Art students intern at Kentucky Historical Society
By Heidi Heater, a junior from Jackson, Ky.
WILMORE, KY—Asbury College art students Vicki Hastings, Jodie Nichols and Kerry Brooks are interning at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort arranging displays, leading tours and creating publicity for the museum while earning class credit and gaining on-the-job experience.
“I very much want real life experience and specifically for them to learn that their liberal arts education is very applicable to the kind of work done at a museum,” Dr. Stratford, chair of the art department, said. “For example, all three of these students were in the fall art history seminar where they had to complete large research papers. The exact kind of skills they gained in that class, such as how to research an art object, are the skills used in museum work.”
According to Stratford, this internship occurred as a result of a conversation with Kent Whitworth ’84, who is also the executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society. Asbury College is the first post-secondary school to place interns at this museum.
Through this internship, Stratford hopes students see the many career opportunities available for art students interested in museum work. Nichols works with a curator from the Smithsonian Institute. Brooks assists in the public relations and marketing department, installing exhibits and helping with publicity. Hastings contributes to the education department where she helps plan exhibits, lead tours and engage with school groups.
“I’ve been interested in getting involved in a museum somehow and I’ve also been interested in teaching art, so it’s kind of cool to be in the education department even though it’s a different kind of education, not like classrooms,” said Hastings, a senior from Orlando, Fla.
“I can say that already the staff at the museum have commented to me how impressed they are with our students’ preparation,” Stratford said. “I will say this, compared to institutions that have large graduate schools, it is usually the graduate students who get this kind of opportunity, but in our art department, select opportunities like this are available to undergraduates.”
Due to programs such as the art history emphasis, the art department has experienced growth in the last four years.
“There are only two Christian colleges in the country right now who offer art history,” Stratford said. “So this is a very strategic opportunity for growth in our department, and it is a way of drawing people into our program.”
Stratford believes it is important to study art history. “Our mission statement says we are to advance the cause of Christ in the world, and we hope to send out majors who will be able to teach others about the redemptive nature of visual art,” she said.
The Kentucky Historical Society was formed in 1836 by a group of prominent Kentuckians intent on preserving the history of the commonwealth. The society’s history campus includes Kentucky Military History Museum, the Old State Capitol, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History and the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library and Special Collections.