The Birmingham Museum of Art is happy to welcome the new Goodrich Intern, Kristen Pignuolo. Originally from Houston, Texas, Kristen has a background in art research after studying modern history and art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and receiving her masters degree in art history from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Throughout her studies, Kristen has specialized in 18th-century European decorative arts with a particular interest in examining the work from an anthropological perspective. Kristen looks forward to spending time in the BMA’s curatorial, education, registration, and development departments during her internship.
Medium: How has art impacted your life?
Kristen Pignuolo: From an early age, my parents took me to museums all over my hometown and museums in the cities we traveled to. When I was six years old, I vividly remember visiting the Louvre for the first time, and I boldly went and touched the Winged Victory. Thankfully, security did not see, and my mom quickly pulled me away! This experience at a young age kick-started my deep fascination with handling, viewing, and studying art. As I visited and experienced different types of museums at different stages of my life, I began to realize how impactful these institutions are. I particularly want to ensure that people have as enlightening and fun experiences as I have enjoyed in museums.
M: What made you apply for the Goodrich Internship?
KP: I hope to gain as much experience as possible in my next career step. I thought the Goodrich Internship was a great opportunity to see how four important departments of a museum work together in different ways to develop exhibitions, events, and fundraisers. The Goodrich Internship was one of the most well-rounded internships that I found!
M: What aspects of this internship are you excited about the most?
KP: I am specifically excited to experience the curatorial department from the forefront because I will be able to see the skills from my previous studies and research utilized. However, I’m finding that registration has also been a lot of fun because I unbox, catalogue, and handle the Wedgwood pieces. I loved studying porcelain in college, so my work with the registration department has been wonderful. More generally, I am excited to gain a complete picture of a museum’s year and particularly to see the BMA’s events for the year. I have had different internships with museums that only lasted a few months, and this internship will be my first time experiencing a museum’s full cycle. Finally, I look forward to seeing a project through to its completion.
M: What project are you currently working on at the Museum?
KP: Right now, I am working with the Buten Collection, which contains a large amount of the Wedgwood. I believe I will continue to work with that collection when I later move into curatorial.
M: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
KP: After being in school for so long, I have loved being able to utilize my knowledge in a professional setting. Although my studies have ended, my career is just beginning and I feel rewarded seeing my degrees get put to good use.
M: What is your favorite collection or piece of artwork at the BMA?
KP: I love the Wedgwood collection, of course. I also really like the BMA’s Native American collection because of the Museum’s inclusion of contemporary Native American artists and their work. Still, I just can’t pick a favorite!