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Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Wednesday-Friday
10 a.m.–5 p.m.

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and Zinnia Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

The Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Wednesday-Friday
10 a.m.–5 p.m.

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and Zinnia Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

The Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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August 6, 2020

Summer 2020 Chrysler Museum Interns

Every summer, the Chrysler Museum welcomes enthusiastic and motivated college students and recent graduates to gain valuable experience working in the museum field. This summer was different in many ways, but it was consistent in giving insight into the working life of a museum professional. The future museum colleagues discovered what it means to be flexible and find a sense of accomplishment in rising to the challenge of unpredictable circumstances.

We are proud of our six interns, who range in education from a rising freshman to a recent graduate, for their ability to make meaningful contributions to the Human Resources, Curatorial, Administration, and Education departments. For eight weeks, they worked closely with Chrysler staff on several projects. Learn more as our interns share their summer experiences.

Michelle Mandarino, ArtTable Curatorial Fellow

I’ve always been passionate about the museum world; early in my academic career, I began focusing specifically on the curatorial field. On the surface, it seemed that being a curator would combine all of my interests—art, writing, research, travel, and foreign languages— and yield the perfect balance between creativity and academia. I always liked the idea of being able to make art, something that I find so meaningful and powerful, accessible to the public. Currently, I am pursuing a graduate degree in Art History at Indiana University, where my focus is Baroque seventeenth-century painting in Italy and visual exchange with Spain and Latin America.

As an ArtTable Curatorial Fellow, I worked with Kimberli Gant, PhD, the McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, on an upcoming gallery rotation entitled Journeys Across the Border, a thematic exploration on the cultural exchange between the U.S. and Mexico in the early twentieth century. It’s a project I’m really excited about, not only because of the amazing artists I’ve gotten to do research on but because I feel that we are living in a pivotal moment and that it is now more important than ever to push forward with showcasing a diverse range of artists to more accurately reflect our diverse audience.

This gallery rotation slated for early 2021 will feature artworks from the Chrysler’s permanent collection, including some recent acquisitions and objects from local institutions and collectors. The project will showcase artists who were at the center of a monumental artistic moment. Following the end of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, economic and social reform in Mexico brought with it a new generation of artists whose work emphasized the history, culture, and accomplishments of the Mexican people. This period has since been described as the “greatest Renaissance in the contemporary world.” Black artists from the United States were especially attracted to this sudden socioeconomic boom as well as the cultural shift it foregrounded. Public spaces in Mexico were adorned with state-sponsored mural projects which influenced contemporary artists across the border. Likewise, after state sponsorship of artists in Mexico began to decline, these artists often sought patronage in the United States.

It’s no secret that the canon of art history, and subsequently the institutional priorities and collections of many art museums in the country, have historically reflected the visual traditions of a West that is often white, male, and of upper socioeconomic class. This tendency is one that permeates not only the museum field but the academic field as well; introductory courses in art history are often undeniably Eurocentric while non-Western art history courses are relegated to elective options.

For all the progressive efforts being made in the museum world, there are still many more that need to be taken. I can think back to only a few years ago when I was asked by an older docent in a professional setting with several museum staff where I was from? The implication there was clear, not only to me, but to the other students in attendance, and made me feel othered and out-of-place. The disappointing reality is that incidents like these happen every day and serve to reinforce the importance of representation in both museum staffing and in museum collections.

I don’t consider myself exempt from this system either. As a graduate student in art history whose primary research interest is seventeenth-century Italy, I often find myself asking: am I complicit in upholding a system that is at best, dated, and, at worst, actively suppressing the voices of minoritized groups? This is something I grapple with as I continue to move forward in my academic and professional pursuits.

