Name: Annalise Ashman
Class Year: 2024
Major: History of Art; Anthropology
Hometown: Tyrone, GA
Internship Organization: Fleisher Art Memorial
Job Title: Archives Intern
Location: Philadelphia, PA
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
We are currently in the process of creating, publishing, and distributing a publication-style zine to be shared with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Fleisher community! The primary goal of the zine is to showcase the work of the archives department as we investigate the history of Fleisher and its presence as an art school and gallery space within Philadelphia. Our days typically start with strategizing meetings to assign tasks for the day and help each other complete our projects that will be published in the zine. Right now, I am working on a feature piece to highlight a historic theatre pipe organ in the collection. In addition to my own research, I am also conducting several interviews with Fleisher staff and independent researchers to learn more about the organ’s history. Shockingly, this organ is only one of fifty of its kind still housed in its original location!
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I was interested in the ability to gain hands-on experience working with artifacts, artworks, and documents to better understand how museums and collecting institutions utilize their collections beyond exhibitions. I began this internship during the spring as a part-time intern. I loved the ability to combine this fieldwork experience with my History of Art classes, specifically “Topics in Modern Art” with Professor Matthew Feliz and “Museums, Monuments, and Memory” with Professor Monique Scott. Taking these classes and participating in this internship truly enriched my understanding of practices toward preserving and sharing oral histories and material objects.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship has been the ability to learn about the visual arts community in Philly! Once a week, we do “site visits” at various museums and collecting institutions in Philly to learn more about their archival systems and practices. Each visit has looked different, but all of them have great opportunities to ask questions of people working in different roles related to curating, research, and preservation. So far, we have visited: The Barnes Foundation, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Free Library of Philadelphia! At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we got the chance to look at special objects from their archives, including a letter from Frida Kahlo signed with a bright red kiss. We spent time reading through board meeting minutes and looking over financial records to better understand the working relationship between the PMA and Fleisher. I really enjoyed the ability to use physical objects to create a story that relates the past to the present.
What is most rewarding about your internship?
The most rewarding experience from this internship has been conducting oral history interviews to document the impact of Fleisher in its 124 years of history. Through talking to community members, I have learned so much about how Fleisher’s long-standing presence as an arts school in South Philly has served as an influential space for art educators and appreciators. The experience of documenting these stories and being able to share them with the public has been a great experience that I cannot wait to take into future opportunities for research and community engagement.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences