Charlotte Wittesaele at the British Museum (AOA) – summer 2015

Charlotte_Wittesaele_portraitCharlotte was particularly interested in learning how an esteemed institution such as the British Museum copes with the challenges of globalization in the everyday work of collection management and research. Her research thesis, which she completed before the placement, focused on the expansion of the art world and how globalization has impacted on the production, consumption, institutionalization and representation of art. “Following my thesis with immersion in the practical tasks of AOA added a vital new dimension to my theoretical knowledge, while allowing me to contribute my research skills to the work of the museum.

One of the main tasks I undertook was biographical research into the acquisition history of the Americas collection. The research skills developed during my studies at UCU and the resources in the museum enabled me to confidently and independently track down virtually anonymous donors and collectors. This information will contribute to the museums online database so that it becomes available to the public. Another one of our bigger assignments was to aid with the relocation of a collection of Ghanaian brass gold-weights. This task introduced me to the dynamics of object handling, documentation and conservation.

Volunteers and interns are greatly valued by the British Museum. My supervisor at the Museum made sure to engage us in a manner where both the museum and the interns could get the most out of the opportunity. Going into the experience with a focus on what I wanted to observe augmented the knowledge I had developed over the last three years. The internship helped to solidify what I had been exposed to academically and laid a strong foundation for post-graduate studies."

Class of 2015, HUM Major. Starts MA History of Art and/or Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS, London, September 2016.