Digital Resources and the Carnegie International


Digital Resources and the Carnegie International

Ryan Kulka, Museum Studies Intern at the Carnegie Museum of Art - Spring 2020

During Spring 2020, I was an intern at the Carnegie Museum of Art in the Fine Arts Department. Over the course of my internship, I worked to digitize information about non-accessioned works that were part of the Carnegie International exhibitions between 1911 and 1926. This work was done to eventually be published as a resource for scholars and internal staff. With the COVID-19 pandemic at hand, our society sees now more than ever the importance of digital resources. In almost every field, the digitization of resources and processes are essential to efficiency and accessibility—and museums are no exception to this phenomenon.

During my internship in the Fine Arts Department at the Carnegie Museum of Art, I created over 3,000 digital records in the museum’s database for works of art shown at Carnegie International. I was able to use archival documents, such as exhibition catalogues and artist cards, in order to cross-reference and verify the information that I was entering into the database system. This work was rewarding for me because I felt I was helping to clarify the provenance of these works for future researches by adding this information to the database.

As someone who is unsure about the specifics of my future career path, I found it extremely helpful to see what curators do on a daily basis when interning with Emily Mirales (Curatorial Assistant of Fine Arts) and Akemi May (Assistant Curator of Fine and Decorative Arts. I was able to observe Emily and Akemi prepare for the Carnegie Museum’s 150th anniversary exhibition. I was also given the opportunity to go with them into museum storage, which was a task that I never expected. There, Akemi and Emily combed through the works in storage to find additional 19th century English works that could be added to the current exhibition Created, Collected, Conserved: The Life Stories of Paintings.

Although my internship was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am so thankful for the time I did spend at the Carnegie Museum of Art. With social distancing occurring, museums are finding new ways to utilize their staff and engage the public in a digital way. Although I am not at all involved with the Museum’s new #museumfromhome campaign, I am glad that I was able to contribute even in one small way to CMoA’s expansion in an accessible, digital world.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh