Maya Critchfield ’16 working as a Lunder summer intern in the Art of the Americas department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.Maya Critchfield ’16 working as a Lunder summer intern in the Art of the Americas department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Maya Critchfield’s summer internship at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) provided plentiful insight into the workings of one of the country’s major museums, and helped cement the idea that this was the right kind of work for her to be pursuing.

“Getting to work behind-the-scenes in a museum as big as the MFA was really eye-opening, both as a practicing artist and as a museumgoer. I would definitely like to work in a small museum setting at some point in my life from an educational and curatorial perspective,” Critchfield said. “I’m interested in how historical, social, and political information is presented through art in the museum environment.”

“Getting to work behind-the-scenes in a museum as big as the MFA was really eye-opening, both as a practicing artist and as a museumgoer” - Maya Critchfield ’16.

Critchfield grew up in southern Maine. At COA, she’s been studying visual communication and art, working mainly with fiber and textile arts and printmaking. Last summer Critchfield was a Lunder intern in the Art of the Americas department at the MFA. The Art of the Americas collects work that spans from pre-Columbian times through the late 20th century and is one of the museum’s largest permanent collections.

During her internship Critchfield worked on a number of different projects for senior curator Elliot Bostwick Davis. Her work involved researching children’s art and its relationship to modernism and the relationships between folk art and pop art. She also helped museum officials with their annual insurance audit and assisted curators preparing for and setting up new exhibits.

Maya Critchfield ’16 created this poster for COA's admissions office as part of a graphics design class.Maya Critchfield ’16 created this poster for COA's admissions office as part of a graphics design class.“I was very interested in learning about children’s art and folk art. Folk art is particularly important to me because of it’s origin in functionality. I have a long-standing passion for traditional arts, such as basket-making and quilting, so working on this project was a dream,” Critchfield said. “My favorite pieces of folk art are objects found around the farm and home such as weathervanes and boot-scrapers, made beautiful by untrained artists. Other more ‘domestic’ objects, like quilts, are also given more respect in the folk art world, which I love because they are often dismissed as art in other arenas.”

Critchfield is going to continue making, studying, and displaying art for her senior project, called Make/Wear/Mend. For this project she’s studying the importance of clothing and cloth throughout time, as well as their personal significance, and making pieces that reflect various themes that she’s found in her research, like memory, community, history, and the personal.

“Clothing is a great human connector in my mind and a beautiful way to talk about our relationships with each other and ourselves,” Critchfield said.

Make/Wear/Mend will be showing during week 4 of the spring term.