U of A Museums Summer Internship Blog 2022: A New Chapter

Introducing Zoe Wagner - the 2022 University of Alberta Museums Summer Intern!

My name is Zoe Wagner and this summer I’ll be your regular blog host as I document my journey as the 2022 University of Alberta Museums’ Student Intern. A little about me: my family are white settlers of Eastern European descent from Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan but I grew up in the southern interior of British Columbia on Ktunaxa land. I’m glad to be back to the beautiful rolling plains of Treaty 6 and have called amiskwaciywâskahikan (Edmonton) home for the past 13 years. 

In the fall, I’ll be entering my final year of a BSc in human ecology, majoring in clothing, textiles, and material culture. This program has provided me with an introduction to object-based learning and textile conservation in a hands-on environment, allowing me to incorporate my interests in needlework, folk art, and human-centered design into an undergraduate degree. When I discovered that the U of A Museums was accepting applications for their summer internship I immediately jumped at the chance to flex my material culture muscles in a relevant field. 

Established in 2009, the University of Alberta Museums’ Student Internship in Museum Innovation is offered every summer to a senior undergraduate student looking to gain experience in a museum-related field. This internship is an excellent opportunity for students interested in object-based research, material culture, data management, and more in order to explore the connections between our studies and museum practices. 

Since coming to the U of A as a human ecology student I’ve had the opportunity to co-curate and design a virtual exhibition on African commemorative textiles with the Anne Lambert Clothing and Textiles Collection, which is where I fell head-over-heels in love with museum work. Now I get the chance to exercise my curation skills in some of the other UAM collections, as well as learn about other aspects of museum work like community engagement, conservation, and information and collections management. In particular, I’m hoping to get some project planning and more conservation experience under my belt as I prepare to pursue a master’s degree in human ecology when my undergrad degree is complete. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to begin my internship in a time of transition for UAM as we move into our new offices on the third floor of Rutherford South. As well, activities on campus are picking up as we safely navigate the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, which means the UAM team is busy catching up! It seems like I’ve signed myself up for an action-packed summer, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences over the next four months on this blog. Stay tuned for exciting projects from the Dentistry Museum Collection, Jim van Es Marine Invertebrate and Malacology Collection, Vascular Plant Herbarium, and more! 

Did you know: The UAM network has produced virtual tours of many of our collections? Walk through selected displays from the Paleontology Museum, Dinosaur Preparation Lab, Mineralogy & Petrology Museum, Rowan Lab of Zoology, W.G. Hardy Collection of Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Antiquities and the Anne Lambert Clothing and Textiles Collection.