Ester Rudhart at the Museum der Kulturen Basel, Switzerland – summer 2016

Ester_Rudhart_1My CHIP internship in Basel allowed me to look behind the scenes of collection management and curator work in a way that cannot be conveyed in the classroom. For five weeks I helped out in the Africa and in the Americas department, working on several research projects, photographing objects and assisting curators in the museum storage when they had visiting researchers. Moreover, I often had the privilege of closely handling a variety of museum objects ranging from modern African wax-prints and Japanese kimonos to 19th century Chinese miniatures and Ghanaian textiles. My main task for the Americas department consisted of inventorying contemporary ceramics from Mexico; a process that included describing, numbering, labelling, photographing and packaging almost 200 objects so that they are properly documented and officially become a part of the museum’s collection. My tasks within collection management involved making several object-dossiers for newly received donations, but I was also involved in curatorial work and drafted texts for guided tours and exhibition labels. No day was like the other and some memorable moments included a visit at a private collector’s house, an exhibition opening, and taking part in a promotional-video shoot. I wrote my research essay on the Gitenga dancing mask (Pende, Congo): its materials, its use in initiation rituals, the quandaries of its display, and its acquisition history. The mask will be featured in the upcoming exhibition Sun, Moon, and Stars at the MKB.

HUM Major, class of 2016. Starts MA in Text and Performance at Birkbeck/University of London and RADA, London in October 2017.

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Ester with museum staff at the opening of the 'Gross' exhibition, summer 2016.