Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Unpaid graduate internships

Unpaid graduate internships

From: Vera Espinola-Beery <icona>
Date: Sunday, January 11, 2004
Unfortunately, I hadn't read Larry Shutts' post about "Unpaid
graduate internships", but I did read Richard McCoy's and Karen E.
Thomas' excellent articles on the same subject. As an "old" objects
conservator I would like to make a few comments. Firstly, I think
interns should be paid something. Hospital medical interns and
residents are now paid. They used to  work long hours and provide
the hospital with valuable services, for almost nothing. How do I
know? I was married to a hospital resident many years ago (he died
in 1991). I, also, worked as an unpaid intern at the Smithsonian's
Anthropology Conservation Lab under the late Carolyn Rose during the
heyday of conservation. I know that some of my fellow interns
suffered financially; I didn't because I was married to a doctor.

Years passed, and I was moved to a smaller city--St. Petersburg,
Florida. There are many museums here, but I might add, that not a
one knows what a conservator is, nor values the profession (although
I'm involved with many and have tried to tell them). They do know
what a curator is, though. Not even the local colleges know of
conservation. They know "restorers" and can relate to them (some
restorers from foreign countries call themselves "conservators"). I
salute those institutions in larger cities who know what
conservation is, but now I join the voices calling for paid

I think the AIC should have a massive educational campaign telling
the museums and colleges (in smaller cities) what conservation is.
Until this happens, I believe the graduate conservators (who have
spent money and time devoted to their profession) will find a dearth
of jobs ( low paying ) unless they settle for larger institutions in
large cities (still low paying). Why have I jumped into the fray?
Because, with an independent income, I can afford to.

That's the truth as I see it. Please educate me if I'm wrong.

Vera B.  Espinola-Beery, M.A.
Object Conservator in Private Practice
St.  Petersburg, Florida

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:50
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-50-002
Received on Sunday, 11 January, 2004

[Search all CoOL documents]