Seven Questions with Elena Vaamonde, Work-Study Student at Rollins Museum of Art

By on February 19th, 2024 in Education, Uncategorized

As an academic museum, we know how essential hands-on experience is for developing the skills necessary for a successful career. Rollins Museum of Art is proud to offer work-study positions to Rollins College students like Art History and Classical Studies major Elena Vaamonde (’24). Read on to learn more about Elena’s experience as a Collections and Exhibitions Management Work-Study student at RMA.

How long have you worked with RMA?

Since my freshman year, so almost 4 years now. I am currently working on finishing up Art History and Classical Studies with a minor in Archaeology.

Why did you choose Rollins Museum of Art for a work-study position?

I’ve always been very interested in art, and I always loved visiting museums, so the fact that we had a museum on campus, I thought, was really amazing and super cool. I liked that it was small because I realized that I had an opportunity to really get to learn from everyone who worked there, not just the department that I was going to work-study for. This was great for me because I have always been interested in learning more about museum work and what goes on behind the scenes.

Were you interested in the arts as a child?

Yes, I was! My mom would take my sister and I to museums all the time when we were little, teaching us about the impressionists and Picasso and Alexander Calder. I’ve always loved our museum trips. I also was a big fan of archaeology as a kid, but it was more that I loved the history shows about Egypt and the big shiny Egyptian art book found in book fairs. I always loved learning about the stories and history behind pieces of art and objects, and how much we can really learn about cultures, history, and civilizations from art if you know where to look.

What aspect of the job have you liked the most?

I have really enjoyed being a part of the exhibition show changes. I think it’s very interesting to see exactly how the gallery spaces transform in between each show, as well as the thought and curation aspect of it. I also have enjoyed learning how to handle different types of art. I’ve helped move, show, condition report, and take inventory of sculptures, prints, paintings, and objects which has been really cool to learn how to do.

What aspect of the job did you find the most challenging?

Moving the heavy pieces and all the math that goes behind hanging the art pieces on the walls during installations.

What are your career aspirations?

I am currently thinking about working and getting a master’s in library sciences and becoming a librarian. However, I want to use my experience from the museum in handling art work and work as an archival librarian, as museum archives or library archives.

Do you have a favorite work-study experience?

One of the coolest experiences from working at the museum was when I was also in the art history capstone class, which was to put together an exhibition at the museum: In Our Eyes: Women’s, Nonbinary, and Transgender Perspectives from the Collection

I was working with Austin [Reeves, RMA Collections and Exhibitions Manager] and Nick [Manders, RMA Lead Preparator] in Collections Management, and it was fun to be working hands on, on a show that I was putting together with my classmates. I was really able to understand everything that goes on when putting together an exhibition at a museum, from researching, to curating, to painting the paint samples for the walls.

Support Students like Elena This Giving Day

Thanks to donor support The Rollins Museum of Art can offer students like Elena the opportunity to graduate with professional, hands-on experience. Make your dollars count extra on Giving Day, Tuesday, February 20, 2024. When 50 donors give to the Rollins Museum of Art, Jeremy Lang ’68 and Lynn Stern will donate $25,000 to the museum. 

Get involved

Rollins Museum of Art provides hands-on opportunities that engage college students. Visit our website for more details.

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