An Experience of a Lifetime

An Experience of a Lifetime


As an art student I prided myself on being knowledgeable about many aspects of the art world. I guess I never really thought about what goes on behind the scenes of an art museum. Don’t get me wrong, I have been to my fair share of art museums and enjoyed every minute of it, but I guess the details were lost amongst the beauty. As one walks through a museum their eyes were transfixed on the objects themselves and the logistical aspect is often overlooked.

As an intern for the Columbus Museum I am amazed at the amount of preparation, labor and attention that is meticulously shown by the staff there. As an intern with the design team I was allowed to delve even deeper into the components that help the museum and each exhibit run smoothly. The fact that the museum’s exhibits are constantly changing gave me a chance to experience and gain knowledge in many different areas.

One of my first jobs was to peel vinyl letters off the wall from a prior exhibit. The process was tedious, as I spent a good three hours completing my task, but necessary to progress to the newest exhibit. I also recall days where we puttied and sanded nail holes. After that we were able to paint the walls in guess what color? “Museum white”. How fitting is that? Other necessary task included creating new vinyl letters and signage for upcoming exhibits.

Through this internship I have made both great friends and great memories. My favorite experience was being able to go inside the museum vault where all the works of art that are not on display are held. It was there that I experienced a humbling moment, standing there amongst priceless works of art I spotted a sketch done by the artist Matisse! Now I know many people may not understand my excitement but to an Art major I felt like I had come full circle. Here was an inconspicuous sketch done by an artist I have learned almost everything about during the course of many art history classes. It was great! Before now Matisse was a foreign concept, a subject I had learned a lot about but as I stood inches away it became real. This is the feeling that strengthened my determination to become an art teacher, to give future generations this appreciation and love for art. Another thing I remember is viewing Native American artifacts that were hundreds of years old, just knowing that someone who had lived hundreds of years ago had created these objects that I was now right in front of was powerful.

Ashley at the Interior Design Lighting Lab

This museum is a family and an important part of our community. From hosting fundraisers for the boys and girls club, to sponsoring workshops for local Universities, it is a pillar of Columbus, Georgia. And now it will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thanks to this internship I have collected more tools, knowledge and skills that will help me to be a better Art teacher.

Ashley J. Catchings

Interested in an Internship?

The Columbus Museum offers internship opportunities for college and graduate students interested in careers in art and history museums. Based upon their academic training and interests, as well as availability of projects, interns work in one of the following departments: Administration, Curatorial, Design, Development, or Education. Most projects require knowledge of American art history, regional history and culture, education for K-12, publication and design, and/or proficiency with computers, internet, and social media.

Learn more about how to get involved in an internship HERE.

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