This week was the beginning of our internships at the Iziko Museums! Our first day we met with Wandile, the education coordinator who set up our internships for the next month. We went over what the next month would look like for us as we worked with the Iziko museums and what types of activities and trips that was included. Wandile is a really interesting guy and it was fascinating hearing about the work he is doing and what he is researching as well as what he will be doing when he travels to the States soon. All the people we meet have so much to say and such intriguing work that they do, I love it!
We quickly visited the Bo-Kaap museum where a large Muslim population is located; this area was particularly cool because all the buildings are of a certain style. There are also rules such as ones that prevent building anything too tall that maintain the style and authenticity of the community. Afterwards Wandile showed us a nice place to grab lunch quickly before we went to see a show at the Planetarium at the South Africa Museum. After we saw two shows we went to meet Bradley, our supervisor for the next month at the Social History building.
The rest of that week we worked with Bradley and Janine (our other supervisor) at both Social History and the National Gallery. We did a LOT of sewing the first week! We were tasked to make mannequins and stands for a new exhibition that was going into the National Gallery. We also worked with Carol Kauffman who was the curator for the exhibition, she was very fun to work with because you can see just how passionate and excited she is about the artwork. I really enjoyed learning about the objects and art that we were helping display since she has a vast knowledge of everything.
The work we did was a little annoying at times because of how tedious it seemed to be because it was mostly sewing, but it was so rewarding when we finally were able to see the finished product! I had always wanted to work in or have an inside look at how a museum prepares these exhibitions and I never realized before just how much work and detail goes into this type of stuff.
On Friday we took a little field trip to the West Coast Fossil Park which is affiliated with the Iziko Museums. It was about a two hour drive and then we were at the Fossil Park! We went on a tour of the sites where they had been uncovering fossils and had stopped because they were finished. I was surprised by the high concentration of fossils in that one tiny area, there were so many just jumbled together! That trip was a really fun way to see the other side of what the Iziko museums do. This week has definitely already been filled with really eye-opening and educational experiences and I am learning so much more than I thought I would. I can’t wait to see what next week has in store for us!