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  • Peter Welsh posted an update 3 months, 1 week ago

    Internships in the time of pandemic

    Good afternoon,
    Our graduate program in museum studies at the University of Kansas, like most others, includes an internship as a requirement for graduation. Most of our students use the summer between their first and second years in the program to fulfill this requirement. The pandemic has significantly disrupted these plans.

    Our students are finding that internship opportunities of the traditional “on-site” variety are evaporating. Given that we expect students to complete their MA in 2 academic years, with the summer in between for gaining internship experience, we are in a bind. We are reaching out to museums, both nearby as well as more broadly, to see if they might have projects that students could do off-site.

    We have a number of expectations for our internships:
    – they must include a minimum of 250 hours;
    – they must be done under the supervision of an established museum professional;
    – they must include activities that advance the mission of the host institution;
    – they must include a project for which the intern can be given principal responsibility; and
    – they must include opportunities for the intern to gain an understanding of institutional organization.

    I can envision a distanced internship that meets all of these expectations – with the likely exception of the last one, which would be okay. If you have a project that could use the assistance of a bright, creative, and energetic emerging museum professional, please let me know. Students in our program have backgrounds in history, art history, anthropology, and natural sciences. They have developed skills in collections care, in curation, and in public programming. Most have previous museum and/or archives experience. They are eager to make a difference in our field, and just need the opportunity.

    If you have a project, or just an idea for a project, you can reach me at:
    phwelsh@ku.edu

    Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.

    Onward,

    Peter Welsh
    Professor and Director of Museum Studies
    University of Kansas

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