Ultimately, this conversation is bigger than one historical moment. As a graduate student hoping to enter the curatorial field one day, I consider my role in promoting the diversity, accessibility, and inclusion of the museum field to be of greater importance. To say the museum field still lacks diversity is an understatement. While efforts in recent years have pushed for greater representation both in collections and staff, we still have a long way to go. Museum professionals are still overwhelmingly white, with BIPOC representing a disproportionately small fraction of the workforce.

Exhibitions featuring Latinx and Hispanic artists have accounted for only about 5.5% of museum exhibitions across the country, with similarly low numbers for shows dedicated to Black, Asian, and Indigenous artists.[1] This is indicative not of an isolated issue but a systemic one that cannot be dismantled without a conscious acknowledgment of the current state of the field. Only a relatively few number of museums have a dedicated department of Latin American Art. In most, it can be found among departments of Modern and Contemporary Art, Arts of the Americas, and Indigenous Arts.

Even then, these collections are often skewed toward the historical, presenting an incomplete picture of the artistic tradition of Latin American artists that does not fully encompass the art of the last 500 years. Instead of presenting what could be a continuous narrative, the colonial presence of Spain is often prioritized as a defining factor in the understanding of these histories, thus unevenly distributing agency away from an already-minoritized people. In addition to shortcomings in racial and ethnic diversity, the museum field and its collections are also heavily skewed male. As such, Kimberli and I made dedicated efforts to promote Mexican and U.S. female artists when finalizing the checklist for Journey’s Across the Border.

Latinx and Hispanic Americans make up the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, and the demographics continue to grow. In particular, the South has seen the largest increase in population, which makes the Chrysler’s gallery rotation project that much more important. Furthermore, Latinx artists have often fallen into a liminal space in which they are often not included in the recently growing interest on the part of institutions on artists from Latin America, nor are they conventionally considered as American.[2] No doubt, this is only one of the many consequences of the fact that the U. S. has misappropriated the word “American” as its demonym, thus erasing the lived experience of the people of Central and South America who rightfully use the word to refer to anyone from the Americas. Unfortunately, as I doubt the term “United Statesian” will be catching on anytime soon in the English language – or perhaps, as Frank Lloyd Wright once suggested, “Usonian” – this is an issue we will undoubtedly continue to grapple with for years to come.

The idea that Hispanic and Latinx artists are inadvertently caught in a sort of categorical liminal space is one that doesn’t surprise me, and that is probably familiar for those communities living the U.S— in particular, those like myself who are also first-generation Americans and don’t fit neatly into one category or the other. If anything, this represents the importance of showcasing these artists in our institutions; as much as we say that representation matters, if we are not putting in the effort to represent these voices fully, then we have failed.

Museums have a duty to be advocates and to have these difficult conversations. For these reasons and many more, I am excited and humbled to be working on what I hope is just the first step of many in the direction of change and progress. It is my hope that in the years to come, we begin to see more and more institutions turning their attention to more Hispanic and Latinx artists, and for that matter, more BIPOC artists as a whole.

While I think it’s very easy to become discouraged, hopeless, or worse, even complacent in the face of structural injustice, I also think there’s space for hope. While I am still very much in the beginning of my museum career, experiences such as this fellowship have given me the opportunity not only to connect myself with like-minded professionals in the curatorial field but also to promote change in the small ways that I can.

Throughout the summer, I have been able to advocate for the increased acquisition of Latinx, Hispanic, and Latin American modern and contemporary artists, some of which were chosen specifically for their involvement in the early twentieth-century cultural exchange between artists in Mexico and in the United States. Long after the end of my fellowship at the Chrysler, these works will continue to speak for themselves and serve as a reminder of the progress we have made and all that which is left to make. The beauty of art is that it persists. Long after curators have left and artists have passed, art continues to persist. In the years to come, I hope to continue these efforts and advocate for the representation of minoritized groups in both museum collections and staff, as well as champion measures of accessibility to serve our diverse audience further. I am grateful for the two months I worked with Kimberli Gant at the Chrysler Museum of Art, and I am confident that this is an experience that will continue to shape my academic and professional pursuits.

