In this series, we profile our interns. Phillips interns are an integral part of the museum and work that we do in several different departments: curatorial, education, music, communications and marketing, and more. Our incredible interns also help with our Sunday Concerts, Phillips after 5, and other special events. This semester welcomed our first group of paid interns, part of our institutional values and commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.
Meet Jonah Conlin.
Which department are you interning for? I’m interning in the Curatorial Department with Elsa Smithgall (Curator, The Phillips Collection).
What is your internship project? My main project is collecting scholarship and visual resources for a potential exhibition on the representation of women in American art between the end of the Civil War and beginning of the first World War.
What do you do when you’re not at The Phillips Collection? I’m a senior at Georgetown, so a lot of my time is spent in class. Outside of that, I’ve recently gotten involved in the school’s Maker’s Space, which is community operated organization that allows students to learn how to use high-tech and low-tech tools for independent projects. I’m working on a woodworking project and am training to use the laser and 3D printers.
What is your favorite space/painting here? I love the spaces in the museum that allow visitors to look deeply at a single artist’s work. Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series and The Rothko Room both come to mind as thoughtfully developed galleries that allow visitors to really consider the artwork and the artistic decisions that went into it. I’m also a big fan of the Nordic Expressions show and Nils Dardel’s The Dying Dandy in particular.
If you were to describe The Phillips Collection in one word, what would that word be? Familial. I’ve been struck by how friendly and close the Phillips’s staff is and I think that translates into the visitor experience too.
What is a fun fact about you? I rowed for the past eight years in high school and college. I just stopped rowing this year because I’m going to be graduating this December. So, I guess another fun fact is that I’m graduating in December.
Why did you want to intern at a museum? I’ve found that a lot of academic disciplines are interesting in the classroom much less so in the professional sphere. After finding art history as a sophomore in college I got the sense that the professional opportunities in the art world would be well suited to me and interned this past summer with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After that experience, I was eager to explore the curatorial side of a museum and that brought me to The Phillips Collection. As a Curatorial Intern, I’m so happy to be working closely with artwork and art historical scholarship.
Anything else you’d like to share? Thanks so much to The Phillips and the entire staff for having me this semester; it has been great so far! Special shout-out to Elsa Smithgall.