Enframed: My Internship with the NSLM 

My days started here at the National Sporting Library & Museum behind the front desk. While my collections management internship officially started in November, it actually feels as though it started in August, when I first started working here as a Visitor Services Associate.  From the get-go, I was encouraged to ask as many questions as I could and the senior staff were incredibly receptive and generous in answering them. They were eager to share with me their experiences in the museum field and as well as the details of their positions. Just by participating in the day-to-day life of the NSLM, I felt like I was gaining valuable lessons and experiences.  

I was lucky enough to start my internship with Collections Manager, Lauren Kraut in November, right before the opening of the exhibition, 2020 Hindsight: 40 Years of the American Academy of Equine Art. This meant that I had the opportunity to participate in the preparation and installment of the artwork for the exhibition. On one of my first days, Lauren gave me a crash course on how to handle the different types of artwork (rule number 1: always wear gloves) and taught me about the process of conducting condition reports on the incoming loaned artwork. Marketing & Communications Manager, Cynthia Kurtz, also allowed me to assist in photographing a few of the art pieces and showed me how to edit the raw images in Adobe Photoshop for the exhibition catalogue.  

Caption: Photographing Huntland proved a very interesting challenge due to the reflective nature of the gold paint around the edges. After playing with the lighting, we found that we could only eliminate the glare on one side of the painting at a time. So instead, Cynthia took two separate photos and then merged them together in Adobe Photoshop so it looked as though we eliminated the glare in one seamless shot.  

Linda Luster (American, 1951), Huntland, 2019, Oil on Wood Panel (Half-round Lunette), 24 x 48 inches, From the Collection of Betsee Parker

One of my favorite internship experiences was the day that I participated in artwork installation with Lauren, Art Handler, Alex Orfila, and Deputy Director and George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Curator, Claudia Pfeiffer. I carefully listened to their thought process behind designing a gallery space and learned about different artistic elements that influenced the design, including color, framing, symmetry, movement, etc. Not having an art history or museum studies background (Geography anyone?), this was an entirely new experience for me.  

After the artwork was in the desired layout, we started the process of hanging which, admittedly, required a bit more mathematical proficiency than I had used in a while. Thank goodness for a beautifully crafted Excel program that Claudia had made which would eliminate my inevitable mathematical errors. It was fun to feel as though I was part of the exhibition team. Lauren, Claudia, and Alex worked together like a well-oiled machine and went through the hanging process incredibly efficiently. However, they always took the time to explain and answer any questions that I had.  

Caption: Learning how to properly hang a framed painting with the curator, Claudia Pfeiffer.

Leslie Humphrey (British, 1957), Old Tapes, 2019, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40 inches, From the Collection of Mr. And Mrs. G. Wolstencroft 

In the end, the 2020 Hindsight exhibition turned out wonderfully and perfectly celebrates the art and artists of the American Academy of Equine Art. As a VSA, I get to sit behind the front desk of the museum and watch visitors and community members engage with the exhibition. They marvel, as I have, at the incredible talent of the artists as well as the thoughtful way in which the exhibition was designed.  

Kathleen Friedenberg (British/American, 1942), Opening Meet, 2006, Bronze on Wooden Base, #5 of a limited edition of 10, 17 x 11 x 16 inches, from the collection of Mrs. John G. Ballinger, photo by Emily Reeb 

Having a small part in its installment is very special to me and I am incredibly grateful of everything I have learned through the process as well as through the rest of my internship. As December chugs along, the end of this internship draws near. While I am sad for it to end, I know that the learning opportunities never will. I plan on continuing to work here as a VSA for a little while and the senior staff are incredibly generous in offering new opportunities and projects to work on in the future.  

Emily Reeb is the Fall 2021 intern at the National Sporting Library & Museum. She also enjoys working for the NSLM as a Visitor Services Associate and hopes to pursue a future in museum work. In June of 2021, she graduated with honors from the University of St Andrews with a degree in Geography.

2 thoughts on “Enframed: My Internship with the NSLM 

  1. Well done! You may have completed your internship, but one never really leaves NSLM. Carry the memories of your experience forever and, believe me, you will be richly rewarded. NSLM4life!


  2. What a wonderful experience! I am a long-time horse person and I am a picture framer! You are lucky to work with such amazing art!


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