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Honors Student Rebecca Lawler Discusses Her Internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Honors student Rebecca Lawler gives a tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rebecca Lawler

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York City, New York

Ogden Honors student Rebecca Lawler’s summer has abounded with cloisters, Catholicism, and costumes – to name just a few key elements of her internship experience.

This summer, Lawler is interning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the Costume Institute and the Cloisters on a special exhibition.

For the first two weeks of her internship Lawler spent her days in training for the museum, learning about policies and gallery teaching.  Each intern is required to lead at least 2 "intern insights" talks during the summer. Lawler has taken on two extra tours because she studies education, and recently gave her first tour. According to Lawler, it went “almost perfectly.”

“I am so thankful for the Honors College and its seminar classes teaching me effective ways to communicate with others and more importantly, encourage others to share ideas for a collective understanding as an audience,” she said.  

Following her first two weeks of initial training, Lawler moved on to her official position: interning with the Cloisters division and working with education and visitor engagement for the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination exhibition.

“What does that mean exactly? Currently I choose a piece of contemporary fashion from our special exhibition, and then an Medieval object from our permanent galleries, and create a ten minute talk inspired by the dialogue between the two objects,” she explained.

Rebecca Lawler gives a tour.

Lawler performs these short talks about three times a day. Mondays and Wednesdays she gives the talks at the Metropolitan Museum, and Tuesdays and Thursdays she speaks at the Cloisters. She also works with visitor and member services to create a survey in order to gather information from the exhibition's visitors and help the Cloisters with further research.

On Fridays, all interns reconvene at the Met Fifth Avenue location, and  listen to different museum professionals talk about their specific fields and about working in museums in general.

So far, Lawler’s group has heard from marketing, visitor services, conservation and disability services.

“Each talk is so engaging,” she said. “It's absolutely mind-blowing to uncover everything that goes on behind the scenes at the Met.

Lawler, with a fellow intern.

Lawler also enjoys catching up with her fellow interns on Fridays. So far she has been able to  network with students from Chicago, Ireland, New York and Boston, among others. Most weekends she explores the city with them – particularly taking advantage of the parks.  

“I'm absolutely loving it here, especially because I've recently discovered my passion for education,” she added. “When I explain anything like a painting or even a cylinder seal to patrons, and I see their eyes light up in excitement, I can empathize with this feeling of connection to civilizations thousands of years before us. I can't wait to see what else I learn here!”


Story by Jacqueline DeRobertis.