Robin Davis, a junior Art History major at the University of Southern Maine, is taking a big step toward her career goals this summer. The Bucksport, Maine, native has received a highly competitive Lunder Institute internship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she will be working in the Art of Europe department that houses one of the world’s preeminent collections of European art from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century. Her summer 2021 internship will include assisting with the management of the department’s collection of European art and gaining practical experience with museum administration work.
For Davis, who visited many museums and collections of European art while living in France during a gap year before college, the internship “feels like a real confirmation of my decisions and goals.”
“I’m so excited for this internship as it will give me an intimate look into the process the artworks go through in order to be presented to the public,” Davis said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the Lunder Institute and their generosity to Maine students such as myself in offering both access to this experience and financial support.”
While the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston-based internship is Davis’ first, she’s no stranger to curation and special collections. At USM, she has secured paid work-study experiences at the University’s Art Galleries and its signature Osher Map Library and Smith Center For Cartographic Education.
“In both positions, I have been able to work on interesting and hands-on projects that have given me fantastic insight into the world of art and museum work,” said Davis. In her junior year at USM, Davis will work with USM Library staff on a research project and perhaps curate a mini-exhibit as part of the Osher Map Library Lunder Scholarship she has been awarded.
With plans to earn a master’s in either Art History or Architectural History and focus on the curatorial process of museum work, Davis says her goal is to gain as much experience as possible during her undergraduate years at USM to “build a diverse and expansive skill set.”
“The art world is quite competitive,” she said. “I believe that it is important for me to be as well-rounded as possible moving forward.”
Davis says the work of acquiring those skills and experiences has been supported by many professors within USM’s Department of Art, particularly Dr. Donna Cassidy, Professor of Art and American and New England Studies.
“I wouldn’t have even known about this internship opportunity if it weren’t for her,” Davis said. “She graciously took the time to help me write my cover letter and prep for my interview. She has been incredibly encouraging and influential with my academic endeavors and has continuously challenged me to think both critically and creatively.”