Summer 2023 Chrysler Museum Interns: Ally DelDonna
My name is Ally DelDonna and I am a third-year student at the University of Richmond. Majoring in history and Classical civilization, my love of culture and the Tidewater area drew me to the Chrysler Museum of Art. I am blessed to have both sides of my family in Virginia Beach which has allowed me to explore the area over the years. From climbing the historic Fort Story Lighthouse to taking pictures on the USS Wisconsin’s deck, I have fallen in love with the diverse and multi-layered history of Hampton Roads. The intriguing history of the Myers family, the witch trial of Grace Sherwood, and the initial adventures of the Virginia Company further add to the richness of Tidewater and continue to captivate me throughout my studies.
During my time at the Chrysler I have learned about the different moving parts that make the Museum an excellent institution. As an intern in the Public Engagement and Learning Department, I have had the pleasure of working with talented educators, leaders, and artists. A big part of my job has been helping organize kid-friendly tours, summer camps, hands-on projects, and managing events. Along with the help of my colleagues, Emily Shield and Kayla Barnes, I managed the monthly Pre-K Art Play and Tickle My Ears programs. During these events, we engage young audiences with a piece of art from the collection along with visual and audio learning tools. Children experience an interactive story and then a craft meant to activate their motor and visual art skills. Whether it was creating flower crowns or stained-glass raindrops, our young audience happily immersed themselves in their creations.
Although my position predominantly focused on working with children, I have had the opportunity to work with all age groups.
June was a month full of celebration as I was tasked with assisting the Chrysler’s Juneteenth and LGBTQ+ events. For “Freedom on Film: Juneteenth at the Chrysler Museum”, Kayla Barnes and I created decor such as paper floral arrangements to contribute to the celebratory mood of the night. Later on in the month, the education interns assisted in creating decorations for the LGBTQ+ pride event, “Rainbow Rodeo: HR Pride Night.” We painted pride-themed succulent pots, prepared pronoun sheriff stars, and glitter-fied 6ft cowboy silhouettes. All of our hard work paid off as the interns and staff members were able to enjoy the rodeo too!
The office was a bit quieter after Rainbow Rodeo yet even more exciting projects came my way. Throughout the summer months, I helped my colleagues Philip Pearcy and Emily Cayton with Camp Chrysler. This arts- based program encourages children to work with different art media reinforced with Museum tours throughout the Chrysler’s collection.
In addition to Camp Chrysler, the Public Engagement and Learning department had the opportunity to work with the Sheriff Joe Baron Foundation Summer Camp. Serving the children of Norfolk, this camp strives to provide children with fun and wholesome summer activities. The campers were taken on a specially curated tour, “Search for the Sea,” which focused on the depiction of water throughout the collection. Complementing their tour, campers were shown how to make their very own origami boats and paper dioramas.
Participating in these camps has allowed me to learn how to better engage with children of all ages. With the guidance of my colleagues, I have learned how to encourage kids to get excited about making and viewing art!
In addition, I had the opportunity to learn more about community relations by working with Michael Berlucchi, our Community and Government Relations Manager. By sitting in on Mr. Berlucchi’s News Channel 13 interview and working the Chrysler’s Legislative Reception I have learned the importance of community dialogues and civic engagement.
“Not only have I learned how the Museum operates, but I have also learned about the importance of Museum outreach and engagement. The Chrysler caters to all audiences, of all ages and has created a welcoming environment that I feel lucky to be a part of.”
My internship at the Chrysler Museum of Art has been a fruitful and overwhelmingly positive experience. Not only have I learned how the Museum operates, but I have also learned about the importance of Museum outreach and engagement. The Chrysler caters to all audiences, of all ages and has created a welcoming environment that I feel lucky to be a part of.
The highlight of my internship has been learning more about the City of Norfolk and working closely with my colleagues to create community events. I want to thank my colleagues Emily Shield, Ruth Sanchez, Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick, Emily Cayton, Philip Pearcy, Michael Berlucchi, and Liz Weir for being so welcoming during my internship. Throughout my time at the Chrysler, these individuals have taken the time to work with me and pass along their much-appreciated wisdom.
I want to especially thank my grandparents, Bill and Linda Brooks and Bob and Rosa DelDonna. My wonderful grandparents housed me throughout the summer and provided me with unending support. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa! Grazie Nonno e Nonna!