Hi there, my name is Eline Becht and I was an intern for three weeks at the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. Since I feel so lucky to have worked here, I will provide you with an insight of what my experience looked like in this short recap. When I arrived at the Stedelijk, as a simple high school student, I had one simple goal during my stay: I wanted to leave this place with a better idea in mind of what working in a museum is like. As a visitor, you don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes of exhibitions. How many people it takes to manage such a big institution and what their actual tasks are.
The first thing I immediately noticed in the Stedelijk was the nice atmosphere in the offices. Is this because of the same passion that is at the foundation of their job? I quickly understood, speaking with different employees, that everyone seems to love working here. No matter which department on or what position, from the ticket seller to the financial director, everyone enjoys it. Every job has a communal factor: keeping the cultural heritage safe while showing it and explaining it to the world. All the employees seem excited to be part of such a big mission.
So yes, I arrived here without knowing what I could and would be doing in the museum. Thanks to the employees, who gave me some of their precious time, I managed to exploit my tasks. My major task during these weeks was the education assignment I worked on since the first day. This assignment consisted of researching new workshop ideas for people of all ages and all physical and psychological conditions. To accomplish this I also had to take the vision of other art museums into consideration. I also worked in the museum, helping the volunteers at the family lab or the information desk when it was busy. I particularly liked this function because I had direct contact with international visitors and could help them finding their way around the museum while improving the languages French, Italian, English and Spanish that I learned at school. Furthermore, I did some other small tasks too such as filling in the volunteers’ schedule, taking pictures of specific artworks for the museum’s website, verifying the English version of the audio tour of the temporary exhibition and writing a review about it. Thanks to this last task I learned how to use an audio guide smartly. For me it was useful to understand how these audio guides work, since I hardly ever use it in museums myself, because I prefer to visit the exhibitions on my own.
I also had the occasion to discover the backstage of the museum with a specialized employee that knew every secret of the building and could answer all my questions into detail. He showed me how the artworks enter the establishment and where they are stored before being exhibited. Art is unfortunately not immune to daily life dangers, and therefore it can happen that someone has to repair it. I have met two restorers who explained the long and difficult restauration process of artworks to me. There is no step back in the restoration process, so the restorers create reproductions of the artwork and test different restoration methods on it. Isn’t it incredible to have the opportunity to put your hands on famous and historic paintings or sculptures? I find their job fascinating but also fundamental; these restores, physically participate to the safeguard of our cultural heritage.
Last but not least, the most wonderful aspect of my internship was to be surrounded by the most incredible artworks every day. I could take all the time necessary to stare at them and if that wasn’t enough I could come back the day after. The only advice I can give you, you who is reading this short recap of my experience at the Stedelijk Museum, is to go to the museum and enjoy the incredible Artworks they have to offer. Enjoy art and share this pleasure with others because remember, art gathers people .