[1] https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/u-s-museums-exhibitions-diversity-survey-13065/

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/24/arts/latinx-museums-artists.html

Nosa Lawani, Research Intern

This summer, I was looking for a way to channel my studied interest in the Humanities into something that would not only nourish my interest in art but would also directly engage with my home community of Hampton Roads. This was especially important as COVID-19 prompted my longest stay at home in Virginia Beach in a while. I just graduated with a Classical diploma from Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire, and will matriculate to Harvard in the fall. The Chrysler and its staff welcomed me and worked exceedingly above my expectations to help me achieve my goals.

Elise Duncan, Assistant to the Director, served as my guide and warned me on my first day of the uniquely independent nature of the research internship—the experience would be whatever I made of it. My strong background in the world and art of the Greeks and Romans paired well with the director’s main academic research interest: Renaissance art of Sicily. As background for his most recent work with Renaissance humanist Pietro Bembo’s De Aetna, he put me to work in familiar territory—assembling antiquity’s mentions of Sicily’s Mount Etna, the world’s most active volcano.

Moving from my spring term reading of Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura to these even more specific ancient reckonings with natural and scientific phenomena, I was immediately excited to take on this project; however, I grew a little worried that rather than broadening my scope I was delving deeper into familiar territory. In retrospect, my ultimate course of study—placing the ancient as the first of many representations of the same location over time—gave new meaning to the privilege of having access to the record of beautiful, authentic voices that are nearly 2,500 years old and could capture the spirit of a place before the first ruins were even vowed.

Pindar’s first Pythian Ode of 470BC struck me as the most complete of these ancient images. While the Olympian gods rejoice to the music of time, Typhon, Zeus’s cosmic enemy, roars forever against it—an evil presence not even fully quenched by being buried under Mt. Etna. Though the smoke and unapproachable fire still manifests itself in our world, Pindar ends his description of the mountain on a positive note, even foreshadowing the root of nearly all Sicily’s later fame, calling it “the brow of a fruitful land.” In Etna’s admittedly frightful disharmony, Pindar suggests the music of time plays on only the more richly.

After this first assignment, my next major task took me much more directly and practically into the world of museum art. As I compiled paintings and photographs depicting Sicily from major American and international museums, I became familiar with various themes among subject and artists on the island and how they interacted and evolved with the larger artistic trends in European Art. Individually combing for each image, I became even more familiar with museum databases. One of the constant features of my experience at the Chrysler, however, was that these individual lessons were supplemented with free information from the generous professionals in every department of the Museum. I learned, both informally and during organized sessions with the members of different departments, about the how, why, and process of operations.

William Stanley Haseltine (American, 1835–1900), View of Taormina, 1871 Oil on canvas, Museum purchase in honor of Mary Lou Nexsen and her 41 years of dedicated service to the Chrysler Museum of Art, 2018.36

Still continuing the art survey and other readings, I settled upon the principal subject of my work for the rest of my time at the Chrysler: William Stanley Haseltine’s View of Taormina (1871) in the collection and currently on view. This part of the project introduced me to the Chrysler’s impressive library, which holds a copy of the artist’s affectionately detailed biography written by his daughter. The book formed the core of my research.

Haseltine’s life has many parallels with mine; raised in a strongly Christian, traditional, and privileged home, he matriculated to Harvard in 1852. He studied drawing in Germany but fell in love with Rome; his daughter’s recollection of cold, sunny Roman days and the imposing sight of Mt. Soracte in the countryside brought me, 200 years of separation, back to the winter term I spent in Italy my junior year. Unlike me, however, Haseltine endured much tragedy in his adult life: the loss of his first wife and eldest, infant son, and then later his next oldest, a promising seventeen-year-old. His tragedies, unlike some of the other artists I encountered in my research this term, were marked by an energized equanimity. Throughout the losses, his daughter noted him as a stable source of joy to the grieving family, in continued service to his community, and, in each case, more devoted to his traveling and art.

