While at Winterthur, many Fellows choose one or more of their elective courses to be an Independent Study. In this instance, Fellows can choose their own projects. These projects help Fellows acquire more experience with professional practices and develop new areas of content knowledge. These experiences hone professional skills and practices, and augment the Fellow’s resumes. With a chosen professor as the supervisor for this self-motivated project, Fellows in the past have worked on cataloguing collections, appraising at auction houses and with independent antique dealers, developing and curating exhibits, researching with scholars, assisting with material culture and decorative arts publications, and working with thought leaders in the arts and cultural fields. With regional resources in the Brandywine, greater Philadelphia, surrounding DC and New York City areas, Fellows have a tremendous amount of choice regarding their independent study project. Of course, extraordinary opportunities at the Winterthur Museum and Library are at the Fellows’ fingertips, as well. These opportunities include editing opportunities with the Winterthur Portfolio or the Office of Publications, working in the Development Office, helping with Public Programs, processing materials in the Library, and pursuing collections-based studies in the Curatorial Department.
Recent classes have undertaken such projects as:
- Working in the European galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Assisting with auctions at Rago Arts and Auction Center
- Curating an exhibit at the Chester County Historical Society
- Assisting the Jewelry department at Freeman’s auction house
- Writing an article for publication in the Winterthur Portfolio
- Managing membership relations at the Decorative Arts Trust
- Cataloguing the Winterthur Museum’s clothing collection
- Curating a print show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
A second opportunity for Fellows is the Museum Internship as a part of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware. This is required for students undertaking the optional Museum Studies Certificate. Including Winterthur, the Brandywine region and the Greater Philadelphia Area house a plethora of tremendous institutions for the Fellows to work with and learn from. These range from large, city museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to smaller historical societies. Institutions in this area house a wide variety of collections, from materials related to fine art, the decorative arts, and design history from around the world, to African American history, the history of immigration and human rights, the history of the criminal justice system, business history, and the history of science and technology.
For Fellows, the internships they select very often lead to employment opportunities, either at the organization they worked with, or through the skill sets and contacts they foster.