The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) today announced the launch of a pilot internship program to engage undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds and nurture their career opportunities in the art museum field. Up to ten students will be selected for the pilot year, and provided with a 12-week long, paid internship at different AAMD member museums, offering exposure to a range of museum departments. Interns will be paired with a mentor, who will direct their activities and provide overall counsel on their professional development. Applications to be a host institution for the program will open this summer, with internships beginning in late-spring 2019. The 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 participating member museums.
“This is an important step in addressing the demographic disparity of those leading American art museums,” said Christine Anagnos, AAMD’s Executive Director. “Research has consistently shown that fewer than 20% of art museum leadership positions are held by people of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or multiracial backgrounds. One reason for this disparity is the limitations on access, and another is a limitation on resources. By providing paid summer internships to students who want to explore a career in art museums, we can begin to address these challenges and cultivate the next generation of art museum professionals.”
AAMD will select 10 member art museums to host one intern each in this pilot year. Interns will be paired with host museums in their home or university town. 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 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.
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 deadline to submit an application to be a host institution to an AAMD Intern is Friday, September 13, 2018.
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.