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Seeing the photos in person was better, since before I had only seen tiny, pixelated images. It was really cool to see them in person and in detail. It was also interesting to see the objects outside of the gallery space. It almost took away the formality of a gallery space but at the same time I was still in awe of these photos.

Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Class of 2026

Photography and Tours

Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias at the Ackland Art Museum
Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias takes in a work by Richard Mosse at the Ackland Art Museum. Photo by Kourtney Diggs.

Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias knew she loved photography. The rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill also enjoyed leading tours as a student gallery guide at the Ackland Art Museum. So she decided to try a summer internship at the Nasher Museum.

“I was drawn specifically to do an internship because it was related to the aspects of museums that I am interested in,” she said. “Which was working with and learning from artworks and artists directly and how exhibitions create a conversation and tell a specific story.”

Ghita’s biggest project was to learn the role of curatorial assistant for a future  exhibition exploring the history of  photography through works in the Nasher’s collection. The idea for the exhibition came from a major gift of 1,521 photographs from Duke graduate Charles Googe (A.B. ‘84) and his wife Linda Googe; the photos are mostly from 1930 to 1990, with some from the 2000s and a few from the 1850s and 60s. Ghita learned how to create an exhibition checklist packed with information: title, photographer name, year, dimensions, thumbnail image and more. Throughout the process, she also took note of  potential groupings based on the photograph’s subject matter or photographer’s approach.

“I found out that a lot of photos are from New York City and Italy,” Ghita said. “There are a lot of diptychs and triptychs, documentary photography with photos of refugees workers and homeless people, a lot of photojournalism. There were photos of musicians, composers, celebrities, politicians—and landscapes and architecture, still lifes, news and advertisements.”

Above right photo by Kourtney Diggs.

Close Looking

Ellen Raimond, Ph.D., Associate Curator, and intern Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias explore photographs in study storage
Ellen Raimond, Ph.D. (left), Associate Curator, and intern Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias explore photographs in study storage.

After making headway on the checklist for the Googe gift, Ghita headed down to the museum’s study storage  to see the photographs in person. There, Ghita worked with Ellen Raimond, Ph.D., Associate Curator of Academic Initiatives. They opened box after box of photos to look at each one carefully and “rate” them, to whittle down the final checklist to about 60 photographs. They considered subject matter, composition and print quality. They wanted the final checklist to represent work by a variety of photographers, too.

Ghita also researched several photographers, including Leonard Freed, Danny Lyon, Bill Owens and Lloyd Ullberg. As she heads into her second year at UNC Chapel Hill, she plans to lead tours again at the Ackland Art Museum and take more classes in history and photography.


I still have a lot to learn. I'm excited to explore more of about the local arts community and expand my knowledge of contemporary art and exploring more opportunities and museum work. I'm still not completely set on a certain field or path, but I'm interested in curatorial and museum education. I'm interested in being able to get to know artists and work with them directly, and my experience in working with the Googe gift gave me a look into certain responsibilities and tasks that go into that role.

Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias

Internships for Non-Duke Students

Summer 2023 interns visit Cassilhaus
Summer 2023 interns visit Cassilhaus: (from left) Abigail Hartemink, Duke Class of 2025; Kourtney Diggs, North Carolina Central University Class of 2025; Eliza Henne, Duke Class of 2024; Ghita Basurto-Covarrubias, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Class of 2026.

This summer, Ghita was awarded an Academic Initiatives Internship, a paid position for eight weeks.

In 2019 the Nasher Museum was one of 10 museums selected to host a paid summer internship program for college students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in pursuing careers in art museums. Intended to increase the diversity of those working in our institutions to better support the diverse communities being served, the pilot program was launched by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) with additional funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts. From this beginning step, Duke graduate David Arthur (A.B. ’88, P’21) had made a crucial gift allowing this exciting paid internship to continue at the Nasher. Every summer a different Nasher department hosts an intern.

The Nasher Summer Internship program is a cohesive program overseen by the museum’s Academic Initiatives Department.

Ellen Raimond, Ph.D., Associate Curator of Academic Initiatives, and Gabrielle Tenedero, Museum Educator for Student Engagement, have professionalized the internship program that starts with matching students with supervisors in the marketing, education, curatorial, registrar and development departments. Students participate in professional development workshops and get to know one another and Nasher staff during lunch meetings, outings to nearby art museums and galleries and other activities that give them a glimpse into a museum career.

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