By Peter Klubek, Graduate Student Intern at the Museum’s Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library
Peter Klubek is an artist, instructor, and budding librarian from Illinois who interned at the Museum this spring as part of his coursework at the University of Southern Mississippi. Below is the final entry from the blog he kept while working at the Museum.
It has been a wonderful semester. I learned much about the creation of archives and the day-to-day operation of an art library. I have enjoyed my time at the Hanson Library and will remember this experience fondly.
Through my coursework I had read about archival organization and description, but it is one thing to read about it, and quite another to experience it first hand. When I first arrived and started to go through the boxes, it was fascinating to discover what I would find next. The documents, correspondence, ephemeral items, and exhibition catalogs all told a different story but added up to reveal the complete history of the Birmingham Museum of Art. Prior to this experience, I have never lived in Birmingham, or indeed Alabama. But reflection on working with this archive has given me an understanding of this organization and how it fits within the greater community of the city of Birmingham. From the struggles of the Birmingham Art Association in the early 20th century to create an art museum, through the current challenges of updating the museum website in the 21st, this institution would not thrive without the people providing an energy and a life source. People are at the core of libraries, museums, and archives, and it is this human factor that has the greatest significance in communicating history and intellectual development.