From Behind-the-Scenes to The Scene


From Behind-the-Scenes to The Scene

Kaitlin Lloyd, Museum Studies Intern at the Frick Pittsburgh – Fall 2021  

There’s an expression that ‘the calm comes before the storm,’ but I would like to propose that it is changed to ‘the calm comes after the storm.’ When I started my internship at the Frick Pittsburgh with the curatorial team, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I knew a little about the projects I was going to be working on, but I did not know the exact tasks I would be involved in.  

One of the bigger projects that I worked on was the updating and creation of several finding aids. Initially, I worked on one for the curatorial planning files. While completing this task, I went through many file folders and was able to learn about the Frick family, their other properties, and some of the people around them. I created, and worked on, another finding aid of the institutional archive; files about the institution itself, such as aspects of security, conducted lectures, and past press releases.  

It was particularly interesting to look at the information about the Dictaphone that was purchased in January 1975, it really put things into historical perspective. Needless to say, I saw no evidence of a Dictaphone remaining in use among the museum’s staff today! I even worked on an inventory of the collection of periodicals, so that the curatorial team could donate the periodicals that are digitized online to free up limited storage space at the museum.  

While these finding aids and volumes of information were important to work on, and I could see the significance of what I was doing, the most rewarding part of my internship was contributing to the deinstallation and construction of exhibitions. As an intern, I was unable to touch any of the artworks themselves due to exhibition contracts; however, I was able to watch every step of the process and contribute in other ways.  

In the first couple weeks of my internship, Bouke de Vries: War and Pieces was being deinstalled and I was able to observe several days of the process. I assisted in removing the platform in which the art piece was displayed and was taught the methodology of moving pieces in a museum context. For Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement, I assisted with the placement of wall labels, measured for spacing, and installed a wall vetrine.  

I also helped with the behind the scenes and conceptual planning for future exhibitions. I began writing initial text for Romare Bearden, a 2023 exhibition and created a resource bibliography to aid future researchers. The team furthering this work, and continuing to educate interns like myself, are Dawn Brean, Chief Curator & Director of Collections, and the rest of the collections and curatorial team, from the curators to the art handlers, and I would like to thank them for the experience. 

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh