Hello everyone! My name is Andrew Ochsner and I’m the fall intern in the Gibbes Collections department. I thought I’d take advantage of the blog to share a little bit about my experiences here at the museum. As a recent Art History graduate from the College of Charleston with a strong interest in the Museum field, I was drawn to the Gibbes as way to gain valuable experience for the future. Working with the Collections department staff I’ve been learning about the fascinating behind-the-scenes efforts required to manage, maintain, and exhibit a fine art collection. Thus far I’ve assisted with everything from cataloguing objects into our Past Perfect virtual database, to meticulously packing up art works for storage and shipment.
One of the initial projects I had the pleasure to work on was the gallery preparation for the two wonderful exhibits that opened on September 3—Face Lift: The Power of Portraits, and Stacy Lynn Waddell: The Evidence of Things Unseen. I must say I was truly amazed by the extent of planning and physical labor that went into readying the museum space for opening night! It took nearly two weeks of transition time in the Main and Rotunda galleries for the previous exhibits, Modern Masters from the Ferguson Collection and JoAnn Verburg: Interruptions to be taken down, and the new exhibits to be installed and ready for show. Not yet a seasoned gallery-prep pro like Director of Collections Administration, Zinnia Willits, and Operations Director and Preparator, Greg Jenkins, I helped out anywhere my common sense could come in handy. This included tasks such as adhering the large vinyl title lettering to the gallery walls, which I quickly learned can be a rather tricky (and at times sticky) affair.
Other jobs included cutting the individual squares of Velcro that were used to hang all sixty pieces of paper that comprise Stacy Lynn Waddell’s striking large-scale work, Manifest (2010).
One of the last duties I helped with is called staging, which involves the organizing and placing of the art and title cards in their designated locations within the galleries. This literal “staging” makes things much easier for Greg when it finally comes time to hang the art on the wall. On opening night it was very gratifying to see all the hard work that the Gibbes staff (including myself) put into beautifying the gallery space for the exhibits! Preparing for new exhibitions is only a small fraction of what being collections intern here at the Gibbes entails. I’ve learned a great deal since beginning my internship here in August, and continue to do so every time I come into the museum. Well, I’m off to photograph some beautiful silver pieces for our digital catalogue!
—Andrew Ochsner, fall intern, Collections Department, Gibbes Museum of Art