Bowdoin Students Get Professional at the Museum of Art this Summer

Bowdoin College Museum of Art student assistants for summer 2015 with Andrea Rosen, Curatorial Assistant.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art student assistants for summer 2015 with Andrea Rosen, Curatorial Assistant.

This summer’s batch of talented Bowdoin students working at the Museum come from as far afield as Houston, Kansas City, Washington, D.C., and western Maine. With the support of several patrons of the Museum, the students will be giving tours, conducting research, digitizing the collection, and promoting the Museum through social media. Most importantly, they will be gaining key professional experience that will serve them in careers in the arts and beyond.

Three students will serve as education assistants, providing daily tours of this summer’s special exhibition Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860–1960, and working one-on-one with curators on research into the collection and future exhibitions. The students’ summer work is supported by the Esta and Hilton Kramer Fund and by an anonymous benefactor.

Rising senior Ella Blanchon, visual art and government double major, is from Washington, D.C., and has always been interested in art due to her access to that city’s many museums. She has worked for the National Endowment for the Arts and for a private collection, but is thrilled to finally work at a museum—which is what she’d like to do when she graduates—in order “to gain a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.”

Catherine Cyr is a rising junior from West Baldwin, Maine, who has self-designed a major in American Studies. Her high school summers spent at the Maine Humanities History Camp inspired her interest in museums, and in Maine history. She has been volunteering at the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick for the last year and a half. She is excited to give tours of Night Vision to our summer visitors, and to work closely with co-director Frank Goodyear on a new project on Winslow Homer and photography. She will go abroad to Bath, England, this coming fall, and eventually plans to attend graduate school for museum studies, with the ultimate goal of becoming a curator.

Sarah Freshnock is a rising junior from Kansas City, Kansas, and an interdisciplinary visual arts and art history major. Her parents are both architects and her mother is an artist, so art and museums have always been a part of her life. For the past two summers she has worked in the education department of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Interested in a career in art conservation, Sarah has interned at a conservation studio in Brunswick, and will be traveling abroad to Florence, Italy, to take conservation, Italian, and art history classes. This summer she is looking forward to working on educational programming for the Museum, “and going to the beach; there aren’t any beaches in Kansas!”

Museum of Art student assistants preparing to give tours of the museum

Museum of Art student assistants preparing to give tours of the museum.

In addition to the three students focusing on education and curatorial work, three students will be focusing on other, but no less essential, aspects of Museum operations.

Digitization assistant Lauren Bostick is a rising junior from Houston, Texas, majoring in visual arts. She will be working with assistant to the registrar Michelle Henning on scanning works in the permanent collection and the post-production of high-resolution digital images, which will ultimately be added to the Museum’s website. Lauren says she hopes “to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the work that goes into maintaining a museum’s collection,” and that she’s “excited about making work in the Museum’s collection more widely available to other museum visitors.” She is interested in a career in architecture and design, but also is exploring other options within the art world. Lauren’s summer work is supported by an anonymous individual donor.

Madeline (Maddie) Bustamante ’17 will be working with assistant director of operations Rebekah Beaulieu on essential organizational tasks. She grew up in New York City, surrounded by museums. Maddie is a computer science major and is particularly interested in incorporating technology into the museum experience. Later in the year she will be going abroad to Kunming, China, where she will be “be learning Chinese, hiking and exploring, and taking classes at the local university.”

Rising senior Katherine Gracey has been working for the social and digital media office at Bowdoin for the past three years, and will be particularly focused this June on a digital media campaign to promote Night Vision and the Museum’s other activities. Katherine also will be working for the auction house Christie’s for the second summer in a row. An art history and archaeology major with an Italian minor, Katherine grew up in Groton, Massachusetts, and was always encouraged to “draw, paint and be creative with art during [her] free time.” When asked about her motivation, Katherine says, “I want others to realize the opportunities the museum holds for a broader community to engage in a spectrum of art and history.” She encourages you to follow the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram!

Over the past three years, under the supervision Andrea Rosen, the Museum’s curatorial assistant and manager of student programs, opportunities for Bowdoin students to gain professional experience at the Museum have greatly expanded and diversified. From just five students working at the BCMA each year, three in the summer and two during the academic year, 2014-2015 saw nineteen students working at the Museum, covering all aspects of operations including curatorial, education, communications, and registration.

thumb:Chinese, "Jar (Guan)," 3000-2500 BC, painted ceramic. Gift of George and Elaine Keyes in honor of Barry Mills. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.