Emily Bruno '12
LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
Association for the Arts BPIP Internship Fund
I was an intern at The LuEsther T. Mertz Library and worked specifically with the Art and Illustration Collection. This collection is valuable to the Library as it consists of a broad range of art including paintings, drawings, and prints with diverse subject matter such as garden design and taxonomy, as many illustrations were drawn to supplement botanical descriptions. As part of the ongoing effort to make this unique botanical art collection more accessible for Library patrons and researchers, I organized a number of collections, identifying the works, taking inventory and cataloging them into the database. I also worked with two conservators, Olga Marder and Rachel Lapkin, in the Conservation Lab in order to properly re-house the collections, stabilize them and make them more easily accessible.
What is the most interesting or important thing you took from your Internship this summer?
Besides working with art and illustration collections, I got to experience other aspects of the Library by working with the conservators. On a daily basis I saw Ogla, Rachel and Heather at work in the Conservation Lab and assisted them at times.
I was also lucky enough to assist in the de-installation of the Emily Dickenson exhibit. From this experience, I learned more about the process of planning and installing an exhibit and the cautions the conservators have to take in order to protect rare books and artifacts from too much light or any other damage. It was informative to see how artifacts such as Emily's dress and other objects on loan are repackaged and sent back to their respective institutions.
How did the BPIP Fund help make your experience possible?
Without the aid of this fund I would not have been fortunate enough to spend the summer at such an institution with an unpaid internship. I would probably have worked where I did the two previous summers at a day camp. This experience however, really opened my eyes to the art world and non-profit world and I felt that for the first time in my life I was immersed in a professional work place.
Why would you recommend the BPIP Fund?
I definitely recommend that other students take advantage of the opportunity. I urge them to set up internship as soon into the school year as they can so that they can get started filling out the application to do BPIP! I think that is what's key first to find an internship of your liking then see what you can do to make the arraignment possible, for me this is where BPIP really helped me.
Looking back on my summer experience at the Library and in the conservation lab, I recognize what an interesting experience I had. I am thankful to have had this experience and be given the opportunity to be an intern at the Library. While some interns barely do anything at work except get their boss coffee, I was trusted handling countless rare and priceless works or art as well as valuable books and treated like a true employee of the library. I learned so much about how a research Library functions and about how both book collections as well as art collections are preserved. This internship gave me a good introduction into the field of conservation and exhibition instillation.