This year I will be interning remotely with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery from August 2021 to May 2022 as the final class of my Digital Public Humanities Graduate Certificate through George Mason University. I am interning with Mr. Alex Cooper and Mr. Mark Gulezian from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery photographs division. The museum’s mission is listed as “The mission of the National Portrait Gallery is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development, and culture.” Additional information about the museum is located here. My internship requires 320 hours over the course of two semesters so from August until December I will work a total of 160 hours during the Fall Semester and 160 during the Spring tracked through Google Sheets.
When I began the internship I learned I will be working with the raw photograph files. I will be in charge of cropping, editing, and cataloging photographs for their website. I am really excited to work more with the aspects of this project as it will provide opportunities to meet and virtually talk with Smithsonian employees. The cataloging of digital assets into the Digital Asset Management System, DAMS, will be a learning process and I am looking forward to getting started.
The second aspect of the internship revolves around data visualizations and will take place closer to the spring semester. My job will be to create data visualizations of raw data from various aspects of the museum such as environmental data through object exposure, energy conservation, and visitor behavior. I hope to work with tracking other environmental aspects of the museum such as heating and lighting. During my last semester of graduate school, I completed a class entitled Creating History in the New Media with Dr. Lincoln Mullen. I believe that the R programming language will help me with data visualizations through this internship.
I look forward to getting started on this internship as we approach October. I am especially interested in meeting Smithsonian employees and having career conversations about how they became employed by the Smithsonian Institution. This internship and my two above objectives complement my prior training within museums, my Public History Masters from George Mason University, and my graduate school class during Spring 2020 entitled Museum Studies with Dr. Spencer Crew.
My personal objectives for this internship are fourfold: 1. Learn how the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery catalogs digital photographs through hands-on experience. 2. Utilize the R Programming language or a similar programming language to create data visualizations for museum curators, conservators, exhibit designers, and upper-level administrators. 3. Have career conversations with Smithsonian employees as I prepare to work within a museum setting to learn about various careers within the Smithsonian Institution as well as museums as a whole. 4. Utilize skills obtained within the graduate certificate on other aspects to help the museum such as by creating an Omeka site or a third similar project.
I will post four total blog posts for the fall and spring semesters for a total of eight total blogposts. I subsequently plan to update this blog regularly as the internship progresses.