My Archival Processing Internship Experience

Thursday, August 2, 2018

My name is Shanel Kerekes and I have recently completed an internship within the Archives department of the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Coming from Villa Maria College, I was determined to find an internship site that related to my intended major of Integrated Arts, and was heavily involved in contributing to the creativity of the Buffalo community. Since I was very young, I have been visiting the Burchfield Penney Art Center to witness works from various local artists whose styles range with great diversity. I knew immediately that this museum in particular was special to me, and I must attempt to become a part of its team.

Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to participate specifically in the archives of the museum. I worked on a project that focused on taking archival materials about the museum’s honored artist, Charles Burchfield, and enter information about his watercolor paintings into a database that will eventually become completed in the near future. Due to the archives having an extraordinary amount of documents, novels, and primary materials, the project has the potential to provide an excellent source of educational information about the creative mind of Burchfield himself to the public.

Working on this project certainly gave me an insight to the way Burchfield processed his thoughts, admired the beauty of nature, and executed his watercolor techniques. Organization was a key trait to have while handling archival material, as well as delicacy, due to that various states that the materials may have been in. I was also shown how to navigate the content management system for this project, including multiple forms of editing and the formatting of images. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to work outside of the archives to learn how to install physical artwork in the museum’s gallery. I very much enjoyed the occasional change of pace that my advisors offered by informing me and demonstrating other processes that take place within a museum setting.

Being exposed to the world of Charles Burchfield has affected me in ways I didn’t expect. I’m taking away a new state of mind when it comes to creating my own artwork, and has instilled a greater sense of motivation and confidence in myself as an artist. In addition to this, not only did I gain beneficial knowledge towards my degree, but also new friendships with the remarkable staff that makes the museum what it is today. I am truly grateful for this experience.