~2 months. 1 ½ boxes of rubber gloves. 50 pages of notes. 200+ boxes. 5 albums on my iPhone played on repeat. More objects and photos than I can even think of trying to calculate right now.
It is truly hard to believe that the Dirty Room is finished (for the time being). The fact that it lines up so well with the end of Co-Op is pretty equally mind-boggling, to be honest. I’m sure that my fellow Co-Op students would agree when I say that the time just flies by.
I want to use this post to describe what I’ve learned from the past 6 months of being an intern at The Robert & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection. As cliché as that might be, I’ve had an amazing ride and it would please me immensely to be able to share with anyone seeing this now.
So, what have I learned?
1. There is more than meets the eye. While appearances are incredibly important in a collection such as ours, histories can be just as much a source of interest as the physical garment itself. There is a story for every object – you just have to look for it.
2. Never be afraid to ask for help or ask questions. In the case of the collection, trying to do something you aren’t 100% on can potentially lead to damage to an object. I definitely had to get over my general fear of asking questions/“feeling stupid”. When it comes down to it, though, one’s ego pretty much means nothing in the grand scheme. Build a bridge and get over it – your pride will be okay.
3. Most importantly, you have to work hard for the things you want most. The world of Art History can be, at times (from my own perspective), pretty brutal. It’s competitive, and much of the work is thankless. For example, my work in the Dirty Room is invisible except for those who know about it already. But goodness, I have seen more passion and enthusiasm in the last 6 months than I have since I stopped dancing. The people I’ve been surrounded by do what they do out of love and commitment, not for glamour or huge paychecks. It’s really inspiring.
My last week will be spent working on the master spreadsheet of everything that’s in the Dirty Room. I’ve managed to edit and rename all of my object photos with their correct ID numbers, so a chunk of the work is already done. Aside from that, I’m not really sure. Needs and tasks to be finished seem to change daily. I’ll do whatever I can to help while I’m still there. 🙂