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2018 Katzenberger Cohort Gives Capstone Presentations

Posted on Aug 9, 2018 by in The OFI Blog |

2018 Katzenberger Cohort with Karen Carter

The 2018 Katzenberger Art History Internship Cohort closed the 10-week internship experience with each of the six interns giving a final presentation on her or his respective project on Thursday, August 9th. Brianne Chapelle, Sarah Cho, Lindsey Flax, Nico Quesada, Cecilia Ratke, and Luke Tokman (in alphabetical order and introduced in an earlier blog post), gave overviews of the projects on which they worked and expanded upon what they learned throughout their tenure at the Smithsonian.

Luke Tokman opened the morning by describing his complex and rewarding research interning with mentor Susan Smith, at the National Postal Museum (NPM) answering the question, Are Stamps Art? Luke’s careful and thoughtful conclusion after weeks of detailed research and interviews was “no” — stamps are graphic art, which generated much discussion from the audience. Read more about Luke’s project in his own words here.

Luke Tokman presents, with mentor Dr. Susan Smith looking on.

Lindsey Flax presented next, discussing all the work she did in her internship project “All Access Public Engagement” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG) with Tiffany McGettigan as her mentor. Lindsey’s important work in her internship involved increasing access to and enjoyment of HMSG’s contemporary art exhibits for people of all abilities. She even introduced “Pepper” — HMSG’s friendly robot who lends a (mechanical) hand in this endeavor.

Lindsey Flax


Third to present was Brianne Chapelle, who interned with mentor, Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye  at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH) on the The Crafts of African Fashion. Brianne described assisting with the Smithsonian’s annual Folklife Festival where a variety of artisans and craftspeople from various countries in Africa showcased their work in weaving, leather work, and textiles, even collaborating with U.S. fashion designers. You can read more about Brianne’s project in her own words here. You can also listen to a NPR “Goats and Soda” feature on Soumana Saley, a leather craftsman from Niger who was one of the artisans at year’s Folklife Festival.

Brianne Chapelle

Cecilia Ratke followed next, presenting on her internship at with Lisa Palmer at National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) on the Fabulous Fish: Illustrations and Images project. Cecilia’s project involved a high level of detail cataloging and organizing fish illustrations from the museum’s extensive collection.

Cecilia Ratke

Next up was Nicolas (Nico) Quesada, who interned with mentor Alessandro Bianchi at the Freer|Sackler (F|S) on the Tracing Ownership: Discovering the Past Lives of Japanese Illustrated Books project. Nico, needing to work in several languages, researched the provenance of the museum’s exquisite collection of illustrated books.

Nico Quesada

Last but not least, Sarah Cho discussed her experience at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) on the Museum Education Department Research Project. With Judith Hollomon overseeing the project, Sarah worked with several SAAM curators and education staff on ways to expand and diversity museum narratives as well as developing assessment techniques for surveying museum-goers on their experiences. Read more about Sarah’s project in her own words here.


Sarah Cho

Many thanks to the mentors who were able to attend the final presentations, to all the mentors for their hard work with these fantastic interns, and to the Katzenberger Foundation for their continued support of this important program.