After graduation, art history major Lila Reid ’20 will spend the year as an intern at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts. The paid opportunity will provide her with the experience necessary to study art conservation at the graduate level.
How did you learn about this internship?
I had been looking for conservation internships, and I found this particular one through one of my professors. I took the American Art History class with Michael Shapiro ’71 [former longtime director of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art], and through him, I got in contact with people there.
What will you be doing?
I’ll be working in the furniture department, helping my supervisors with projects that they get in and learning how to do different techniques. The objects I will help conserve at Williamstown come from different places — some of them are from clients with private collections, some are from other institutions, so it depends on the object.
Do you want to go into the art field after the internship?
This is a pre-program internship, so it’s before graduate school. I’ll see if I feel like I’m ready to apply to graduate school or continue to get more experience before that.
Major: art history; minor: art
Hometown: New York City
High school: The Beacon School
How long have you been interested in the arts?
I came into Hamilton wanting to be a biology and English major, and then I found out about art conservation, probably at the beginning of my sophomore year. I liked doing art, but I wasn’t set on being an artist, so I wasn’t sure what to do with that. I liked science, as well, and there’s a big chemistry component in conservation.
What have you done at Hamilton that has enhanced your interest in the arts?
I really enjoy taking art history and art classes. I would say that all of those classes really helped. I also took a lot of Italian classes to go abroad, and some of the cultural aspects from those classes applied to the things I’m interested in art-wise.
What did you do while abroad in Italy?
I did a lot of art history. I also took some restoration courses.
Have you had any summer internships in the arts?
The summer after my sophomore year, I interned at the Met museum in the conservation department, so that kind of solidified my interest. Last summer, I spent a few weeks on campus working on the Elias Sime sculpture [at Hamilton’s Wellin Museum of Art].
Have any particular professors or classes influenced you?
I really did like the American Art class last semester. We did a lot of interviews with museum professionals, and it was really cool getting that outside-of-class experience with people who are actually in these fields rather than textbook readings.
Has anything during your time at Hamilton surprised you?
People ask, “If you were to do it again, would you choose Hamilton?” My answer is definitely yes, which is kind of surprising, to be so content, to feel so strongly about that.
What will you miss most about Hamilton?
Everyone being in the same place to do the same thing: learn. I think that’s really cool.
What are you most looking forward to after you graduate?
Getting some real-world experience is very valuable.
What advice would you give your freshman-year self?
It all works out. Because it all works out, don’t be afraid to try different things.