Artistically, modern scholars pay particular attention to Haseltine’s philosophy of nature and its interaction with the then emergent, scientific knowledge of the Earth’s geological processes. A Harvard student at the peak of the century’s geological excitement and, through his life, a well-read man, Haseltine would likely be studied in this movement, which saw the emerging knowledge of Earth’s processes as “deciphering nature’s innermost workings and uncovering truths of God in nature.”

The beauty of his New England beaches, which I visited occasionally and memorably during my four years away, become, in this reading of his paintings, a testament to the reality of a divine order. The charm of Haseltine’s paintings of Mount Desert’s diverse sunlit rocks testify to the various laws that produce each rock’s unique “spirit.” The nostalgic joy or simple majesty in the broad stones of his Nahant paintings is the gift of the mystery represented in their fiery birth and then their ever-gradual smoothening in the newly discovered phenomenon of the glacial ice age. Haseltine would remark of his subjects, “Everything in nature is worth painting, provided one has discovered the meaning of it.”

Critically distinguished for rock-formations as well as sea-coloring, Haseltine’s preferred composition was one in which the processes of time revealed in atmosphere and land were accompanied by an always living sea. This is certainly the case in the Chrysler’s Taormina; the view of the geological wonder of Etna was a favorite subject of his, one of which premiered at his world exhibition. Unlike Haseltine’s other work, however, his Taorminas tend towards the human and monumental in their depiction of an ancient ruin. Here, I don’t see a departure from the previous renderings. Instead, there is the addition of a new eternal law akin to that of which Pindar sang in his allegory of Typhon, which he, later in the poem, relates to the contemporary wars and power struggles of Sicily’s first civilized age. In his eyes, all that suffering is being danced to by the gods, orchestrating all the ultimately beautiful music.

Haseltine’s visual meditation on Etna and its environs synthesizes and comments on the actual results of Pindar’s prophesied struggle: the piece’s central conflict is the play of the light in the ruins, a momentary snapshot of a struggle more fully related in the carefully detailed greenery creeping onto the structures. Behind the humbled past, the same light exposes both the unassuming present of continued human activity and the imposing stability of the eternal instability within the mountain, all of which is juxtaposed against the subtly-colored strands of the same, unchanging, and inexplicably beautiful sea that Pindar would have seen. The unity and beauty in the composite image represent faith in the overall beauty of Etna’s world. Despite the violence of light, nature, and history, each conflicting element is governed by a rational, good, and tantalizingly knowable whole.

It is this hope that, despite differences of media, knowledge, and 2,000 years, unites Haseltine’s and Pindar’s gaze at the smoking mountain. It is likely this hope that engendered Haseltine’s marked perseverance within the vicissitudes of his own life. Despite his losses, he was survived by his daughter Helen, who devoted her life to the establishment of her father’s rich legacy; his son Herbert, who continued his artistic spirit as a celebrated sculptor; and his daughter Princess Rospigliosi, who married to an Italian noble family chiefly distinguished by their ancestor, Pope Clement IX. He commissioned and worked directly with Poussin to plan the famed Dance to the Music of Time.

It is this same hope, likely, that drove his generous philanthropy as a founding father of the American Academy at Rome, without which my trip to Italy may not have been possible. I believe this same hope drove the Chrysler Museum to discover so much beauty in the continuation of their mission despite the chaos that COVID-19 thrust upon us. The Museum gave me the attention and consideration required to have a broad and meaningful first experience with the world of art. Even more importantly, the Chrysler gifted me with a real, selfless gratitude for the mission of art by proving their own their faith in it. The director’s intentional and genuine attempt to give life and show respect in the immediate post-closure environment, the Chrysler’s continued service to their members of all levels, the Museum’s care in continued planning for their community, and the virtual continuity of their programs that share art to the young and underserved communities operate in concert to push the Chrysler forward.

