My name is Julia Olson, and I’m the Weitz Family Fellow here at Joslyn Art Museum. I graduated from Carleton College last June, and although I was extremely excited, I was also more or less terrified to be thrust into the real world and become what my friends and I playfully called a ‘real’ person. I started here in September, and I’m glad to say that the intelligent, passionate, and incredibly friendly people working and volunteering here at Joslyn have made the transition into reality a whole lot easier.
My position is unique in that I have the opportunity to work with multiple departments. So far I’ve worked on projects with the Curatorial, Collections, Development, and Education departments. I’ll even work as a Security Officer before the year is through. Being the nerd that I am, I revel in the fact that I’m able to continue researching and writing about art objects just as I did at Carleton—however, now I get to work directly with the artwork!
I’ve worked on educational posters that school teachers can use to incorporate our artwork into their curriculum. In November, during Nebraska Distance Learning Week, I conducted a virtual field trip of our Regionalist Collection for teachers all over the state, and in April I will give a gallery talk on the Ledger Book artist Howling Wolf. Since teaching is a real interest to me, these experiences have been invaluable. One of my favorite projects, though, has been working on a reinstallation of the Spanish Colonial Collection. I’ve been working on writing wall labels, and will soon translate them into Spanish. It is so exciting to be able to combine two of my passions, art and the Spanish language, in the same project.
I’m about half way through the fellowship, and I’ve already learned a lot from this very interdisciplinary fellowship. Yes, I’ve learned a lot about our collection, but perhaps more importantly I’ve learned so much about how a museum operates. I’ve learned about museum positions that I didn’t even know existed, and every day it astonishes me how many people come together to make this place function. Every part of the museum is critical to its success and to the visitors’ experience—the exhibitions of course, but also the cleanliness and security of the facility, the food at the café, the educational programs, and the fundraising and advertising that make it all possible. If you take a look at the other posts on this page I’m sure you’ll learn, as I am, about all of the different talents that go into making this place so great.
Julia Olson, Weitz Family Fellow