To say that this was a pretty cool summer internship would be an absolute understatement. As one might guess, working inside the Vatican Museums makes for a truly incredible experience, but this summer with the Patrons of the Arts has truly exceeded all of my expectations. Seeing different restorations in progress in the Restoration Laboratories and the scaffolding of the Constantine room, exploring the nooks and crannies of less travelled areas in the museums, and following along guided tours through the museums, the gardens and the Santa Rosa Necropolis were just a few of the perks I thoroughly enjoyed over the past two months.
Though growing up I always enjoyed visiting art museums, this past summer has reignited my passion for art and art history as well as inspired a newfound interest in restoration and its importance. There’s nothing quite like the invigorating feeling of walking through the practically empty galleries just before or after the museums’ visiting hours or watching a restoration magically bring a piece back to life before your eyes. But the people, above all, are what have made working in the Patrons office so special.
I am incredibly grateful to have worked in an office with such wonderful people who are all clearly passionate about the Patrons’ mission and the work they are doing. As I return to Notre Dame for my final undergraduate year, I am already reminiscing about the moments spent with my colleagues and two fellow interns, whether it was collaborating on a particular assignment or just a quick chat over a caffè. But it’s not only the staff here that makes this organization so impressive; it’s also each of the patrons I met, who come from all over the globe, each with their unique perspective and reasons for joining the PAVM.
My primary responsibility this summer involved compiling data on completed restoration projects by connecting each work of art with its information (artist, date, geographic location, etc.), restoration summary, and funding source. In this process, I learned a great deal about the immense number and variety of projects made possible by the patrons as well as reinforced my understanding of the importance of conserving these works. I also had the opportunity to write articles, and translate and edit various documents ranging from technical restoration reports to the newsletter. With these projects, I deepened my knowledge of different aspects of the museums and restoration processes, and I expanded my Italian technical art lexicon. This was particularly fascinating as some words for restoration procedures or artistic descriptions just don’t quite translate into English or exist in Italian-English dictionaries.
Overall, this summer was especially fruitful both personally and professionally. I can’t say that I’ve totally figured out the layout of the Vatican, but I can say that each day I was truly wowed by some new detail or intricacy I had discovered.
I hope to return to Rome sometime in the near future so until then, arrivederci!