Monday, June 14, 2010

Secret Lives of Interns: Visiting Past Work!

A blog by Julie Bertling

Several years ago, I went to New York City on a business trip, and was nearly paralyzed in my tracks with sheer sensory overload. The sights, smells, hopelessly tall buildings, and TRAFFIC was a lot to process as I felt myself being prodded by the eager herd of business people trying desperately to move this ‘tourist’ from their path.

Last weekend, I revisited the city with my boyfriend, Ari, but had the wherewithal to ‘keep my eyes on the prize’ as we journeyed to the International Center of Photography to see Civil Rights exhibit, “For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights”.

This wasn’t just any exhibit; no, this was MY exhibit—I feel justified in my strong sense of ownership, considering I’ve spent the better part of the past year handling these objects at UMBC, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (for details, visit their website!).

From several blocks away, I spotted Sanitation Workers Assemble in Front of Clayborn Temple for a Solidarity March, Memphis, TN emblazoned on the building, and immediately began to tear up. It occurred to me that after a painstaking career change and subsequent return to school, this is now what I do for a living; I am now in the business of bringing bits of humanity to life through material culture. Granted, my work isn’t touring venues in Times Square or the National Smithsonian like Maurice Berger’s, curator of “For All the World to See” but with diligence, I too can hope to be just as impacting after my education is complete.
Now that I’m interning alongside curator Karen Falk of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I’m getting my first taste of what is involved in bringing an exhibit to life, as I am researching material culture of Jewish foodways for the upcoming “Chosen Food” exhibit coming in 2011. I’ve quickly become giddy at the prospect of cultural immersion through fact-finding—I was born to do this job!

In the midst of my professional change comes personal change as well--my trip to New York also solidified my future as Mrs. Ashe. Yes, my out of state trip produced a formal engagement to aforementioned Ari, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! It is truly the Summer of Change for intern Julie Soon-To-Be-Ashe-But-For-Now-Bertling.

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