2020 Research Interns reflect on the experience

In 2019 I started my summer internship at the Tower of Babel Internship. I didn’t wholly know what the experience would be like, but I was ready to take on whatever was thrown my way. Throughout my two years I have spent my time organizing and filing Cuban material history such as fashion, household wares, political paraphernalia, and much more. While classifying these objects I have been able to delve deeper into the usage and underlying messages ingrained in their history, many times spending an hour reading up on the origin of a specific object and learning more about other subjects than I could have ever expected. This year I was even given reading material that helped me better categorize and comprehend the importance of objects to material history, and understand abstract concepts based on how objects fit into different collections of items based on their duality. The best part of this experience is its give and take nature in which the effort you give in directly results in how much you benefit from it. All in all, I have learned so much from working at the Tower of Babel Internship and can not wait to learn more next summer.

Lila del Risco

As an aspiring art/art history student, I found this internship to be enlightening in a number of ways, both from the delve into museum curation and item cataloguing, to the fascinating look at how deeply objects and “things” are rooted in history and the development of societies governments, and power. This experience made me even more deeply interested in the further context of art history and material history. By looking at the context in which things are made and/or circulated in a particular place and time, we can extrapolate their meanings, and learn information about that place and time that we might otherwise not have access to. This is at the core of art and material history, and the reason I am so fascinated in both. The curation of collections is also very important in the world of art. Both of these were important themes in the Tower of Babel Internship, and were fascinating topics to delve into that gave me a deeper understanding of my career as an artist/art historian.

Sam Gomez
2020 research interns