Name: Ella Evans
Class Year: 2025
Major: History of Art
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Internship Organization: Navy Art Collection
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.
What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I am researching artists who created work for the Navy Art Collection and using the information I find to create short biographies about their time with the Navy and their artistic careers. It is really interesting to discover the unique careers of each artist and how they became connected to the Navy. These artists span from before World War I to during and after the Cold War and created poster art, portraits, and sketches for promotional material for the Navy as well as paintings to commemorate Naval events. I have had to comb through the Naval Archives, the Archives of American Art, and the Library of Congress's collection of historical newspapers to piece together the lives of these artists. It is kind of like a treasure hunt to find all of the relevant information.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied to this internship because I am interested in working in the museum field once I graduate from Bryn Mawr. The Navy Art Collection has a robust collection of nautical and marine artwork, which is a type of artwork with which I have little experience. I thought that I could learn about new forms of art while working with a tangible collection. It's been pretty cool to look through the Navy's collection of over 10,000 sketches and paintings and explore the history of illustration this summer.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
I am learning strong research and communication skills as I dig through archives and scour the internet for credible sources. I've had to book appointments at archival centers like the Archives of American Art and search through documents from the early twentieth century. This has led to me learning new things, like how to read microfilm, as well as honing my abilities to determine the importance of the information that I find. As there are hundreds of documents about certain artists, like Joseph Pennell or James Montgomery Flagg, I have to decide what information is pertinent to my goals and filter out extraneous but interesting facts. These research skills will help me in future classes and work environments as I complete research for essays or try to solve problems assessing the usefulness of certain superfluous information. Additionally, some of the artists I am researching have very little, if any, information about them because they were not famous. This means that I have had to locate and reach out to family members and the artist's acquaintances as I try to uncover the biographical information I need for the Navy Archives. These requests have helped me to develop my clear communication skills, as I have to be specific and understandable while asking for information. Having good communication skills means that I will be able to interact with my professors, supervisors, and coworkers in an intelligent manner.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced at my internship has been remote work. It has been sometimes difficult for me to focus at home, and I am not connected to the internet in the Navy Yard, so I have had to find new places to work to improve my concentration. I've started exploring coffee shops in DC for new places to work and have discovered some new favorite places to reestablish my attention — all while tasting all the unique chai lattes of DC!
Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?
Exciting, absorbing, and illuminating.
Research, analysis, and writing.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.