Being offered the MAPH internship at the Chicago History Museum had to be a nod to the absolute nerdism of my childhood – I was that kid who dragged her parents to every history museum within reach, wherever we were. I have become that adult who returns to the same ones over and over again. I was a Humanities student, but I am also a lifelong history geek, and the opportunity to intern in the Curatorial Affairs department at CHM let me do exactly what MAPHers do best: bridge the gaps. We’re cross-disciplinarians, proponents of academic cross-pollination.
I studied theater during my MAPH year, venturing out into a little bit of art history and concentrating very much on art-audience communication and relationships. I wrote my thesis on Tony Kushner’s AIDS-era epic play Angels in America, focusing on the work’s ever-changing relationship to its temporal setting: what happens when a play becomes history? I wrestled with Benjamin and his Angel of History, theories on nostalgia, and literature on historical drama. You can see the history geek peeking out. It always has. It’s a necessary marriage, I think.
More on the the internship and how it links to Deborah’s current project after the jump.
Here’s a thoughtful piece from Diego Arispe-Bazan (MAPH 2011), who worked as a MAPH intern at the Smart Museum on campus after graduation. Diego talks about his work, focusing on the introduction of new technologies into the gallery experience and curatorial practice.
Here’s an excerpt:
The debate on interpretive technologies was lively among the Smart interns. It centered on the issue of how multiplicity in experience could be flattened out. The argument is not without basis: interpretive technology, used indiscriminately, can turn a gallery into an arcade. In fact, certain visitors who shared this view eschewed the iPads entirely. However, through my observation and the comments gathered from the museum guards, it became clear that those who chose to pick up the iPads were eager to embrace the integration of interactive digital media into the gallery experience.
Check out this video featuring Judy Hecker (MAPH 97), Associate Curator in the Prints and Illustrated Books Department at MoMA in New York. She gives an introduction to her most recent curatorial effort, Impressions from South Africa, which runs through August 29. Judy studied art history at the University of Chicago as a MAPHer in the program’s inaugural class. Keep an eye out for her upcoming profile in Tableau. The cover story of the fall issue will be “A Brief History of MAPH” offering some perspective on the successes and challenges that the program has faced since its inception.