Having gleaned so much truth in the nature, role, and mission of art, I have the opportunity to share a short presentation alongside Erik Neil on Haseltine’s life and Taormina for the Masterpiece Society’s virtual Art, Wine, & Tapas event on August 27. From here on, I now have a new medium, new perspective, and knowledge of a new world—the museum world—through which I know it is very possible to make this hope real.

 

Katie O’Brien, Curatorial Intern

There are many works by Picasso that once held a place in Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.’s collection. This summer, I set out to discover those works. As a curatorial intern, I was tasked with finding the titles, a photo for each, the provenance, and where the works are located now. This was difficult at times because Picasso created many works under the same title, medium, and dimensions; tracking down each piece wasn’t always easy. Although Chrysler is quoted as saying he held at least 340 Picasso pieces, there is no definitive or proven number of how many he owned as he did not keep notes.

I really enjoyed this project because I got to use the skills I already have and learn new ones. I also learned a lot about who Picasso and Chrysler were, and I have much more knowledge now on the diverse styles that Picasso used other than cubism. I was also unaware until this project that he created more than just paintings; he worked with ceramics as well. The highlight of my internship was when I got to go in art storage and hold Study of a Standing Nude, a sketch by Picasso that is in the Chrysler’s collection . I have never been able to go behind the scenes at a museum or be that close to a piece by such an incredible artist, so this was a really surreal and overwhelming experience. My other projects included looking at Native American woven objects in the collection, such as baskets or rugs, to see if they are properly identified. Second looks at objects every now and then help the Chrysler make sure each object on view has proper labels and descriptions.

My internship at the Chrysler was rewarding in so many ways. I gained experience in how to be professional and how to communicate with people in the art world. I also got insight into other departments at the Museum. Although much of the internship was virtual, the Chrysler staff tried their best to make the experience worthwhile. I’m grateful that technology allows internships and job opportunities to be possible. I am a recent college graduate, so this experience of working from home was really valuable as it is a skill that I may need one day.

Michelle Zillioux, Education Intern

I’ve aspired to intern at the Chrysler Museum ever since I decided to study art history and pursue a museum career. This summer, I achieved that goal with a position in the Chrysler Museum’s education department. During my time with the Chrysler, I worked on several research and writing projects that will impact the Museum and those that the Museum wishes to reach.

One of my favorite assignments was creating an educational document for Let’s Talk About It, a program meant to help educators facilitate tough discussions using of art. I curated a massive document of works down to about eighty pieces related to difficult topics such as African American experiences and economic disenfranchisement. I then wrote summaries for each piece to provide background information and guide discussion. While in school, I often focus my studies on social issues, so this project was a great fit for my previous skills and knowledge and allowed me to learn about the Chrysler’s collection and think like an educator.

Proper education is an agent of social change, and art is an extension of this. Artwork is often an expression of its social context, and thus an important part of understanding the world it came from. Therefore, the opportunity to write a document that facilitates discussions on social issues was an opportunity for me to influence social change. That’s one of the most important things to me as an aspiring educator.

Last spring when I applied to intern in the Chrysler’s education department, I anticipated daily commutes to Norfolk and a chance to see the ins and outs of the museum I often visited as a high schooler. At first, I worried about completing an internship virtually. By the end of the first week, I knew I had worried for nothing. The camaraderie and engagement of the Chrysler Museum staff is above and beyond anything I have ever experienced in a work environment. Even through my computer screen during weekly meetings, I felt as though I was connecting with Museum staff and my fellow interns in important ways. Museum staff members invited interns to weekly meetings and events and solicited our knowledge on projects as though we were equals. Our opinions and thoughts were valued and encouraged, and my supervisors were excellent at communicating my progress and what was expected of me. I was able to learn firsthand how important it is to a cultural institution’s functionality for the staff to be so engaging with one another and with the public.

