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AAMD Announces Museum Partners for New Internship Program

11 Feb 2019 10:30 AM | Richard Harker (Administrator)

AAMD Announces Museum Partners for New Internship Program Focused on College Students From Underrepresented Communities

New York, NY

October 31, 2018

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) today announced the selection of its 10 art museum partners for its internship program focused on undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. These 10 museums, all AAMD members, were chosen from a group of more than 50 applications submitted throughout the summer. Partner museums for this pilot year of the program were chosen based on several factors, including: the proposed project focus for the participating intern; geographic diversity, representing a range of communities across the United States; and type of institution, including those with an encyclopedic collection, and those with a focus on modern and contemporary art. This initiative is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as additional financial and logistical support from AAMD and the participating member museums.

The 10 participating institutions are:

  • Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, with an internship program focused on experiences in the Curatorial and Education departments, contributing research and assistance for an upcoming exhibition, and developing off-site public programming.
  • Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK, with a curatorial internship that will support the development of programming and educational resources for an upcoming exhibition.
  • Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, with an internship in Education and Visitor Services, where the intern will continue a large student evaluation project and create a collaborative public program with a student group on campus.
  • McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX, with an internship in the Education department, where the intern will assist with programming and in-gallery interactive performances for an upcoming exhibition.
  • Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, with an internship focused on community engagement and programming around art and social justice, and an artist residency project.
  • Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT, with a curatorial internship assisting curators in organizing and designing an exhibition proposal of artwork from the contemporary Native Artists’ collection.
  • Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ, with an internship in Marketing and Communications assisting with copy-editing, drafting and editing stories for the newsletters, and leaving the internship with a portfolio of written communications.
  • Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, with the intern serving as a curatorial and interpretation assistant for an upcoming exhibition.
  • San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, with an internship in administration and assisting with the museum’s annual gala, The Wonder Ball.
  • The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC with an internship in the museum’s Department of Academic Initiatives where he/she will assist in the re-installation of part of the museum’s collection and create an interactive wall that will reinforce the themes and visuals of the re-installation.

“One of the most important steps we can take for the future of art and art museums is to increase the diversity of those working in our institutions, so that they better reflect the diverse communities we serve,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn, President of AAMD and the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. “Our new internship program is a significant step forward in that process, focusing on students from underrepresented backgrounds at critical moments in their academic and career development. I want to thank my colleagues at these ten member museums for developing creative proposals for intern activities, and for helping us launch a strong and vibrant pilot program.”

AAMD announced the pilot program in July 2018, inviting proposals from member museums to reach a goal of ten institutions hosting one intern each; the submission deadline was September 13. In addition to selecting partners to cover a range of museum departments and experiences, museums are also required to pair their intern with a mentor, who will direct their activities and provide overall counsel on their professional development. The partner museums will now begin accepting internship applications, with internships beginning in late-spring 2019.

The program is only available to undergraduate students in their sophomore, junior, or senior years, to provide opportunity for students who have begun to solidify their academic interests and potential career path. Each intern—working at a museum in their home or university town—will be assigned to work on at least one defined project, so that they will be able to see the culmination of their work at the end of the summer. A stipend of $6,300 will be provided for each 12 week internship.

“Increasing the diversity of those who pursue careers in art museums is a challenge for the field, especially when there are undergraduate students who are interested but lack opportunities, access, or resources,” said Stephanie Yao, Program Manager at AAMD. “With this pilot program, we are creating these opportunities for students from Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or multiracial backgrounds to explore and experience positions within an art museum. And doing this through a paid internship will help ensure that no interested student has to choose between earning money and pursuing an academic and career interest.”

By pairing each student with a mentor from the host institution’s senior leadership team, the program will encourage the kind of long-term relationship-building that can be so crucial to nurturing a young person’s career. Mentors will work closely with their intern, and ensure there are opportunities for conversation, feedback, direction, and questions. In addition, AAMD will support the interns’ longer-term networking and professional development by covering their expenses to participate in two museum conferences, including AAMD’s own 2019 Fall/Winter meeting, where they will be able to meet other museum professionals as well as their fellow interns.

To assess outcomes for future planning and development, both the students and their host institutions will be required to submit a written report at the end of the internship assessing the program, the goals, and the outcomes. Museums will also be asked to provide a performance review of the intern, and interns will be asked to provide a self-assessment.


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