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June 10th, 2014

Internship Reflections: Emily Franklin

Emily was an intern in the Education and Outreach Department in the Spring of 2014. Here is her reflection:

Had you asked me two years ago if I thought I would work as a 22-going-on-23-year-old-college-graduate-unpaid-intern, I would have thought that was nuts. But I could not be happier with the opportunity I was given to intern in SITE’s Education Department. Transitioning from creating artwork every day—or at least most days—over the 4 years prior to the post-graduate grind of waiting tables and general “adulthood” was difficult for me. I felt an enormous lack of creativity in my life, and then I started at SITE. It was the perfect outlet for my creative self, as well as a new territory that challenged my ability to not only create but also hone the skills one needs in the professional art world.

I remember at the end of my first week, mostly spent battling the copy machine—a piece of equipment much smarter than I—Joanne and Amanda both commented on my efficiency in regards to my to-do list. I owned that list. I could say that I am extremely good at task completion, but if applied to my everyday life, that would be a lie. I think my speediness came from a place of excitement. I was so excited to be there. I was so excited to use the skills I’d learned as a student and apply them to a potential career path. Prior to my internship, when asked what I wanted to do with my degree, I’d feed everyone some line about working with art and community. I thought it was a made up profession but one that sounded real enough that I could get away with saying that. Even after my first week, I now know that those interests of mine can be a career, that museum education and non-profit work don’t just sound nice to tell other people, but sound like something I can actually do. And excel at.

Among several aspects of my internship that I thoroughly enjoyed—papier-mâché, working at the front desk, coming up with public program ideas for new projects—I look back most fondly on organizing the Education Department Silent Auction while Amanda was in New York. Nerve-wracking, yes, but it gave me the opportunity to step up and really show the staff and the Santa Fe community what I could do. Along with Addison, another education intern, I handled donations, art works, bid cards, setup, among other elements of the auction. I felt my opinions were valued and my ideas trusted. The sense of accomplishment I felt afterward was unexpected and much appreciated.

I am so very excited to be continuing on in this institution as a SITE Guide. I never thought working in museum education was in the cards for me, but this internship taught me much more about my professional self than I initially expected. Thank you, SITE! And especially thank you, Education Department!