is a nine-week program for undergraduate students. Every summer, eight interns—selected from more than two hundred applicants—receive intensive training in museum education techniques at The Cloisters museum and gardens, where they conduct gallery workshops for five weeks with New York City day campers. (Learn more in the recent post "Summer Gallery Workshops at The Cloisters.")
This summer's interns are Allison Burns (Fordham University, 2016), Pablo Cerdera (Oberlin College, 2015), Kyra DeTone (Union College, 2016), Heather Lee (Amherst College, 2015), Marit Lhotzky (Augustana College, 2017), Isabella Masucci (Binghamton University, 2017), Emma Perloff (The George Washington University, 2016), and Andrew Smyth (Brown University, 2016).
The interns intensively research their talks while dividing their time between leading the gallery workshops for day camp groups and meeting with curators, educators, conservators, and other professionals throughout the Met's Main Building and The Cloisters. These include joint meetings with interns in the Main Building.
As part of learning about medieval art materials and techniques, interns at The Cloisters participate in workshops on fresco painting and illuminated manuscripts.
Just as medieval monks spent most of their time in prayer or in the cloister, Cloisters interns spend most of the summer in the museum galleries or in the library, where Associate Museum Librarian Michael Carter helps them find the sources they need to study the objects on their day-camp itineraries and in their special gallery talks.
The culmination of the internship is the special gallery talk series, in which the interns present the result of weeks of research on subjects of their choosing. Although the talks are scheduled for the last week of the program, preparations began the very first day, when interns began to explore the collection and get ideas for their topics. We encouraged the interns to pick talk titles that would be adaptable to different objects, as itineraries often change over the course of research. In regular meetings with both me and Museum Educator Nancy Wu, the interns received feedback and suggestions to help them put together a thoroughly researched talk with a coherent theme. Each year the interns come up with creative topics to explore, as illustrated by this year's selection:
Poverty and Wealth in the Middle Ages (Pablo Cerdera)
Uses and Representations of Water in the Middle Ages (Andrew Smyth)
Beholding the Miracle: Images of the Annunciation (Heather Lee)
Plants as Symbols and Decorative Elements in Medieval Art (Kyra DeTone)
Sumptuous Costumes: Expressions of Medieval Style (Allison Burns)
Objects and Bodies in Motion: Dynamic Medieval Art (Emma Perloff)
German Medieval Wood Sculpture (Marit Lhotzky)
Hell and Punishment in Medieval Art (Isabella Masucci)
The interns consulted with curators, conservators, and horticulturists at The Cloisters about the objects and plants they would later be discussing in their talks.
In mid-July, the interns began rehearsals in which fellow interns and Museum educators critiqued their talks to ensure that each final presentation would be engaging, informative, and polished.
Please join us at The Cloisters for special gallery talks by The Cloisters Summer College Interns, July 29 through August 1, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.