The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) announced that it has selected the 10 member art museums that will host its class of 2022 interns, the third 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, and create a mentorship opportunity to support the student during their internship. The roster of museums selected for participation in 2022 reflects the geographic and art historical diversity of AAMD’s membership, and includes both a repeating institution—the San Jose Museum of Art, which participated in the first round and subsequently hired their intern—and the first Canadian institution to host an AAMD intern. The participating institutions include:
As in prior years, the 10 member art museums will 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 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. Launched in 2018, the response from member institutions has been strong—typically about 20% of AAMD’s membership applies to participate—reflecting both a desire to support students seeking to explore museum careers and the evident value of paid internships for participants.
“We are excited to be able to continue our internship program and to welcome another group of member museums eager to support students in having career-building experiences,” said Christine Anagnos, AAMD’s Executive Director. “The ongoing challenges of the pandemic have underscored how essential these paid summer internships can be for 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. This is one way we can support our members in making an investment in 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 $15 for a 35 hour work week. 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.
“We are grateful to be chosen to participate in AAMD’s internship program for the second time, since we can say from experience how well this process can work,” said Susan Sayre Batton, the Oshman Executive Director at San Jose Museum of Art. “In 2019, we hosted an intern as part of the first year of the program. That relationship continued to develop, and that same year we hired her for a position at the museum, and she has moved into increasingly responsible positions. We also know from experience that few things can replace opportunities for hands-on experience for a talented student, and we look forward to encouraging another intern’s interest in a museum career.”
Financial and logistical support for this program is provided by 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.