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What Are the Different Types of Museum Internships?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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There are many types of museum internships available, including paid and unpaid internships, graduate students career development internships, summer internships, and six-month and year-long programs. These internships are also categorized by the field that the undergraduate, graduate, or professional is interested in. Museum internships can be found through the career center at a higher education facility, online job listing sites, or the museum’s career section of its website. Students should be prepared to submit an application, reference letters, documentation of courses completed, and his or her grade point average or scores in school. Most internships will ask students to become a docent or give tours for the museum.

Paid museum internships are highly sought after and are usually reserved for students who have had some prior experience working in the field. The person will be provided a stipend, and he or she will work for a three month to year-long period of time. Unpaid internships are offered by some institutions to allow students to gain experience and knowledge during the semester or summer break. The university and museum will usually work together to provide the student college credit hours to go towards his or her degree requirements. Career development internships are usually for persons who have graduated with a master’s degree, and he or she will work closely with a curator or historian to develop specialized skills in an area before taking a professional position.

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There are museum internships available in curation, a field in which the person works with collectors and conservationists to organize, create, and interpret an exhibition. The curator maintains records of artworks, works with galleries and owners, and outlines the overall presentation of artworks in the museum. Conservation internships focus on the maintaining the safety and integrity of the fine art pieces. Conservationists may work with restoration professionals to preserve or restore a piece that has been damaged or aged.

Development and events museum internships are also available. Interns in this field will work with museum departments responsible for fundraising, foundations and large donors, and also write grants. Education and editorial internship programs are focused on developing community programs for adults, students, and children to encourage involvement in the museum and an interest in art history. Editorial internships may require students to have design and copywriting experience, and he or she may be able to assist in creating exhibition materials, class programs, and marketing pieces for the museum. Some museums also offer multimedia internships, where the student will assist in video production projects.

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