Two Rhodes students—Rachel Rotter ’18 and Bryan Martin ’17—have been selected for competitive internship programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City.
Rachel Rotter, an art major from Memphis, TN, has received a spot in the Museum Seminar Internship Program (MuSe) for rising seniors and recent graduates who aspire to a museum career. Each intern is placed in one of the museum’s 40 departments under the supervision of a full-time staff member. Rotter will be involved in curatorial and library research on a group of objects in the medieval art collection, as well as translating Latin inscriptions on objects within the collection. Through this work, Rotter says she will learn how to use the tools required to conduct sophisticated object-specific research on medieval works of art and how to use The Met’s database system, and she will learn how to function as part of a team in a curatorial environment. As part of the wider MuSe program, she also will prepare and lead three tours of the museum for public visitors and participate in weekly meetings with other interns to learn about the wider issues of current museum practice and careers in museums.
“My interest in medieval art really began with Rhodes Professor Victor Coonin and his Art and Spirituality in the Middle Ages course last fall,” says Rotter. “An art which I had at first considered to be rather wonky and peculiar quickly took on deeper meaning; I learned to embrace the ‘weird’ and love all things spiritual in the Middle Ages. And now, not even a year later, I have the honor of actually working with the objects I studied so intently and enjoyed immensely with Professor Coonin!”
She says the application process for the highly selective internship involved a resume, references, and a transcript, along with an essay and interview.
Bryan Martin, an art major from Dobbs Ferry, NY, has been awarded a 12-month internship for media production in The Met’s Digital Department for individuals with a background in video, media, design, art history, or related fields. He will work with staff mentors to explore best-practices in the creation, production, presentation, and dissemination of the museum’s multimedia content, and ultimately he will work with a supervisor to create independent projects. He also will lead tours during the summer as part of the MuSe program.
Martin, who is pursuing a minor in film studies at Rhodes, has curatorial experience as well as experience working in several prominent art organizations in the New York City area. He makes short films based on an accumulation of footage from his daily video diaries and 16mm film diary. However, he says it was the Rhodes Department of Art that offered him a portal to discover a passion for all forms of art and their history.
“The department taught me to have more confidence as a maker, and it also showed me the importance of not being afraid to fail and learn from your mistakes and rejection,” he explains. “Experiencing the intimate passion, encouragement, guidance, and support from all of the faculty in the department has been one of the greatest privileges of my time at Rhodes; they ignited my love of art and a belief in myself, which helped me tremendously in life, but also to get this position.”
Rotter calls the art department her family. “We’re a small, tight-knit bunch, and we really push each other to succeed—students and professors alike. As far as being prepared for this internship or working in a museum, the most helpful thing my faculty has done for me is to teach me to think for myself when it comes to art. Yes, I know that sounds silly, but learning to critically analyze a work and draw connections on what you already know AND what you are actually seeing in front of you can be a challenge! It is an intricate but rewarding process and it has really shaped both how I perceive art and how I act as an art historian.”