I originally began researching museums in Tokyo over this past winter break, long before I realized or had begun thinking about the fact that we would be engaging in internships during my study abroad program. Motivated mainly by the desire to stay in Japan longer, specifically over the summer, I emailed a number of museums in hopes of finding a summer internship, and received almost entirely responses letting me know there was no internship program or anything of the sort; the single positive response I received came from Suginami Animation Museum.

Because of my coincidental knowledge that Suginami was not only willing to accept an intern but is near enough to ICU that I could commute there, I was able to secure the internship when it came time for all of us one-semester students to choose our community engagement activities. This turned out to be very lucky for me, because rather than choosing from a pre-approved list of locations, I had the opportunity to work in an environment that was truly and genuinely exciting to me in every way. Because of my interest in Suginami, my internship was not only greatly enjoyable, but became an experience that I believe will aid me in future pursuits back in the US.

First of all, I was able to learn the information offered by the exhibits and workshops at Suginami, not only once but on multiple occasions throughout my activities there. I stood in at school group workshops, aiding staff members but also learning the material being taught to the students. Additionally, I was given the chance to learn from staff members how to make simple animations using the equipment in the museum. Not only that, but working in the main exhibition room allowed me to retain all of the historical information displayed and learn about the history of Japanese animation as well as its ties to Western animation, a phenomenon that I’ve also studied in my coursework at Wellesley and which I’m extremely interested in.

Besides learning historical and methodical information about animation that will aid me in my studies in the future, I was able to gain a new perspective on management and organization of the museum environment. Working at the Davis Museum at Wellesley entails that I thoroughly understand the establishment, from the building itself to the works within it to the structure of logistical work. Interning at Suginami gave me insight to a museum that functions very differently from the Davis, but which employs equally effective methods of teaching and displaying information and artwork, which I might bring back with me to use as comparison. Overall, my time at Suginami was not only personally enjoyable, but will become an important experience to me as I move forward in my educational and professional endeavors.

             

Section of the Davis Museum                   Section of Suginami Animation Museum

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