This year, the History of Art Internship Programme at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) has placed almost 50 students in different galleries, museums, archives and libraries across Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In this, the second in a series of articles focusing on the interns and their placements, we talk to Anna Buck and Joe Lee, both of whom are studying on our Renaissance and Early Modern Studies - MSc programme.

Anna Buck is originally from the small city of Hereford in England; Joe Lee from Boston in the USA. Their backgrounds are quite different, with Anna having studied English Literature for her first degree, and Joe doing History with a minor in Religious Studies.

The two students met on our MSc programme in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and have been working together since November 2015. We asked them about their reasons for choosing the programme…

Anna: “I decided to do my MSc at Edinburgh because it’s not only a respected university, but situated in such a unique and vibrant city, full of opportunities for anyone interested in the arts.

My programme was particularly attractive as it allowed me to specialise in the Renaissance period without being restricted, as its interdisciplinary nature encourages you to try modules from across the humanities”.

Joe: “I chose Edinburgh because of the reputation of its history programme and the University itself, and the desire to study European history while actually in Europe.

As my field is the Italian Renaissance, the fact that Edinburgh is the only university with a dedicated Renaissance Studies programme was huge to me”.

The Surgeons’ Hall Museums

The students’ internship is in Surgeons’ Hall Museums, where the fascinating collections - including bone and tissue specimens, artefacts and works of art - have been open to the public since 1832.

Specifically, they have been working in the Wohl Pathology Museum, home to one of the largest and most historic collections of surgical pathology in the world. 

As Anna explains…

“Our main task is cataloguing all the objects (the specimens on display in the gallery) and then updating the information on the Museum’s database so the public can come in and access that information on interactive screens.

What’s been most enjoyable is learning some practical skills from people that are actually in the field and things that we can take forward with us in the future”.

As Joe puts it…

“It’s been great to get practical, real-world experience, get outside of the classroom and learn something hands-on… things that can further develop our career skills after our programme ends”.

While undertaking their internship, Anna and Joe have been supervised by Rohan Almond, Assistant Curator. He says of the placement…

“We have been running an internship programme with ECA for three years now and the work that the students have carried out has been invaluable.

They have worked on a wide variety of projects and produced a tremendous amount that simply would not have been possible without them. Quite a number of objects students catalogued in the stores feature in our new redisplay, opened in September 2015.

This year’s interns, Anna and Joe, have been fantastic. By the end of their time with us, they will have photographed and enhanced the records of over a thousand specimens on display in the Pathology Gallery, much to the benefit of both the public and the institution. 

We look forward to working with many more interns on this programme in the future”.

Are you interested in studying Renaissance and Early Modern Studies?

Find out more about our MSc programme.