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NMSU Student Melissa Perez's Internship in DC

NMSU Student Melissa Perez's Internship in DC

Melissa Michelle Perez

Class of 2020

BA Anthropology (Archaeology)

BA Studio Art

Minor Museum Conservation

2023: Graduate-Level Certificate in Museum Studies 

Melissa Perez, a former Museum Conservation student currently pursuing a Graduate-Level Certificate in Museum Studies at NMSU, is continuing her pre-program path in preparation for applying to conservation graduate schools. She first spent the first half of this year as the Art Conservation Intern at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, working under conservator Shelley Smith. After her internship with Chinati ended, she attended the Andrew W. Mellon Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation one-week workshop offered by UCLA/Getty in Los Angeles. Since early July she has been working with the Objects Conservation department in the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) as their Gaines Advanced-Level Intern in Preventive Care and Objects Conservation and she will continue to do so until early January 2024.

Almost three months into her internship at SAAM she has participated in the cleaning and patina retouching of the Robert Emmet Memorial in NPS's Rock Creek Park; she has also taken part in gallery dusting sessions, creating examination reports and treatment proposals for a range of objects of different materials and sizes. She has also learnt how to conduct visible-light and multi-band imaging for documentation purposes as well as the fundamentals of storage housing and use those abilities to help re-house a large, multi-component artwork. Finally, she has been assisting the departmental Fellow with the dry-cleaning of components from artist James Hampton's "The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly."

For the duration of the rest of her internship, she will be working on (1) more outdoor sculpture cleaning (Roy Lichtenstein's "Modern Head" and Paseo artist Luis Jimenez's "Vaquero"!). (2) She will proceed with curator-approved treatments based on her treatment proposals. (3) She will continue her research on museum risk assessment and develop a customized plan that will complement existing documentation processes when examining SAAM's collections. (4) As an extension to risk assessment, she will develop a training program for our museum guards in the care of our collections. Finally, (5) she will take part in a planned community outreach program centered on the Hampton's Throne, in which she will act as the point of contact between the public and working conservators as they perform treatment to Throne components in real-time in gallery space.


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