On most days at Wellesley, you could find Charlotte (Charlie) Kasper ’20 doing readings for her Art History and American Studies classes in Jewett or giving tours at the Davis Museum. The double major from Long Island, NY has been a student guide at the Davis since her first year at Wellesley, and also works as the Curatorial Research Assistant to Director Lisa Fischman. This summer, Kasper had the opportunity to share her passion for Art History and American Studies outside of the College, when she interned at the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met).
When searching for internships in the Spring, Kasper knew she wanted to work in New York City and gain curatorial experience. She made a list of her favorite museums, and went to each of their websites to learn more about their internship programs. “I went to the Met’s website and honestly thought it would be a longshot but decided to apply anyway,” Kasper said in an interview with The Wellesley News.
Months after applying to the Met, Kasper received a congratulatory email accepting her to the internship program. “My stomach dropped and I just couldn’t believe it. It was like I had been holding in all of this tension and then it was just gone,” she recalled.
She spent most of her time at the Met fact checking and editing the catalogue for an upcoming exhibition on Tiffany & Co. Silver. Kasper put the skills she acquired as a student guide at the Davis to use when she gave tours of the American Wing. However, for Kasper, one of the most valuable aspects of the internship was the weekly speaker series. Every Friday, interns attended a talk or a panel led by influential figures in the art world, many of whom worked at the Met.
Kasper said that the speaker series gave interns the chance “to ask tough questions and hear tough answers … We were able to engage with the political dimension of contemporary discourse in the art world.”
Ken Weine was one of Kasper’s favorite speakers in the series. After learning she was a Wellesley student, he connected her with alum Lulu Chow Wang. Chow Wang is a Wall Street pioneer who funded the construction and design of Wellesley’s campus center. Additionally, she is a trustee at the American Wing of the Met and is involved with the yearly event “Women and the Critical Eye.”
Kasper met Chow Wang at a cafe after work one day and said the alum’s passion for Wellesley “comes out in waves.” She has a special appreciation for Chow Wang’s program at the Met because it “highlights the importance of women as artists and collectors. There isn’t nearly enough emphasis on women collecting in the art world.”
Kasper recommends that students interested in curatorial internships “cast a wide net” and apply to several museums and types of positions. She added, “I would also recommend not discounting yourself. I realize looking back that the likelihood I was going to get an internship at the Met was small but really so much of it is up to chance in terms of what they need at the moment.”
Now that Kasper is back at Wellesley, there are several memories from the summer she cherishes. However, her favorite is the daily “golden hour” at the Met. This is the window from nine to ten where the museum is open only to employees of the famous museum.
“You’re walking through all the galleries and they’re completely empty. For that hour, it’s just you and the art,” Kasper said.