Tara's Internship Experience at the Smithsonian Institution

Tara Wells spent this summer as an Intern at the Smithsonian Institution. Tara was accepted through a program referred to as CIBA (Conservation Internship for Broadening Access) which provides generous funding through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support conservation interns placed throughout the Smithsonian. Tara's assignment in Conservation was at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), which has its lab and collections storage at the Cultural Resource Center in Suitland, MD. The internship provided the opportunity for Tara to learn much about the aspects of various museum departments in addition to the main focus of learning how to be a Conservator and gaining hands-on experience in this field. Tara gained skills in: researching objects and their native tribes and cultures; documentation of objects including written descriptions, photography, condition reporting, and analytical information; image processing in Photoshop; database entry; proposing and performing treatment, with documentation of before, during, and after; Surface cleaning objects; Communication and discussions with other museum departments (collections, curatorial, design, mountmaking, and registration). Tara also got to meet many museum professionals throughout the summer by attending various workshops, lectures, and events. The entire experience was wonderful and enriching, and she is excited to maintain connections with the Conservation field at large, fellow CIBA and NMAI interns, and all of the NMAI and Smithsonian family.