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:
“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.
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.