Mellon Initiative for Graduate Study in Curatorial Preparedness and Object-Based Learning
Graduate students in History of Art at Berkeley have the option of participating in a three-year pilot program sponsored by the Mellon Foundation supplementing academic training with curatorial skills. From fall 2013, graduate seminars have had more museum, collection, and site visits within the context of their graduate seminars, and a new course has been designed and offered on object analysis in museum conservation studios and sites of production. Two other core graduate courses focus on Material Culture studies and on exhibitions. Additionally, each semester advanced graduate students have had the opportunity to intern in museum collections rich in the materials that form the focus of their special expertise: in 2013-14 Laure Marest-Caffey was in the Department of The Art of the Ancient World at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and William Ma was at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts in the Department of Asian Export Art. In the spring of 2015 Kappy Mintie was in the Department of Photography at the Amon Carter Museum and Sasha Rossman in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Currently (fall 2015) Emma Silverman is interning at LACMA in contemporary art and Elaine Yau is in the Visual Collections of the Bancroft Library. In Spring semester 2016 Jessica Stair will be interning in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum and Elizabeth MacFadden will be in the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. U.C. students are currently producing an exhibition that will open in May 2016 using Berkeley’s far-ranging object collections. The purpose of the Mellon initiative is to give students greater flexibility in career direction, and to enrich their art historical research with knowledge of materials and workmanship, with stronger links to museum collections and staff, and with a broader intellectual toolbox.