Through the Studio Institute program, I had the pleasure of interning at the Lippitt House Museum as their collection and research intern. What interested me about the Lippitt House was its effort to preserve the rich cultural history of Rhode Island through the exploration of a single family. During this internship, I used original archival sources and secondary sources to create a comprehensive catalog and research report on the Lippitt family’s painting collection. The Lippitt family collected paintings primarily made by New England artists from local exhibitions, auctions, as well as commissioned original portraits of family members. The Lippitt family’s art collection revealed a lot about their priorities. The family’s art collection demonstrated their support of New England artists and their involvement in the growing artistic culture of America.
My experience at Lippitt House Museum allowed me to have a better understanding of the daily functions of a historic institution. Throughout my internship, I had to manage a lot of information from different sources. Research and collection projects require a lot of attention; it is essential to keep the information clear and relevant to the institution. At Lippitt House Museum, I learned how historic institutions help ignite meaningful observations and questions among their visitors. The museum proves that historic institutions are not just containers of the past, but safe spaces for diverse and participatory dialogue on our history and current events. It was an honor being able
to contribute to this institution.
Two Hummingbirds Guarding an Egg, Martin Johnson Heade. Image from a private collection.