Amongst the uncertainty of the pandemic, the Chrysler’s internship program gave me regularity and an opportunity to continue learning and growing. The Museum’s support has provided an excellent introduction to the world of museum work and makes me extremely excited to continue pursuing a career in this field.

 

Gabrielle Gallier, Education Intern

When I imagined what summer 2020 would be like, I thought I would spend busy days volunteering and interning in the museum world. I am majoring in Art History, Historic Preservation and minoring in Museum Studies at the University of Mary Washington. In March, my junior year on campus was cut short due to the pandemic, and my plans for an eventful summer faded. As organizations canceled their summer programs, I was excited to land an internship at the Chrysler Museum.

At the start of the internship, I was nervous. My interest is in collections management; however, the education department invited me to join their team. Although I never considered working in a museum’s education department, I was excited to accept the internship.  Learning theories and writing lesson plans in a museum education class at school did not spark my interest. However, the Chrysler staff taught me that museum educators also create programming. This summer, I assisted with Trivia Night, the Arts and Literacy Program for Tickle My Ears, and efforts to connect with people in Norfolk who may be at-risk and not ready to visit the Museum in-person.

The Chrysler will present its first virtual Trivia Night in August to allow art enthusiasts to get together for an entertaining evening without leaving home. I had the privilege of creating fun questions about objects in the Chrysler’s collection and other popular artworks. I developed the questions, ensuring that anyone would have a fun time regardless of their educational background. While assisting with the Arts and Literacy Program for Tickle My Ears, I focused on the “why.” I used scholarly articles to discover how looking at art is effective for children.  I also provided book suggestions for the monthly program, recommending picture books that promote themes of self-worth and diversity. Finally, I focused my efforts on connecting with the at-risk community of Norfolk. Although there are many safety precautions in place at the Museum, there is still a large portion of our community that is not yet able or comfortable with visiting a cultural arts institution like the Chrysler. I was tasked with researching ways to reach and engage that audience and was happy to share my preliminary findings with the education team.

While my internship was entirely virtual, the experiences were not limited. I learned about the education department’s role in a museum and discovered the roles of other departments as well. Each week, the interns met via Zoom to discuss our projects as well as articles addressing museums and cultural institutions and what they are doing now. We also attended informative presentations from the different museum departments. The entirety of the Museum was accessible to us even though we were interning for a specific department. We were also able to sit in on weekly staff meetings and a board meeting, which gave insight into how a cultural institution like the Chrysler operates during a pandemic.

My favorite meeting was a planning meeting for the upcoming exhibition Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful. This exhibition is a year away and there is already so much communication going on in preparation for this show. Seeing how departments must work together to create a cohesive presentation was so eye-opening. All the conversations that I had the opportunity to sit in on have excited me and further pushed me along the path of museum work. I am glad to have had this experience, even if it was during a pandemic and through Zoom conferences.

This internship has given me the opportunity to dive deeper into the museum world and has proven that I have selected the right career path. While my internship was based in education, my dream career is to be in collections management in the registrar’s office. After graduation, I plan to work in a museum before starting a master’s program. While there is much to learn in the classroom, internships offer hands-on experience. Interning at the Chrysler taught me about the professional atmosphere of a museum and camaraderie of coworkers. I truly value the experience at the Chrysler, and I would advise anyone looking for a museum internship to apply. There is so much you can be a part of and learn from at the Chrysler.

 

Laura Philion, Human Resources Intern

I am a rising junior at Sarah Lawrence College. Although my academic focus is on art history and writing, I decided to spend this summer cultivating a new museum experience: working in human resources. As a patron of the Chrysler Museum, I have seen and appreciated the very visible work of the curatorial, custodial, and security staffs. Human Resources is integral to the support of its workforce — the people who make the Chrysler happen.

