BFA 2012

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows

About My Co-op Experience

My Co-op internship was with the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, which is located at Navy Pier in Chicago. So much did I enjoy working there that I ended up interning for two semesters. For both semesters, I worked directly with Rolf Achilles, the curator of the Smith Museum, Art Historian and Art History professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My involvement with glass as an artistic medium began when I took a course on making stained glass windows in 1999. Working at the Smith Museum was a great opportunity for me to explore my love of glass while gaining real-world, professional experience. Working closely with the extensive range of windows in the Smith Museum became a great source of inspiration for me as a stained glass artist.

My responsibilities at the Smith Museum involved foremost updating the electronic database of windows in their collection. The database included information from both museum-housed windows and those housed in off-site storage facilities. I cross-referenced the database with physical documentation and photographs of the windows in the collection to determine which descriptions and information sheets needed to be updated.

During my second semester there, I researched contemporary German stained glass artists for future publication in stained glass magazines. The research was also used for inclusion in the electronic database and for use on the descriptive panels at the Smith Museum. My involvement with the Smith Museum gave me a greater understanding on how small museums are run and how specific collections are archived and documented. I also learned more about the artists and studios who fabricated the windows and the processes used in making them.

About the Employer

The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is a permanent exhibition which opened in February 2000 at Chicago's Navy Pier entertainment complex. It is the first American museum dedicated solely to the art of stained glass windows. Named after prominent Chicago collectors E.B. and Maureen Smith, the museum holds over 150 individual pieces displayed in four galleries: Victorian, Prairie, Modern, and Contemporary. The majority of the works originally came from Chicago-area buildings, and a number of prominent artists are represented, including John LaFarge, Adolfas Valeška, and Ed Paschke. —Wikipedia

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Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.