Museum Studies Internship: MSST 804
Purpose of Internships
The Museum Studies internship is a 10-week minimum, full-time or part-time equivalent (usually 375 hours) supervised work experience designed to complement the theoretical, methodological, and practical instruction received in Museum Studies courses and to help prepare a graduate student for a professional museum career. The internship is customarily completed during the summer between the first and second years of academic study. Internships may also be completed during the academic year, and may be spread over two semesters if desired. Occasionally internships are completed in two segments (e. g. fall and spring, summer and winter session, spring and summer, etc.)
Normally, a student will have completed at least one Museum Studies course (MSST-802, etc.) as a prerequisite. The internship is the opportunity for a student to develop patterns of professional behavior and skills, and to apply his/her academic knowledge in a museum work situation. The internship may provide experience appropriate to a position that the student may ultimately seek in the museum field (i.e., curator, educator, collections manager, exhibit designer/fabricator, development officer, museum director, etc.). In the ideal scenario, student interns and sponsoring museums benefit equally from the internship relationship.
To apply for your internship experience, please download the Internship Intake Form and return it to Pauline Eversmann.
For the student, the purpose of the internship is:
- To learn to function as a professional within his/her institution as well as the broader community of museums, and to understand current museum issues.
- To learn to function within the organizational structure of a museum and to develop a knowledge of governance and administrative operations.
- To develop knowledge and skills related to specific areas of museum work.
- To develop the ability to identify, assess and solve on-the-job museum problems.
- To assess individual wishes and needs for professional development.
- In order to accomplish these goals, the intern should be integrated into the on-going work of the museum and treated as a regular staff member. The intern should assume professional level responsibilities and complete a single project or discrete portion of a major project during the period of the internship.
Placement of Interns
All internships undertaken for academic credit and satisfaction of the Museum Studies Certificate requirements must be approved by the Program Director. A number of institutions each year seek the assistance of the Director in securing interns. Notices for these internships are posted on the bulletin board outside of the Museum Studies Program Office. Students who wish to arrange their own internships should furnish the prospective museum sponsor with a copy of these guidelines, develop a written statement of content and objectives (see below) to be signed by the student and the proposed internship supervisor, and then submit the proposal for approval by the Director.
The intern will (in advance if possible, but in no case later than two weeks after beginning work) send the Director of the Museum Studies Program an information form supplied by the Program/and a two-page description (including proposal) of the projected internship. This document must be signed by the intern and the internship supervisor. The Program Director reserves the right to insist on modifications that will insure a positive and productive internship experience.
A final report is required. The report should be a 6-10 page, double spaced, word-processed report on the internship experience, which will be retained in the Program's student file. A copy of this report may be sent to the intern's supervisor at the sponsoring institution. This report is due September 30 for summer internships, or two weeks after the terminal date of other internships, and should include the following:
- Describe the mission of the museum at which the internship was undertaken, and identify and characterize the museum's role in the community. Describe the governance/administrative/operational structure of the museum, identify the division or department with which you have been working, and briefly describe its purpose. Discuss the rationale for its location within the administrative structure.
- Restate your learning objectives and discuss the degree of success you had in achieving them. Were there any special skills you learned? How was your knowledge base expanded?
- Briefly recount the purpose, focus, and content of the project (or discrete portion of a major project). Describe the methodology employed as well as the final product. What was the work schedule? In addition to the your project, what else, if anything, did you specifically contribute to or accomplish for the museum?
- Discuss how this internship has contributed to your professional development.
- Identify and briefly discuss both the positive and negative features of your internship experience.
- Discuss the nature and quality of your supervision, as well as the suitability of the division/department and museum for future internships.
- Attach as appendices copies of any materials prodcued that you feel are significant to the project.
Mid-way through the internship period, the intern should schedule a site visit with the Director of the Museum Studies Program (see contact information below). The Director will travel to the internship site on a mutually convenient date for a visit of approximately one hour with the intern. A brief meeting with the host institution internship supervisor should be scheduled along with this meeting. In instances where geographical distance makes a site visit impossible, communication with both the intern and the supervisor about the progress of the internship may take place by telephone.
The ten week internship course results in three credit-hours, and is required for the awarding of the Museum Studies Certificate. The internship grade will be based upon the final written report and the evaluation submitted by the internship site supervisor. Be certain to register for the internship course (MSST-804-061) in the appropriate semester.
Financial arrangements for the internship are the responsibility of the student and the sponsoring host institution, and not the responsibility of the Program. We feel that the students who have completed three or more hours of classroom instruction and may have previous museum experience are adequately prepared to be productive and useful staff members in their internship capacities. Accordingly, we recommend for our interns a level of support sufficient to defray the costs of meals, lodging, incidental expenses, and a portion of the transportation costs to and from the internship site. Internship stipends will be negotiated with the Program Director or the Internship coordinator.
Procedure for the Participating Museum
So far as practicable, we hope that sponsoring institutions will treat interns as they would any trained and qualified professional staff members. Interns should observe the same work rules as other staff members, attend staff meetings as appropriate to a beginning professional, carry out work assignments productively and on time, and accept supervision. We hope that interns will be given an opportunity to learn about the entire institution and undertake a project (or projects) requiring the exercise of independent professional judgment. We do not ask that interns be exempted from the tedious and un-glamorous parts of museum work, but we do ask that their training be well used and their enthusiasm challenged by work that is important and useful. Only in this way will they learn the maximum and the institution get the most for its investment.
Report from the Participating Museum
As soon as possible (preferably within one week) after the conclusion of the internship, we ask that the internship supervisor at the sponsoring institution write the Director of the Museum Studies Program a one-page letter describing and evaluating the intern's work, and noting any strengths or weaknesses that might be relevant to future employment of the intern. We will also welcome any suggestions for improving the internship program at the University of Delaware.
Internship Coordinator, Museum Studies Program
201 Kirkbride Hall
114 N. College Avenue
University of Delaware
Newark , DE 19716
Twitter FeedTweets by @UDMuseumStudies
Museum Studies SWAT
Are you interested in learning more about hosting a January SWAT team at your site? Please email us for a self-nomination form, and details. firstname.lastname@example.org