My name is Monica Andrews and I am member of the Skidmore College Class of 2019. I am an Art History major and Studio Art minor. Following graduation in May of 2019, I wish to attend graduate school for Art History or Museum Studies. This summer I worked at the Design Museum Foundation in Boston as an Exhibition Development and Editorial Production Intern and will be continuing work as a remote intern in the fall.
About Design Museum Foundation
The Design Museum Foundation is a nomadic museum with locations in Boston, MA, Portland, OR, and San Francisco, CA. As a nomadic museum, we lack a physical exhibition space and instead create traveling exhibits and events that pop up in different locations around our base cities. The mission of the Design Museum Foundation is to “bring the transformative power of design everywhere, to inspire a world full of creative problem solvers by producing inspiring exhibitions and events, educating everyone from kids to CEOs in design thinking, and transforming cities and communities through innovative public demonstration projects.” Given this, all of our exhibits and events are designed to correlate with our 12 designated Design Impact Areas: Vibrant Cities, Workplace Innovation, Education, Play, Data Visualization, Business, Social Impact, Sustainability, Healthcare, Entrepreneurship, Social Equity, and Civic Innovation.
***Fun Fact: My supervisor, the museum’s Exhibition Manager, is Amanda Hawkins, a Class of 2012 Thoroughbred!***
At the Design Museum Foundation, I was responsible for researching and developing content for our two upcoming exhibitions: Bespoke Bodies: Design and Craft of Prosthetics, and Inspiring Careers, which is about the importance of diversity in design. I was able to put the research and writing skills that I developed through Skidmore’s Art History program to work in developing content for our exhibits, and was also able to utilize my creative side to brainstorm with the team how to present this information visually.
For our prosthetics exhibit, which we refer to internally as DCP, I was responsible for generating Boston based content, as the exhibit originally debuted in Portland, OR. I researched and compiled information about Hanger Inc./Hanger Clinic to develop a case study about Hanger founder, J.E. Hanger, and soon to be published blog post about Hanger patient care. It was very powerful to meet with Hanger representative and below the elbow amputee, Maggie Baumer, to discuss Design Museum content and our partnership with Hanger. Additionally, I corresponded with Kaylee Dougherty of Boston Ocular Prosthetics to discuss her contributions to an article for our magazine and a story for our exhibit publication. It was very interesting to learn about how Kaylee combines her fine arts background and expertise in sculpture to craft unique custom prosthetics for her patients.
Similar to my work on DCP, I was responsible for developing content and researching prospects for Inspiring Careers. One of my favorite projects included creating a comprehensive historical timeline of diversity in design that spanned from 15,000 BC to present day. Additionally, I did statistical research to better understand the lack of diversity across many creative fields in order to better inform our exhibit. By addressing the systemic and cultural barriers, we can establish how to tackle them by providing resources such as contacts to multicultural design communities in Boston and takeaway cards about inclusivity for employers. For Inspiring Careers, I also worked on researching a writing a blog post featuring 10 women innovators for Women’s Equality Day on August 26th.
Aside from working on our main two exhibits, I co-authored an article for our magazine, was our event photographer for two Design Museum Mornings and one UNITE panel discussion, and assisted with set up, registration, and breakdown for our Gala 9.
Working in Boston
Our Boston location is a team of 14. With a smaller team, comes greater responsibility and collaboration. I quite enjoyed working for a company of this size. I was given important projects and had full responsibility for contributing quality content, I felt that my input was valued during company meetings and events, and I was able to get to know each of my coworkers which lead to a positive work environment. Our physical location was in a co-working community of creatives and startup companies. The space itself was very colorful and provided many comfortable locations to do your work. Also, free snacks (yay!).
Outside of the opportunity to work on developing exhibits for the Museum, I learned practical but valuable skills that are necessary to succeed in any field, such as the importance of communication, organization, efficiency, and clarity. Moving to Boston for the summer also taught me independence and self-sufficiency in navigating around the city for frequent events hosted by work and day to day needs. I might have taken the train 45 minutes in the wrong direction and got my foot stuck in the door of the bus, but I think it is safe to say I am now a master of Boston’s public transportation.
All in all, I cannot be more thankful for this valuable experience. I learned the ins and outs of exhibition development, I honed my writing skills, I corresponded with contributors, I created content that will be featured in our upcoming exhibits and publications (catch an article I worked on in the Fall issue of our magazine), and I am leaving with 13 valuable connections and newfound motivation to pursue a curatorial career. I am very grateful for Skidmore’s Summer Opportunity fund. Without it, I would not have been able to bear the burden of accepting an unpaid internship and would have missed out on this valuable experience that has truly shaped me. I would encourage any student to get out there and search for opportunities to explore their passions, to put in the time and effort to apply for the Summer Opportunity Fund, and to utilize important resources like the Career Development Center. Do not procrastinate considering your future; go seize it.