My biggest project as an HR intern this summer was to engage with diversity, equity, and inclusion at a meaningful level by identifying challenges the Museum faces in these areas and creating an outline for a mentorship program that would address these hurdles. Many museums have demonstrable trouble with recruiting and retaining underrepresented groups within their staffs. Augmenting the Chrysler’s existing recruiting practices with mentorship programs is a first step toward repairing that gap.

I began by crafting a proposal for a mentorship program run by the Museum, connecting Museum staff with college students at historically Black colleges and universities in Hampton Roads. The semester-long program would include weekly meetings to discuss career goals, coach participants as they create resumes, and meet other professionals in the field.

There are admittedly many challenges that arise with this proposal. Asking already thinly spread Museum staff to take on a college mentee is difficult, and it is no question that museums across the nation hardly have vast resources to expend. However, the benefits are innumerable. The mentorship program would provide support for students of color, engage them purposefully in museum practices and work, and show staff and patrons alike that it is not only the museum’s collections that should be looked at with a critical eye toward diversity and equity. Including Black interns, curators, managers, experts, and educators in the offices is just as important to museum survival as including Black artists on gallery walls.

Already, the Museum has made public statements of support for movements like Black Lives Matter as well as initiatives relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has also been reflected in recent acquisitions such as Sonya Clark’s Octoroon, which explores the sociopolitical status of Black women, as well as in earlier acquisitions like Kehinde Wiley’s St. Andrew. An initiative such as a mentorship program for students at local HBCUs would pair nicely with the Chrysler’s commitment to diversity.

Because I attend school in the New York Metro area, my initial focus for summer opportunities was concentrated there. When I returned home to Norfolk mid-semester because of the pandemic, I decided looking locally made more sense. The Chrysler was the perfect option, and I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity.

 

John M. Taranovich II, Education Intern

As an adjunct instructor for the Visual Arts Department at the Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) in Norfolk, I had previously been involved in a few programs with the Chrysler. I applied for an internship at the Museum to further explore the Museum’s education department. I knew that it would enrich my career and provide an enormous growth opportunity. I have taught certain disciplines at the GSA, but I aspire to teach a general Visual Arts curriculum for K-12. This internship allowed me to develop workshops and teach at an elementary school level. This was a fantastic way to gain more experience as an instructor, as I have only taught middle school and high school previously. The way that grade-school students learn is vastly different from what I am used to.

Working with the education department on the summer camp program was extremely hands-on. For me, it was a guided study on how to instruct a younger artist and how to tie in artworks from the Museum’s collection while providing a fun learning environment. This year was particularly challenging as the campers attended virtually. Watching the education staff pivot to this type of instruction and still provide (virtually) the same experience for the children was a huge benefit for my career growth. It taught me how to be flexible while still providing an all-encompassing program. In the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, I taught my GSA students virtually, and I know firsthand what a challenge it can be. The Museum did it flawlessly. Having witnessed their methods, I will surely provide my students with the same level of attention and engagement that the Museum has with this program.

During summer camp, I also taught a workshop about cyanotypes. This is a medium that I am very keen on; I produce a lot of cyanotypes at home and have thoroughly explored the alternative photographic process on my own time. However, teaching this concept to children forced me to think about the process differently. With the guidance of Cody Long, Museum Educator for School Programs, we provided kits with everything that the campers needed. Prior to the workshop, I had the opportunity to troubleshoot with the same materials that the young artists would use to anticipate any issues that may arise. Using the supplies first helped us to provide detailed instructions on how to produce a beautiful sun print. I really enjoyed sharing this process with a younger audience, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach a workshop on something that I also love to do. Seeing the summer camp program from concept to fruition was incredible.

This internship experience has truly made an impact on my growth as an educator. Watching the education department respond to the challenge of virtual learning has been incredibly beneficial. It has also been a privilege to see how the Museum and the different departments work together to serve our community. Having this experience has provided me with invaluable insights that will no doubt drive my future success.

From the Collection