Art History Major Megan Doss Helps Promote Local and National Metalsmiths

Art History major Megan Doss ’14, who is a graduate of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, TN, has been learning about metal as an artistic medium through her internship at the Metal Museum located south of Downtown Memphis. The museum has offered Doss a unique gallery experience with it being the only institution in the country devoted exclusively to the preservation and promotion of fine metalwork.

Metalwork itself is such a distinct craft in that it is both artistic and functional. Thus, the museum’s services extend beyond providing exhibitions of fine metalwork to offering demonstrations by local metalsmiths and selling their work in its store as well as hosting repair days in which the public can bring broken or fragmented metal items for metalsmiths from across the country to repair.

Doss can attest to the intricacy of the craft firsthand as she has seen these demonstrations many times. Having recently worked on a repair day, she met metalsmiths from across America and saw them at work. She says, “Sometimes you don’t really think about the labor that is involved in making art, and you just see the end result. With metal, however, you can really tell how much work has gone into each piece which makes it really special.”

The Metal Museum also helps to further the careers of young metalsmiths by hosting them as apprentices who live on the property, produce pieces for the museum and grounds, and help with repairs. The museum also features a “Master Metalsmith” each year who excels in the field. Doss has participated in the recruiting of these professionals by researching the artists. While Doss is still deciding her future career endeavors, she says that her time at the Metal Museum has made her more passionate about potentially working in a museum setting after graduation. 

Museum Store Manager Virginia Fisher says, “Working for the Metal Museum is an opportunity to be a part of something special; we are the only institution like this in the world. I like working here because, as a metalsmith, I get to learn from all the artists and shows, and to help other metalsmiths make a living by selling their work.”

Doss says the Metal Museum will have a holiday show on Dec. 8 from noon to 5 p.m., and she encourages the community to attend in order to “see the current exhibition and get some holiday shopping done.” She adds, “The holiday show is a great chance for Memphians to see and purchase contemporary metalwork, including jewelry, ornaments, and sculpture from talented artists found locally and nationally. What’s more, there will be a new exhibit on display featuring metal toys and games.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Sophie Anderson ’15)