Melanie Levy '12


High School: Revere High School

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Major: History

Activities: travel, museums, history

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Even though I have been exploring work in museums for the past few years, I often forget how much work and how many people it takes for a museum to run smoothly. This internship has allowed me to go even farther behind the scenes than I have ever been before. Working with cultural historian Amy Henderson, I did something that is crucial to all museum exhibits: research. I and six other interns researched various dancers for an exhibit to be showcased in 2013 titled "ONE! Singular Sensation in American Dance." This exhibit explores some of the people who had major influence in the world of dance, notably in four categories: classical dance/ballet, Broadway, Hollywood, and modern dance. Our research will accompany the portraits of the dancers that are in the Portrait Gallery's collections.  I personally focused on Hollywood dancers, including James Cagney, Shirley Temple, Rita Hayworth and Rudolph Valentino. The project allowed me to work at my own pace and explore different areas that I was not familiar with. This was not limited only to dance, for I also learned how to better conduct research using both online search engines as well as utilizing all the resources that the Smithsonian libraries have, such as archived magazines, articles, photographs and more.
I know that all of the work I did this summer will be worth it, as I go into my senior year and must utilize everything that I have learned in all of my experiences. And I know I will feel a great sense of accomplishment when I see my research featured on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in the exhibit.

link to PowerPoint Presentation

Melanie Levy