My internship with the National Portrait Gallery, NPG, has consisted of working with digital photographs, cropping them through Adobe Photoshop, and collaborating with my supervisors to upload them into the NPG system. The photographs will eventually be posted on their website. I have really enjoyed the attention to detail that this work requires and am working diligently to produce correct results through trial and error. My hope is to work with as many photographs as possible to obtain as much experience as possible by the end of my internship. I have subsequently enjoyed my weekly meetings with my supervisors as well as weekly photographs meetings to meet other employees at the NPG.
What I can do during this internship to help create positive experiences like above is to continue to ask questions of my supervisors to help make my photograph cropping more efficient and obtain more experience. During the month of December, I plan to physically visit Washington D.C. to meet with my supervisors and learn about the broader picture of how my role fits within the museum’s larger plans of working with photographs. I will continue to ask more questions of my supervisor and other mentors. When I travel to the capital I have a wish list of NPG employees from Curators to Exhibit Designers, Lighting Experts, and other employees to have career conversations or informational interviews to learn more about working at the Smithsonian NPG and working within a Federal Government museum to build connections and continue to work towards a career within our federal government through departments such as the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives & Records Administration, Department of the Interior and the Department of State among others.
I subsequently plan to inquire about a third project that I can work on during my year-long internship. My first task is cropping and ingesting photographs and the second is to work with data visualizations in the spring. I think it would be beneficial to create an Omeka site or something that relates to photographs or digital exhibits. My idea is that this third smaller project will combine the first two in some way. I need to brainstorm what that will look like going forward.
I have learned a lot about my work preferences as a result of this internship. I prefer group collaboration with colleagues on projects as well as autonomy and flexibility to complete tasks and plan projects around my goals and interests. I love the group collaboration that comes with public history work. I look forward to meeting Smithsonian NPG employees and continuing to perfect my abilities with cropping photographs.
My internship has been an amazing learning experience so far. I look forward to new experiences as the year-long internship continues.