Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Chua Pei Wen

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 


Chua Pei Wen is a year 4 History student at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She was involved in research and documentation of curatorial projects related to photography during her time here as our Photographic Projects intern.

“Ding” – the sound of a new email. It was the NUS museum internship application form. I had always been interested in visiting museums but never understood how a museum works so I thought having an internship at a museum would allow me to understand the groundwork of a museum better. 

“Ding” – the sound of an email sent. I sent the email to the NUS museum, which contained my application form.  

In the blink of an eye, my internship at the NUS museum came to an end. It seems like it was only yesterday when I first stepped into the office on the first day of my internship. For the past thirteen weeks, I was a photographic curatorial research intern helping my supervisor, Chang Yueh Siang, with her projects. Throughout this journey, I’ve learnt new skills, gained new knowledge and had a lot of fun. Now, the journey of my internship has come to an end. It is just a few more days before I return to school for my final year. As I sit on my chair typing this blog post, I am reflecting on my journey. Memories and memories flash through my mind, and as dramatic as it may sound, it is like watching a film – a short film. 

 Last day of internship

This journey was meaningful and enriching, one that provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn. I decided to pen my journey of the internship with a verse/poem, something I occasionally do whenever I feel stressed or bored.

The Journey

Today, my last day,
as I clear my desk filled with books;
memories cross my mind.

Back then, I made a decision,
to learn about the back scenes of the museum
which I discovered with curiosity.

I remember the days,
as I sat in the office researching and collating information.
Opening tab after tab,
reading article after article,
researching for my projects.
That battle might be hard,
but the end is fruitful.

I remember the days,
as I sat in the library battling the dusty old archival materials.
Flipping through book after book,
reading line after line,
extracting crucial information.
Learning all about curatorial research,
which is meaningful.

I remember the days,
as I crafted my response essay for an exhibition’s proposal, titled “Searching for Jules”.
Analysing picture after picture,
typing line after line,
Penning down my thoughts
I was never afraid, as my supervisor,
deconstructed and reconstructed my essay.

I remember the days,
as I walked around the different museums in Singapore.
Looking at artwork after artwork,
walking through exhibit after exhibit,
appreciating other curators’ shows.
I learnt that to
curate a show is never easy.

I remember the days,
as we had our fortnightly discussions after the museum trips.
Sitting in the meeting room with my fellow interns,
discussing showafter show,
presenting perspective after perspective.
As we exchanged our views,
I learnt to see things from a different angle.

Now, as I walk through an exhibition
appreciating the roles of the curators,
their voices sing behind the show.

This, my last task,
as I submitthe blogpost,
this chapter comes to an end.

 Final product of my response essay

 One of our museum trips – Lee Kong Chian Natural History museum

Before I end this post, I would like to sincerely thank Siang, Michelle and the rest of the NUS Museum team who were so warm and welcoming towards us. Lastly, I also wish to extend my gratitude to my fellow intern friends who made my experience here a very enjoyable one!


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