Elevator, Myself and I

I’m pretty sure everyone knows the feeling when butterflies are in their stomach. I thought it would last a day or so, but my stomach almost exploded because it lasted for a good whole week. Day one at the Asian Art Museum felt like freshmen year all over again. Knowing myself and strangers, I’m not very good at socializing and looking people in the eyes. But one day, I realized the reason why I was so nervous stepping inside the haunted museum. It had to do with the elevator.

One interesting thing I observed in the museum is that their is only one elevator in the whole entire museum. Instead of meeting staff and guests in the galleries and offices, interestingly, I met most of them in the elevator. People would  ask me questions like “Where are the bathrooms? Or “Are you the new intern?” I freaked out. My first plan was to shove myself in the corner of the elevator, but I was always a floor too late. Plan B came along and I decided to make an “elevator” speech. Within a minute, I decided to prepare an introduction about myself with as much relevant information. Today, I walk inside the museum with my head up high.

I never knew how fun learning and working at a museum would be. Having over 18,000 collections and an amazing staff, I could not have asked for a better place to be. Being in the Education department is really fun and different because there are always new things I take away from this place such as inputting data, handing out tickets, scanning paperwork, and even going to meetings.  This job experience is really easygoing, especially because my mentor Caren Gutierrez is always there for me. However at the same time, my profile is professional when I am listening in meetings and working with children.

On my free times, such as Mondays when the museum is not opened, it feels like I literally have the whole museum to myself. Sometimes on breaks, I take my time walking around the museum, never getting tired of seeing the same objects every single day. When the museum is opened to the public, I try to go on children storytelling groups because the stories are so fun and interactive.

One of the biggest projects I worked on was the Kizuna(bond) project commemorating  the second anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan. Kizuna is an exchange program between America and Japan, to experience the different cultural lifestyles and spread an awareness of the earthquake. I was coincidently was lucky enough to represent Kizuna at George Washington High School and at the Asian Art Museum, too!

So I thank my mentor Caren Guterriez, the elevator, and all the staff at the Asian Art Museum for treating me with so much love and support in overcoming my fears.

– Blog written by YouthWorks Intern Jenny Choi