Costume Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art? This Temple student did that, and more, at her summer internship!

Theater, Film and Media Arts student, Sarah McKenzie, is planning to graduate with a B.A. in Theater focusing in Costume Design in May of 2020.  This past summer she interned at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Read more to learn about Sarah’s experience…

Spotlight Questions:

Major/Graduation year

Theater Major (Focus in Costume Design), Art Minor. Expected Graduation May 2020

What organization is your internship with?

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

What semester did you do this internship?

Summer 2018

What is/was your job function, and what does a typical day entail?

Intern in The Costume & Textiles Curatorial Department.

There was no typical day in the C&T Department, but my job did include pulling and returning objects to/from storage, labeling items, some small sewing projects, and dressing mannequins! One project that I did spend a few days on was pulling over 400 hats from storage to measure them and then inputting that measurement data into the museum’s database. The Department is currently preparing for two exhibitions that open in the fall, so things are very busy!

How did you find out about this opportunity, and what was the interview process like?

I was self-inspired to look into the PMA’s internship opportunities because of the museum’s incredible collection of costumes and textiles, and I hoped to examine the work of great designers, as well as historical dress, up close. To apply I sent my resume and a short essay describing why I believed I would be a good candidate for the Museum Studies Internship. I also sent two letters of recommendation. After applying I was invited for an interview about a month and a half later. About another month and a half after interviewing, I was offered the internship.

How has your internship related to your course work?

I have focused my studies on Costume Design and Production, so I came into the internship with a significant amount of knowledge of the historical dress and practical sewing. I have applied these skills in sewing undergarments for display pieces and using my knowledge of historical fashion to inform research. I have also learned a significant amount about garment construction from observing and handling garments up close, and the internship has opened the door for me to apply my passion for costume and garments to a whole other career.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your internship/job experience?

To make connections! SO many people are ready and willing to help you out if only you ask them.

What piece of advice would you give to current students embarking on an internship/job search?

Think creatively about where to apply for an internship! Consider your relevant skill set and think about where those skills could be applied!

Have you learned any valuable lessons about obtaining jobs/internships during your time at Temple?

This was my first internship while attending Temple, but I’ve learned that it’s important to put effort into your application and heavily research the company or institution you are applying to. If you go into an interview knowledgeable and excited about the company, it will impress your interviewer and show you are serious about interning with them!

 Do you have a profile on Twitter and/or Instagram? If so, what are your usernames?

Instagram; @sarahmcki

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