Rembrandt in America: Meet Dana E. Cowen, Research Coordinator

Reflecting on the past nine months of my life, I would say that my role as Research Coordinator for the current exhibition Rembrandt in America has been one of the highlights of my graduate career. The opportunity to work on the first ever Rembrandt paintings exhibition held at the museum definitely began with my graduate education at Case Western Reserve University and the unique relationship the university shares with the museum. For the last 45 years, the museum and the department of Art History and Art at Case have worked together to educate and train young art historians by way of first hand study of the collection and through internship opportunities within various departments.

After earning my M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies at Case, I continued on as a doctoral candidate. I took full advantage of the school’s relationship with the museum and have been fortunate to intern and work in several areas, including the Registrar, Education, New Media, and Curatorial departments.

After interning for a semester with Jon Seydl, the curator of European Paintings and Sculpture, I began working during the summer of 2011 as the Research Coordinator on the Rembrandt in America exhibition, for which he was a co-curator.

Preparing for the exhibition’s arrival in Cleveland was incredible. My various tasks included drafting text for the exhibition labels and the brochure, helping with the interpretation of the material, and attending all sorts of meetings in multiple departments where pivotal decisions about the exhibition were made. I learned so much about the exhaustive efforts that go into putting an exhibition together and how collaborative the process is; people from every department of the museum spend time and energy to facilitate an experience that can be meaningful for visitors.

In addition to learning a great deal more about Rembrandt as a person and as an artist, this process has demonstrated the importance of teamwork and collaboration. I’m so proud to have worked on the exhibition with such talented people at the museum and I hope visitors will enjoy the show as I much as I do.

-- Dana E. Cowen
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