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The Irresistible Lure of Looking Closely


Holly Broussard helps visitors to the Siskind Center to explore works in the collection.

While many students who intern at the RISD Museum work quietly behind the scenes, Graphic Design major Holly Broussard enjoys her constant interaction with visitors to the Siskind Center for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, a resource for students, classes and individual researchers interested in works in the museum’s largest collection. She is responsible for pulling selected works for classes as well as for individuals, helping everyone to handle the fragile and valuable works with the care needed.  

Broussard’s favorite part of working in the Siskind Center is sharing the intimate atmosphere in which visitors are allowed to savor the art she helps them access. “It’s a slow process as opposed to everything else around here,” the intern says. “It’s kind of therapeutic to be surrounded by such priceless artwork and to be able to take your time with it.” At the end of a long day, she tries to take five minutes herself to indulge her own interest in close examination of selected pieces. 

In addition to her public role in the Siskind Center, Broussard is responsible for doing research and providing background information on the images in the collection. She assists Jan Howard, curator of the Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, in a variety of ways, helping to prepare for future exhibitions as well as for classes that come in weekly.  

It was a lecture by Howard that first motivated Broussard to apply for the Museum Fellows program. “The way she talked about travel and working with Pat Steir, the featured artist in the show she had just mounted, really inspired me,” Broussard recalls. In fact, it inspired her so much that she’s now seriously considering a curatorial career in the future. “When you visit a museum, you just see the works,” Broussard points out. “You don’t really pay attention to what happens to make those works available. Now, there’s a definite possibility that I could be a part of that.”

related links: 

Graphic Design 

RISD Museum 


tags: Graphic Design, History of Art + Visual Culture, internships, research, RISD Museum, students

The façade of the Chace Center, a new multipurpose hub that opened
in 2008, offers an interesting contrast to the historic campus
buildings that surround it.