Judith Stapleton, Art History, Class of 2012
Hello. I’m Judith Stapleton, a senior Art History major. I’ve been working at the Phillips Museum for two years now. I’ve known since before college that I wanted to be an Art History major and continue my studies in this discipline into graduate school and beyond. My advisor suggested that having work experience at a museum would be invaluable, and so I started volunteering at the Phillips Museum during my junior year.
As a volunteer, I worked with a collection of drawings by a Polish émigré artist Zdzislaw Czermanski. Born in 1900, he lived in London, Paris, and New York. The museum had acquired some of his political drawings through a donation by his widow, but they had yet to be cataloged. Making descriptions of the objects was fascinating. While practicing concisely describing art, I did research on London coal companies, Polish army uniforms, Parisian cafés, and world history in order to accurately describe the art objects.
My experience at the museum helped me get an internship at Palazzo Vecchio when I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. On my return, I was awarded the Mellon Pre-Baccalaureate Collections Cataloguing Fellowship. Since the summer, I have been making object files, digitizing our collections records, and adding new items to the catalogue. I’ve gained experience with museum terminology and resources. I’ve also been privileged to work with local artist and former F&M professor Bill Hutson, as I continue to catalogue the exhibition posters he has collected over his long career. My experience at the museum has exposed me to a wide range of art objects and time periods, while giving me the tools I need to work comfortably in a museum setting. Who knew that so much went on behind the scenes?