Behind the Scenes: Summer Interns at the Wharton Esherick Museum

wood model of curved sofa sits on a table with young woman filling out a form.

Katelin cataloging the models in Esherick’s bedroom.

We’ve been soaking up the summer sun on the hilltop here, and with it enjoying the help and enthusiasm of our two summer interns. As a small museum, we rely on intern assistance for some of the most important, and most time consuming, work – cataloging the collection. Every object in our museum, from furniture to forks to photographs is kept track of through our museum’s cataloging system. Each item receives a unique accession number when it enters the collection, along with descriptions, photos and other details to help pass knowledge about all this important stuff from one generation, or one museum staff member, to the next.

Young woman standing by kitchen shelves wearing nitrile gloves and holding a ceramic dish.

Katelin was a lifesaver during our HVAC system installation, helping carefully move collection objects.

One of our summer interns, Katelin Gladback, has been hard at work filling in some of the gaps in our database. A student at Albright College in Reading, PA, Katelin is set to graduate next spring with a BA in both History and Anthropology. Katelin is wild about museums and currently works as a docent at the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro, PA. She plans to pursue a career in the museum field after getting her master’s and maybe her doctorate, too. She’s particularly interested in ancient history and civilizations and loves the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC – although we like to think we’ve been growing on her!

Working from a barebones list of objects in the collection, Katelin has spent her time with us writing detailed visual descriptions, taking measurements, even noting key search terms, for each item. Her focus, Esherick’s bedroom, has provided her time to pour over many fascinating creations of Esherick’s, including chess sets and many of the models that surround the bedroom. A second form completed during this process, a condition report, is no less essential. Just like it sounds, the condition of the object as noted on this form provides a point of comparison should any future questions or potential damage occur. Without these reports, it can be difficult to know when damage or wear on an object occurred.

The installation of our new HVAC system this summer gave Katelin a few extra projects as well. As the installers moved throughout the Studio, requiring a clear workspace, Katelin got a hands-on lesson in safe care and handling practices as we packed and relocated various shelves of books or cabinets of dishes. What would we have done without her!

Young woman sits at table surrounded by woodcut blocks and paperwork.

Madi hard at work cataloging Esherick’s woodcut blocks.

Meanwhile, Madi Ketcham has been working diligently to catalog our woodblock collection. Madi herself is an artist and printmaker, and a recent graduate from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Her passion for printmaking made an otherwise tedious task fascinating to Madi as she poured over box after box of woodcut blocks. In addition to developing detailed descriptions and measurements of each block, Madi’s assessment of their condition was particularly important. Taking note of any cracking or weaknesses in the woodblock will be critical if we ever wanted to restrike, or print from a block again, as we’ve done with those for sale in our museum store. Another fun challenge for Madi – searching for Esherick’s signature. He often carved his initials as discreetly as possible making them easy to overlook!

Madi was the perfect person to be working with our woodblock collection. Her familiarity with the printing process allowed her to appreciate the surface of each block, mining it for clues to Esherick’s artistic decisions and whims. Madi first visited the Wharton Esherick Museum as a student with her Boyertown Middle School art class. Her teacher, Bill Scheck, is a member of the Museum and woodworker himself. She credits him gratefully for encouraging and mentoring her in the arts – and for suggesting she consider an internship here. We’re grateful, too!

Madi has been making the most of her break before pursuing a graduate degree. In addition to interning with us, she’s spent her summer working at the Hickory Valley Golf Course and drawing every chance she gets. You can see some of Madi’s work at madisontaylorketcham.com.

Of course, there’s always more to do! If you are interested to know more about our internship opportunities click HERE.

 

Post written by Communications & Special Programs Manager, Katie Wynne.

2018-08-20T17:20:12+00:00
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