Emma Cieslik, a Ball State University student, will be completing a Collections Internship at the David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) in Muncie, Indiana this semester. Emma currently serves as a docent at the David Owsley Museum of Art, giving tours to college students, community members, and young children enriching their museum experience. This internship will allow her to gain valuable collections management skills useful for her career goal of serving as an anthropology collections manager or museum curator at a natural history museum.

Emma Cieslik attended Crystal Lake South High School and is now pursuing a double major in History and Biology, with minors in Anthropology and Spanish at Ball State University. She is excited to continue her previous work in museums through this opportunity. In summer 2017, Emma completed a Museum Education Internship at the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum in Union, Illinois, and in summer 2018, she completed a Museum Curatorial Internship in the Collections Department of the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois, learned valuable skills about accessioning, deaccessioning, inventory, exhibit design, and digitization. Emma used these skills, along with her natural science and anthropology background through an internship at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

Last summer, Emma had the opportunity to complete a dual Collections and Conservation Internship at the Field Museum, conducting 3D imaging and bead survey under Regenstein Conservator J.P Brown and rehousing Madagascar and African textiles and labeling archaeological sherds and collections objects under Regenstein Collections Manager Chris Philipp. Emma is excited to bring her experience from these internships to her work next semester at the David Owsley Museum of Art.

This upcoming semester, Emma will be completing a collections internship working with Denise Mahoney, Registrar and Collection Manager at the David Owsley Museum of Art. Emma will be helping with object care, database management, and helping to make the collection accessible to museum visitors. Emma hopes that this opportunity will help her to further her goals of working in the world of museums and look forward to using this valuable experience in her future career working in museum collections or curation. After graduation, Emma hopes to move back to Chicago and work as a collections assistant position before pursuing a Master of Arts in Museum Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Featured below is an interview with Emma Cieslik where she discusses her previous and current internship experiences, what she enjoys about working in a museum setting, and how her internships have prepared her for museum work after graduation.

What are some of the most valuable skills you’ve gained at your previous internships, and what skills have you gained from your current Collections Internship at DOMA?

Through my previous internships, I have gained skills working in different areas of museums, including education programming in my Museum Education Internship at the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum, curatorial exhibition design, cataloging and collection accessioning and deaccessioning in my Museum Curatorial Internship at Midway Village Museum, and preventative conservation techniques and object care in my Collections Internship at the Field Museum. My internship at DOMA helps me to further these skills in collections condition care and object information management.

What kind of tasks do you perform at your internship?

As part of this internship, I have learned how to utilize Gallery Systems’ EmbARK Collection Management Software to manage object information and share it with the public, maintain object condition by controlling dust and insect damage, learn more about object condition by cataloging drawings, inventory flat files and update object location information, and oversee research visits, pulling object files and objects for researchers inside and outside of the museum.

How have your internships prepared you for working in a museum after graduation?

My internships have helped me to gain valuable real-world skills for applying to graduate programs in museums studies or social studies, or for starting work in a museum collections management position. Being able to use the object database systems, having experience with object handling, and working with object care and condition will help me to be a better candidate for starting my job with a solid museum studies training background.

What do you enjoy the most about working in a museum?

I love how museums provide us with countless opportunities to learn about the world, especially art that allows for personal engagement with difficult or intangible topics. I also love the detective work of museums, of finding an object and tracking down its matching accession number in the collection or conducting research related to an item that has not received as much attention and care. It’s the daily discoveries and excitement that make working in a museum a true joy every day. DOMA has been a wonderful opportunity, and I have really enjoyed working with such kind and supportive people.

If you would like to learn more about Emma’s professional experiences, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.