The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) announced that it has selected the 10 member art museums that will host its class of 2020 interns, the second year of the Association’s paid internship program. Each institution will host an intern for 12 weeks, provide a focal point for those interns’ work and career development in different museum departments, as well as create a mentorship opportunity to support the student during their internship. The museums selected for 2020, with their focus areas, are:
AAMD’s program is designed to engage college students from underrepresented backgrounds, to encourage and nurture their career opportunities in the art museum field—while providing the financial support necessary to make participation in an internship possible. The program was initially planned and launched in 2018, with the first group of interns completing their programs in 2019. For its second year, more than 45 museums applied to host an intern, about 20% of AAMD’s membership. The 10 selected member art museums will then be paired with interns in their home or university town. Each intern 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.
“The future of art museums depends greatly on the interest levels of those who are currently students, and are making decisions now about their areas of study and future careers,” said Christine Anagnos, AAMD’s Executive Director. “And an essential part of that future is greater diversification among those who choose to work in museums, so that these institutions can most effectively engage with the diverse communities across the United States. By providing paid summer internships to students for whom there are persistent financial limitations on access to job-related experiences—especially those of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or multiracial backgrounds—we are making an investment that supports the next generation of museum professionals.”
AAMD’s paid internships are 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. Interns receive a stipend of $6,300 over 12 weeks, equivalent to an hourly wage of about $13. Each intern is also paired with a mentor—a member of the host museum’s senior leadership team—who is responsible for directing their activities and providing overall counsel on their professional development. Because mentors can be so crucial to the development of a person’s career, this approach encourages the kind of long-term relationship-building that is often essential to an individual’s success in the field. During the term of their internship, mentors ensure that there are opportunities for conversation, feedback, direction, and questions. Mentors will also help support their intern’s professional networking at selected museum field conferences during and after their internship period, with support for travel expenses also provided by both AAMD and the host institution.
“We are excited to host an AAMD intern at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia,” said director Erik Neil. “Educational outreach is an integral component of our mission. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Chrysler to provide hands-on experience for a talented student who will bring new perspectives to the museum. We look forward to welcoming our 2020 AAMD intern, building a lasting relationship, and hopefully encouraging their interest in museum work.”
Financial and logistical support for this program is provided in part by Bank of America, AAMD, and by the participating member museums. This is only one of a number of steps AAMD has taken to increase equity and diversity in the field, where research has consistently shown that fewer than 20% of leadership positions are held by people of color. In 2019, the Association issued a resolution calling on museums to offer a stipend with all internships, recognizing that the limited financial resources often available to students from diverse backgrounds also becomes a limitation on access to career development opportunities.
The Association of Art Museum Directors advances the profession by cultivating leadership capabilities of directors, advocating for the field, and fostering excellence in art museums. An agile, issues-driven organization, AAMD has three desired outcomes: engagement, leadership, and shared learning. Further information about AAMD’s professional practice guidelines and position papers is available at www.aamd.org.