Shannon Nortz, second-year M.A. student in the Art History program in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, spent the past year in a rewarding part-time position as Collections and Exhibit Research Assistant at the Florida Capitol Museum in Tallahassee. Shannon worked at the historic Capitol under the direction of Shelby Smith, Collections Manager, and Michelle Sunset, Exhibits Manager and FSU Museum Studies alumna. Of her professional team experience working on museum projects, Nortz writes, “The small team they have there is wonderfully talented, hard-working, and invested in developing you as an individual and professional.”
The position provided Nortz with a multidisciplinary learning opportunity that allowed her to expand her knowledge of collections logistics and exhibit management. In collections, Nortz was responsible for monitoring conditions, handling objects on loan, and preparing the necessary reports for loans. She also participated in exhibit maintenance and fabrication of exhibit layouts and discursive panels.
Shannon subsequently curated an exhibit of World War I documentary photographs, supplementing the WWI anniversary exhibition Over Here and Over There: The United States, Florida and World War I, currently on display in the Florida Capitol Museum.
Nortz reflects on her time spent in the place that transfixed her when she first arrived in Tallahassee. “It was amazing being in a building that continually serves as a political symbol and place of demonstration in our state, a few feet away from the actual functioning legislature and seeing political life in action provided such a unique learning opportunity.”
Nortz has decided to build on this experience by participating in The Ringling Track in the Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies program, a unique full-year internship at the world-class Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Along with three MCHS colleagues, she will spend the 2017–18 academic year gaining additional hands-on professional experience in an outstanding environment. The program provides insight into and training for museum careers through practical work experience not available in most academic settings.