Perse pupil treasures Metropolitan Museum of Art internship experience
19 Aug 2019
Camillo Padulli (Year 11) had an “absolutely wonderful” experience during his summer internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York.
He spent a month working in the Greek and Roman department at the internationally-acclaimed museum after being fortunate enough to be offered the placement opportunity.
His placement began by researching three pieces from the MET’s Cypriot collection – two Cypriot bowls (“one of which left me utterly speechless”) and a Mycenaean-style vase (all pictured above) – which are set to be showcased at a forthcoming exhibition. He was given access to the museum’s collection of scholarly books and articles in the Onassis Library to carry out his investigation before writing up summaries about the objects for the department’s associate curator Kiki Karoglou.
Camillo then worked with department curator Sean Hemingway in creating a Powerpoint presentation for a future major Ancient Greek exhibition which was to be shown to the museum’s director. He also made valuations on certain objects going on loan to other museums by poring over recent auction catalogues and finding the prices of comparable pieces.
He said: “This was absolutely wonderful as it meant that I was exposed to a myriad of different pieces from different places in the Ancient Greek world. However, the very best part of this was that Sean even let me pick an object for the exhibition.
“I greatly enjoyed working with Kiki as she allowed me to research very interesting objects and to find out more about the museum’s collection. Working with Sean was a real pleasure as it allowed me to really see what goes into the running of a museum.”
Having loved the classics since he was a young child, Camillo said the internship had surpassed his expectations.
He said: “I have been able to get to research objects of truly astonishing quality and thus learn a great deal more about this fantastic collection. Moreover, I made contact with incredible people in the department and hopefully formed longstanding relationships.
“However, for me, by far the greatest aspect of the internship was being granted the ability to go around the museum before it opened to the public. I confess that I used this ability almost every day as being able to spend an hour-and-a-half in the museum, completely empty, was an unforgettable experience.”
Camillo felt he had discovered much from the internship and developed new skills along the way.
He said: “One of the most important things was learning exactly how a museum of such a size and magnitude is managed. However, I also feel that my written communication has been enhanced by having to write for the associate curator and even to contribute to a presentation that the director of the entire museum will see. These are probably the greatest skills I have learned, but my researching skills have also been greatly improved, as has my ability to analyse classical art.”