An Internship Reflection by Millie West

By Millie West, May 2023

My name is Millie West and I’m a rising Sophomore Art and Architecture History student at Miami University. This Spring 2022-23 semester I worked alongside Collections Manager/Registrar Laura Stewart for a Collections internship with the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum (RCCAM).

I had previously worked with Coordinator of Marketing and Communications Sherri Krazl for the Fall 2022-23 semester as a Marketing and Communications intern and took this internship because of my experience working for her. Whenever I expressed to Sherri that I was interested in learning about museum collections, she set up a meeting for me with Laura to become a spring semester intern.

When I first began my Collections internship I was curious about what projects I would be taking on and how they would help me along my career path. Little did I know that the first project I was given would be a semester-long venture, requiring hours of research, data entry, and tons of questions for Laura! I was tasked with developing the Omeka Site for all of the Richard and Carole Cocks donations, as well as the accession records, physical records, and TMS entries of all the Richard and Carole Cocks 2022 donations. This meant that I would be inputting data about each art piece, such as an artist’s biography, artwork’s condition, and artwork’s previous owners/exhibitions, to create a public database for people to access and learn about each piece.

I would have to say that my favorite experience from my internship was learning about the new art pieces and the lives of their artists! After combing through accession records and research, I began to learn more and more about each artist’s unique history and art style. My favorite painting I’ve worked with would have to be Sailing Canoes on the Beach by Edward Henry Potthast for its happy scenery and Impressionist style. My favorite fact would be that Edwin Fulwider, the artist behind Prairie Town, was a Miami University Art Professor in the 1960s. Getting to work with these artworks at an intimate level gave me a greater appreciation for the value and culture that they provide for our campus community.

During my internship I continued working with Sherri and the Content Creation team, starting a social media campaign called “Highlights from the Collection.” This series took a look at different artworks, both on and off display, from the Museum’s collection and explored their artistry, history, and connection to the Museum’s mission. Being able to develop this series was a creative outlet for me. I learned how to create educational content that is both entertaining and insightful.

One of my favorite parts of this project was scripting and filming video content for our social media with the help of Sherri Krazl and Museum Digital Content Creator Ryan Singh. Together we presented some of the museum’s most interesting and thought-provoking art pieces from artists such as Philip Morsberger, Saad Ghosn, and Roger Shimomura.

I am grateful to have worked with the Art Museum for the entirety of my Sophomore year. Working with Laura taught me the cultural impact these artworks have on our Miami community and how important work within Collections is to preserving these artworks for future generations. I am honored to have been able to contribute to the many public resources the museum provides through my work on the Richard and Carole Cocks Collection Omeka site. Working with Sherri taught me that the most engaging and impactful marketing is more than just an advertisement; it’s a connection. Both of my amazing mentors have taught me that asking questions and learning from mistakes can be the best way to grow, and that a good mentor will always be there to guide you to the answers you need to succeed.

Thank you so much to all of the amazing staff and fellow student interns I have worked with this past year. The community we have made at the Art Museum is the reason I came back to work a second semester and is what I will miss most about this experience. Interning at the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum is an experience I’ll remember and utilize throughout my academic life and future career.

Millie West will be a Junior returning to Miami this Fall (2023) majoring in Art and Architecture History. She interned at the Art Museum for the full 2022-23 academic year in a variety of roles shared in this reflection post.

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