Behind the scenes of an art history intern at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome

Author: Tiddens, Giulia


Kendra Lyimo is currently enrolled in the spring 2023 Rome International Scholar program. As part of the program, she is interning at the Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for Art History which promotes scientific research in the field of Italian and global history of art and architecture. Lyimo is an undergraduate student majoring in Art History with a secondary major in Global Affairs and minors in Africana Studies and Italian. 

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Her internship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana was the ideal fit for her wide range of interests and it has thus been her favorite part of studying abroad so far. Thanks to this experience, she is learning to look through a variety of sources and ways to research which has also helped her see additional career prospects in the art world. 

The Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute, is a collection of over 80 institutions mainly focused in Germany. In Rome, the Bibliotheca is located right above the Spanish Steps in a stunning location and it is home to over 360.00 titles solely dedicated to Art History.

"I love my internship, it’s honestly been one of my favorite parts of studying abroad so far,” comments Lyimo.“The staff that I have been working with is very supportive and helpful in terms of pointing out artists that I should look at, and places that I should go to in Rome. It has been a real sort of well-rounded experience where it’s not just something that is confined to the walls of the institution but also going beyond and changing my experience overall for the semester.

While interning, Lyimo serves as a scientific guest. The institute is composed of multiple different research units and Lyimo is part of a smaller one focusing on a project titled "Decolonising Italian Visual and Material Culture from Nation Building to Now.” 

"One of my favorite parts of this internship was the visit to the Museo delle Civiltà in Rome with one of the members of my research group,” says Lyimo. “We were looking through different medals from fascist and colonial periods in Italy that would speak to the interactions between Italy and Africa. It was such a great opportunity to see how research is not just confined to looking at books and searching through websites but it can go further and also interact with other museums.” 

The Bibliotheca Hertziana is a special location where Notre Dame students can intern. Although it is located in the center of Rome, it is a German art institute and this connotes it as a multicultural work setting. 

“This has been a very informative experience to see that there are fellowships and opportunities for Art History graduates that aren’t directly related to working in museums or doing art research and becoming a professor.” concludes Lyimo.“They might utilize those same skills but also allow you to see a different side of art history. I would highly recommend  seeing that there are more options out there.”

Watch the video interview for more details and to get a better sense of the Bibliotheca Hertziana spaces.

Learn more about internship opportunities in Rome.


Originally published by Tiddens, Giulia at on March 16, 2023.