Posting Date: September 15, 2010
KSU student targets future with museum internship
Addie Gant gains valuable experience at Carlos Museum
By Karen L. Jensen
Photo by Sarah Singleton
Addie next to the masks that she helped properly identify
Photo courtesy of Addie Gant
Kennesaw State University student Addie Gant has a clear perspective of her future, and she is utilizing the resources available to KSU students to grasp it. The painting and drawing junior spent the summer authenticating and researching the history of African works of art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.
Gant looks not only to her own bright future but wants to steer others toward a more informed and better future. “I want to focus on ancient art history because art historians preserve the past so we can learn how to handle our future. It is the only way we have to peek into past cultures,” says Gant.
KSU Assistant Professor of Art History Jessica Stephenson, who also serves as curator of African art for the Carlos Museum, encouraged Gant to delve into museum life by offering her a summer internship. “I designed an internship specifically with Addie’s goals in mind making sure to introduce her to the key skills museum curators need—authentication, academic research and writing, and day-to-day curatorial skills,” says Stephenson.
Gant’s passion for art history transfers from classroom to application in the art world. “I have had an official taste of museum work, and the experience definitely confirms that I am on the right path,” comments Gant. She adds, “All of the art professors at KSU are so gung ho to help you do whatever you want. It is inspirational.”
The most rewarding task for Gant was utilizing the research methods she learned at KSU to recover the lost history of two African art pieces in the museum’s permanent collection. Gant identified a beaded cape from South Africa and a bird mask from Burkina Faso. She also confirmed, using various scientific techniques, Stephenson’s hunch that a mask from Liberia has additions made to the surface. The mask, therefore, is not being displayed as part of the collection. “It was like playing detective,” says Gant.
Gant intends to continue having fun and working hard until she achieves a doctorate. At that point, her slice of the ancient art history world is hers to craft as curator, art conservator or academic. “One thing is for sure,” says Gant. “Regardless of my exact career choice, I will always work in a museum because that is my true love.”