This summer

I am interning at the National Portrait Gallery, here is the official SI press release edited by yours truly.

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LILLIAN YOUNG TO INTERN IN WASHINGTON D.C

Lillian Young is spending their Summer at the Smithsonian Institution in America’s Capitol

DFW native Lillian is off to do a Internship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery!

[Additional paragraphs describing yourself, your appointment, what you want to do in the future.] (I don’t feel like putting anything).

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation by James Smithson and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

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Just thought y’all would like this little update on my life, so look out DC here I come (again).

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Working in an Art Museum

 

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This is me on my last day of working for the Smithsonian. Out of all the many jobs that I have had over the years, working for SAAM (Smithsonian American Art Museum) has been the best and most eye opening job. I have known for a while know that I want to work in museums, in fact I’ve decided that I want to help change museums so that they can have more events and exhibits that are more diverse and inclusive. Now, working for SAAM was not my first time working at a museum. In fact two years ago I worked for a local museum in Fort Worth, and that was fun but I didn’t learn as much there as I did at SAAM.

Working in an art museum, especially in the education department, challenged me to think about in a different direction. Since I am an Art Education major I have been taught how to think like and artist and a teacher, which is great and helped me with my internship, but at SAAM they pushed me to take that thinking to a new level. The goal is to not just show people art and recite information to them, but it’s to really help them connect to the art and the artist in ways that relate to their real lives. I’m not trying to say that art teachers don’t do that, but this was at a different level.

For my internship I had a mentor and she taught me a lot. She introduced me to new teaching and thinking styles that I can’t wait to show everyone here in Texas and she did everything that she could to give me a chance. I learned and modeled my work along the lines of this learning method from Harvard called Project Zero. In general, Project Zero is about give people the chance the tools needed to see how they are thinking. It’s about knowing how and why you got to the answer. The work I did for SAAm required me to think about learning in an art museum in a different way. Since I’ve been back and started the school year, I have noticed that I’m still thinking that way.

Another aspect about working for an art museum is that I I could talk art history with people. That’s not to say I can’t do that at home, but it was different there. At school and in the art department, unless someone is an art history major, a professor, of a studio art major (and even then it’s kind of a push) no one wants to take art history with me. But thing with SAAM was that, we had to talk art history. In order to tell people about the works you had to know the background behind them, the artist and the time it came from. Without that knowledge you were screwed. I learned a ton about American art and figured out along the way that, out of all the art in the world, I like American art a bit better. Maybe I’ll write something later to go in deeper explanation of that but the just of it is that, there is more to American art. It’s not all the same even if the subject is. There is literally so much to American art, especially in contemporary craft, that I know I what I learned didn’t even break the surface.

Long story short, working at SAAM for two and a half months was a game changer and eye opening. I like and want to do in-gallery work in the future so I can really communicate and work with the general public; I want to work with American art because there is just so much to it; I am going to keep using the new mind set and thinking skills that I learned while there; and I want to make better art. Being surrounded by works from people who are considered so important that they have to be apart of the Smithsonian collection has given me the push that I think I needed. I need to take more time with what I’m making, consider all the directions I can go and just emerge myself in the process. I don’t necessarily want to have my work placed in a museum, but I would love to work in one again.

Home again

It has been about four days since I came back home to Texas and y’all I missed this place. When comparing living in the city to the suburbs there are a lot of differences and I could instantly see them when I got out of the airport.

First big difference, highways. Yes they are a thing in DC but in DFW, taking the highway is (on a good day) the quickest way to get from Dallas to Fort Worth. Which means a car is a necessary part of life. Now I will miss the not having to drive myself everywhere and not spending gas money, but when I think about how much I spent to fill my metro card and how much I spend on gas it’s basically the same amount.

Another difference is that compared to DC at least, Fort Worth is a little bit greener. We are no where close to being a concrete jungle so there are plains and grass and trees just about everywhere; and yes that means allergies are a gift from the devil but hey at least it all looks pretty. Now I will miss how close everything was and that I could literally just walk everywhere but one thing I am happy to have back is some damn good hispanic food.

DC, your great and all but y’all don’t know how to make tacos and that in itself is tragic. In fact, when my boyfriend picked me up from the airport his mom sent him with a bag of conchas for me. I almost cried, it had been months since I had conchas. I missed them so much.  But not as much as I missed my friends and family (ha, bet ya didn’t think I’d get to them did ya?).

I did make good friends with people while in DC, it wasn’t the same as the ones that I have here. I love my DC friends but we only had two and a half months to get to know each other. For me, it can sometimes take time for me to build really strong relationships. I’m friendly with just about everyone, but the friends and family that I have in Texas are the people that I know I can trust. I think the big reason for this was because I knew that my time in DC wasn’t permanent. Since I wasn’t planning on staying in DC long term I didn’t feel the need to set up roots. That will probably change in the future when I actually do move to a more permanent place but until then, I’m just happy to be home.

Upcoming Posts

To whom it may concern:

I know that not many read this blog, but I just thought I should post this because I can. Anyway, I did an internship this summer, and I though that I would be able to post about my time in DC more. BUT it turns out that I was way busier than I thought. So, be prepared, because in these upcoming weeks/days I will be posting about some of my adventures that I had this summer. So buckle up buttercups, it’s gonna be an interesting ride.

Week Three in DC

It has been like three weeks since I posted to this and it has literally been because I have been go go going since I got here. My mentor got back and she is so sweet and cool. Also the Renwick Gallery is AMAZING. There is a piece called Ghost Clock and OH MY GOD IT IS SO COOL!

The other part of this internship is that I have been walking everywhere and having a lot of private mini adventures. Where I live is pretty close to the monuments and I’ve taken to using my free time on the weekends for going to museums and walks on my own and bringing my art supplies. So far my time here has been really nice.

Day One and Done

Today was the day, my first day working as an official Smithsonian American Art Museum intern and it was fantastic!

I was able to navigate the metro just fine and actually got to work early, which was good since we had a meeting for us stipend kids. So I got to meet my fellow interns and they are all pretty nice. Since my mentor is on vacation this week, I have been left with a binder of things to do this week as well as what my tasks will be for the remainder of the summer. After looking it all over I filled what I needed into my planner and then went on a gallery tour of SAAM to better familiarize myself with some of the art I will be working with.

While today was pretty chill, I am not going to delude myself into thinking that is how the rest of my summer will be. What I am doing (which I will not directly discuss on here because I’m not to sure if I can yet) is going to take a lot of hard work and (hopefully) some research. Yeah, you read that right, I want to have to do some research for this. But hey, you would to if you had access to the Smithsonian Library and Archives, plus whatever online resources they have. Ever since I wrote that one term paper for my art history class, I have found myself getting more and more into the research side of art history. Personally, I do not see a problem with this.

Anyway, back to my first day. The gallery tour I went on was my first time setting foot in SAAM and let me tell you, there is a whole tone of art. Since my mentor out this week, I talked to my psedo-mentor and she agreed with me that going off for a bit each day this week and exploring the museum would be beneficial. Then on Wednesday, I’m going on a gallery tour of the Renwick Gallery. I’ll try to upload photos of the things I see but for now you’ll just have to imagine it or go to the museum’s websites.