Panoramic view of the National Mall from one of the Gallery’s staff dining areas

Panoramic view of the National Mall from one of the Gallery’s staff dining areas

I have officially completed half of my nine-week summer internship at the National Gallery of Art (NGA). The summer feels as though it is passing entirely too quickly – especially given the fact that this is the first time I’ve sat down to write an SMU Adventures blog entry. I suppose this means that now I must back up my claim of busy-ness with an engrossing entry full of activity.

I should start by explaining a bit about what brought me to DC for the summer. As indicated by my bio above, the SMU Cox and Meadows dual-degree MA/MBA program prepares its students for careers devoted to bringing business acumen to the mission and goals of arts and culture organizations. Every MA/MBA is required to complete a full-time summer internship at a nonprofit organization in order to practice our classroom knowledge and to learn on-the-job skills. I aimed high and was honored to be selected as a National Gallery summer intern for the museum’s development department. In addition to my responsibility of assisting development projects, the NGA Intern Program also coordinates interactive meetings and presentation experiences that introduce the interns to several of the Gallery’s various departments.

Although I have previously completed several museum internships (including one at our own Dallas Museum of Art), the scale of the National Gallery’s work continues to surprise me. Since the NGA shoulders the weighty responsibility of collecting and exhibiting “the nation’s art collection,” the Gallery employs a wider than normal range of museum staff in order to guarantee the highest caliber care for our art. As an intern, this means I’ve had the privilege of meeting a variety of Gallery employees who conduct different work, which is all directed toward the same passion of creating the best possible environment for experiencing the National Gallery’s world-class, stunning collection. One of my most memorable experiences thus far was spending the morning with one of the museum’s full-time horticulturalists who gave us a tour of the NGA’s on-site greenhouses. I’ve honestly never previously thought twice about the botanical decorations in any museum, though now it seems perfectly natural that the NGA would spend as much time curating its living art as it does its collection of art objects.

Outside of the museum I’ve had a wonderful time as well. It’s been a particularly historic summer to live in America’s arguably most patriotic city. It was a gift to work literally steps away from the Supreme Court as it made some of the most influential decisions that will affect my lifetime. (I took a slight detour on my walk home one evening to witness history on the Supreme Court steps.) My summer’s patriotic theme was further reinforced this past weekend as I watched the July 4 fireworks above the Washington Monument followed by a United States victory in the Women’s World Cup. I’m grateful to have had an easy time reconnecting with old friends and finding new ones with whom to enjoy the city.

July 4 on the Mall

July 4 on the Mall

 

I can happily say that my DC adventure has gotten off to a great start and look forward to updating this blog with the rest that is to come.