#6 Giving Talks

Today I’m going to talk about an very important part of our internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection: giving talks. Every month, each intern is required to give a designated number of talks to visitors as a component of the services that the museum offer. The talks include 10-minute talks, which we can select a piece of work that we like in the collection, Peggy talks, a 30-minute talk on Peggy Guggenheim’s life, 15-minute talk on one of our temporary exhibition, “1948: The Biennale of Peggy Guggenheim”, and another 30-minute talk on “Josef Albers in Mexico”, another temporary exhibition. The preparation of these talks require extensive research on the artists, the works in the collection, and the museum’s history. In order to make the talks more interactive and appealing, we would also print out relevant images in a folder that serve as visual clues both for ourselves and the listeners as well.

Ten minutes before our talks, we would announce in the galleries and gardens so that the visitors are aware of this resource to aid their museum experience. At first, doing talks seems a bit intimidating, especially for those who are very shy and not used to do public speaking. However, we improve every time by listening to the talks by our fellow interns and by gradually learning more about the collection. The applauses that groups of visitors give after our talks also serve as a great encouragement.

My first talk was at the beginning of June, when I did a painting called the Room by the American painter William Baziotes. The work was in a bad location and I was not confident at all that anyone would come and hear my talk. I announced in the galleries, and only an American couple whose son went to Michigan stayed when I started. But to my surprise, when I finished my talk and looked up, I had a whole room of listeners, all looking interested and engaged. I got a big applause at the end, and even when I was at the entrance later in the day, some of my audience come to me personally and thanked me for my talk. That was my first experience, but it was the most memorable one, and I grew more confident in speaking publicly in my subsequent talks.

I can’t believe that time passes by so quickly. Tomorrow, I will be doing my 13th, and also my second last talk during my internship on “Josef Albers in Mexico”. I have noticed how the opportunities to give these talks in the museum have really transformed my ability to conduct academic research and to communicate with a large audience in an interactive manner.

2 thoughts on “#6 Giving Talks

  • July 20, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Julia,

    It’s great to hear that you’re able to take so much responsibility at the museum so far! Congratulations on completing so many talks. Do you feel like your presentation and public speaking skills have improved since you’ve started doing the Peggy talks? As your internship starts winding down this could be a great time to start thinking about how the tasks and responsibilities you’ve had can be talked about in professional settings and in resumes/cover letters. Your research and presentation skills could definitely be featured in materials like that!

    Are there any exciting things you’d like to do in your last few weeks in Venice?

    Best of luck!

    – Danielle

    • July 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      Definitely! I feel more confident conveying information to people in a more professional way, but is at the same time accessible and interesting. For sure I would start including these skills in my CV/cover letters.

      In Venice, there was the Redentore Feast last Saturday (July 14th), and we all saw the fireworks and celebration by the St. Mark’s Basin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *