Art-related internships are excellent ways to get valuable experience in particular fields. They can be done during the semester or the summer, for academic credit or (rarely) for a small stipend. We have had students do internships at museums (especially the Mississippi Museum of Art), arts administration agencies (such as Arts Alliance and MS Arts Commission), galleries (such as Nunnery's and Fischer Gallery), archives (including the archives at Millsaps and the Mississippi state archives), advertising agencies, graphic design businesses, magazines, and individual artists' studios, among other sites. For further information about some of the Jackson internship sites, and the requirements for getting college credit, see the Millsaps Career Center. Even if a site you're interested in isn't listed here, it's still often possible to make an arrangement to do an internship there.
Instructions for applying for an internship at the Mississippi Museum of Art can be found on their web site: http://www.msmuseumart.org/internships.html. You must submit a cover letter, application form, 3-page writing sample, two letters of recommendation, transcript, resume, and short personal statement by the specified deadline.
Internships are also available outside of Jackson, although they are often more competitive since students from a larger area might be applying. We have had students do internships at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, the Charlotte Museum of History in N.C., the Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney, TX (outside Dallas), Bering and James, Inc., Gallery in Houston, Gallery Minerva in Asheville, NC, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and Sotheby's auction house in New York, among other locations, so it's definitely worth trying! One of our majors also had a wonderful experience in the highly competitive Summer Institute in Art Museum Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts.
Here are brief accounts by some of our students about their internships:
Sarah James ('13, Art History, Museum Studies concentration; Charlotte Museum of History, Summer 2010): "As an aspiring Art History Major having just completed my freshman year, I wanted nothing more than to jump into the museum world, partially to see what I was getting myself into. I found my Museum Internship at the Charlotte Museum of History in Charlotte, NC, undeniably valuable. Even as a Freshman, I found that the knowledge of the internal workings of a museum gave me practical experience in a unique and fun way. In addition to the various events and displays, I also helped take inventory, clean, give tours in costume, and work on Gallery Guides for the museum's Education Department. I would not have changed my time there for the world. I left the museum even more excited about future museum work."
Allison Purves ('11, Art History; CITYarts, New York City, Summer 2010): "My internship at CITYarts in New York gave me a variety of experiences in the art world outside of museums and galleries. Working with a non-profit to bring public art to the city of New York allowed me to combine my passions of art and service. I was given tremendous responsibility in the planning and execution of art programs for international youth. This opportunity provided me with skills to work with people, follow instructions, fundraise, lead groups, market and publicize events, translate the importance of art and allowed me to challenge myself to create a program I was proud of."
Lauren Winton ('11, Anthropology; Heard Museum; TX, Summer 2010): "I am an Anthropology Major with a Minor in Museum Studies and Education. I interned at the Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney, TX for a summer. I worked in the Education Department and designed a mock Archaeological dig for the Museum's Summer Camps. I also got to teach a few classes for summer camp, which was very fun and insightful. I had an amazing summer and learned a lot about how museums integrate education into their mission. Also, I was even offered a job before I left as a contract teacher for the next school year. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down as I needed to come back to Millsaps to complete my senior year. They told me to let them know if I needed a job after I graduated. Internships are great ways to get in the front door of many establishments. I am definitely glad I did one."
Laine Hendricks ('03, art history; Sotheby's, NY, Summer 2002): "As a rising senior art history major, I was interested in exploring a career in the arts in New York City. My summer internship with Sotheby's provided me with the opportunity to learn about the auction market, meet fascinating and knowledgeable experts, and live in the exciting city of New York! Through my position in the Magnificent Jewelry Department, I was able to meet with potential consignors to explain the auction process to them, assist Administrators and Specialists with daily matters, and work with the Vice-President of the Salon Prive, a private sales jewelry department. This experience was better than I could have imagined!"
Heather Isbell ('03, art history; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Summer 2002): "I consider my internship to be very valuable because it gave me practical experience working in a museum setting. From the offices of the Dixon Gallery I was able to see the demands and rewards of working behind the scenes of museum administration. I was also able to offer my own meaningful contribution to the upcoming museum exhibition this fall through the research projects I completed for the education department."
Kate Bruce ('04, studio and art history; Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art): "My internship with the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art was an incredibly insightful experience. I was able to learn about the organization of a regional museum, and had the chance to participate in several outreach programs that targeted elementary schools. I was also involved in the planning of the new museum that is to be designed by architect Frank Gehry, and that was great!"
Crystal Helo ('03, studio; The Ad Agency, Byram)
"I have learned a lot in my internship with The Ad Agency dealing with programs on the computer and the process of how ads are made and put into production. This internship has helped me see what I want to do for a career and has given me a head start on experience. I worked on a few ads and helped to develop a web page for the agency. Overall, it was a wonderful experience."
Just to get you started in your own search, here is some information on internships taken from various websites, including a few regional and national museums as well as several of the major auction houses:
Museums in the Southeast
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
The High Museum of Art's internship program is available to college students, recent college graduates, and high school seniors. Interns at the High work a minimum of six weeks (hours and schedule will be worked out by you and your supervisor). All of our intern positions are unpaid, but you are given many benefits of regular employees, such as free admission to functions, discounts at our gift shops and café, etc. To apply for an intern position, please submit a resume and cover letter, along with the completed Intern Application Form. Please make sure your resume is as specific as possible, listing course work, previous experience, knowledge of computer programs, etc. In your cover letter, please identify three departments that you feel you would be most interested in and most qualified for. Our Department List will provide you with a brief description of each of the museum's departments. For additional questions or comments, please feel free to email Bobbi Edmond. Please contact by email, fax or mail resume, cover letter and application form to:
Assistant to the Chair of Education/Internship Coordinator
High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
New Orleans Museum of Art
The internship program at NOMA is designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students from colleges and universities with on-site training and work experience at the museum. Interns will gain professional experience by working in at least one of NOMA's four divisions: Administration, Curatorial, Education, or Development. Emphasis is placed on gaining practical work experience. Each intern is assigned a specific project to complete, under the supervision of a NOMA staff member. Interns are expected to assume professional responsibilities and demonstrate individual initiative. They will be assigned specialized duties and contribute at an important level in the museum. Supervisors offer thorough training, guidance, and evaluation. Although internships at NOMA are unpaid, most interns receive academic credit. Entry into the Internship program at NOMA is competitive. All applicants must submit the following information: a current résumé, a letter of recommendation from a professor or supervisor, a writing sample, transcripts of university coursework. For further information, please call the Curator of Education at 504-483-2797.
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
Internships for college credits are available throughout the Museum. Call (919) 839-6262, ext. 2143 for information.
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
The Kimbell Art Museum offers several volunteer internships in the education department and in the slide library during the academic year and also summer months, according to the needs of the Museum. The internship provides an opportunity for the student to gain exposure to museum practice and programs. Interns assist with various administrative and research projects, including education workshops and resources; and assisting in the slide library with photography, mounting slides, and digital imaging. Preference is given to art history, art education, and studio art majors; a personal interview is required. Applications for internships during the school year and summer months will be accepted no later than the following dates (early applications are encouraged). Fall internship application deadline August 15; Spring internship application deadline December 15; Summer internship application deadline April 1. Print the internship application form with your browser. Send the completed form with a cover letter describing your abilities, interests, and career goals. By Fax: 817-877-1264 or By mail: Education Department, Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76110.
If you have questions, please contact the Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Major National Museums
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington
Each year a number of undergraduate and graduate internships are available at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Internships are offered during the summer, spring, and fall/winter semesters, and academic credit may be arranged through the intern's school. While internships are unpaid appointments, they provide an excellent foundation for future museum work or art-related careers. Interns work extensively within specific departments, as well as interacting with professionals in every area of the museum, learning how various departments realize particular and common goals. Today many of our former interns are curators, educators, public affairs officers, and conservators at national and international museums.
Departments that offer internships, and typical duties of interns:
Applicants should have 15 semester hours of art history or equivalent academic preparation, with a grade point average of 3.25 for undergraduates and 3.5 for graduate students. A specialization in modern and contemporary art history is helpful. Applicants must submit an application packet by the following deadlines: November 1 for spring internship; March 1 for summer internship; June 1 for fall internship.
The following materials should be included in an application packet:
Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Notification of selection will be mailed to applicants approximately 30 days after the deadline. For more information, please write, or email email@example.com.
Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington
The Corcoran Gallery of Art offers internships for graduate AND undergraduate students. Based on a program of supervised learning, Corcoran internships provide students with an opportunity to learn about museum operations and to pursue academic and professional goals. Possible department placements include: Curatorial for American Art, Curatorial for Photography/Media Arts, Education, Curatorial for Prints and Drawings, Curatorial for Contemporary Art, Curatorial for European Art, Registrars, Public Programs, Public Affairs, Graphics, Development, WPA/Corcoran.
Summer Internships: From early June through mid-August, the Corcoran sponsors a ten-week internship program. This program is open to juniors or seniors in college, and students between academic degree programs. The summer internship program is explicitly geared toward those students who are interested in gaining firsthand museum experience or intend to pursue careers in arts administration. Weekly "brown bag" lunch meetings with Corcoran department heads offer interns the chance to gather information about all facets of the museum and to learn about the backgrounds of seasoned and successful museum professionals. Interns also visit other Washington arts and humanities institutions to view special exhibitions, tour permanent collections, and meet with museum professionals. Corcoran staff consider interns' personal interests, capabilities, and future career plans before assigning them to individual departments. Summer interns maintain regular staff hours, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Interns must arrange to receive academic credit from their respective institutions. The deadline for submitting an application for a summer internship is March 15.
For more information, contact Sarah Loffman, Coordinator of Education Programs, at 202.639.1725, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply, send a resume, transcript, 2 letters of recommendation, a cover letter listing your 3 department placement preferences and stating your reasons for wanting to participate in the Corcoran's internship program. Explain how such an experience will help to further your education and career plans. Since your letter serves in place of a personal interview, please outline your abilities, interests, and career goals. Send all application materials to:
Coordinator of Education Programs
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Please do NOT send applications by fax or email for this internship!
National Gallery, Washington
Preference is given to graduate students.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a leader in the training and mentoring of young museum professionals and future museum colleagues. The Museum Studies Internship Program provides interns with exposure to the inner workings of a major metropolitan museum, promoting an awareness of museum careers through experiences not available in most academic settings. The Museum selects a diverse group of talented undergraduate and graduate students from a highly competitive regional, national and international pool of candidates. The Museum Studies Internship Program offers Volunteer Internships each summer. The Program runs Monday through Friday for nine weeks.
Administrative and Curatorial Department Interns are placed according to departmental needs that vary from year to year. In past summers, Administrative placements have included the following departments: Development, External Affairs, Library, Marketing and Public Relations, and the Registrar. Curatorial Departments requesting interns have included Costume and Textiles, European Painting, Indian and Himalayan Art, and Modern and Contemporary Art. Education placements are made in two divisions: public programs for adults and college students or programs for youth and family. Assignments range from administrative support and research to teaching children.
The Museum Studies Internship is an unpaid, volunteer internship. Students are encouraged to ask their respective schools about the process for receiving academic credit and the availability of funding for internships at nonprofit institutions. All applicants must submit the following materials: application; official academic transcript; two letters of recommendation from college professors; resume; and a one page essay describing the candidate's interest in the internship, skills that would contribute to the program, and career goals.
Art Institute, Chicago
Internships are offered by the Art Institute's many departments throughout the year and enable students to gain first-hand experience in their areas of interest or study. Interns, working under the guidance of curators or department heads, assist in routine departmental work that ranges from special projects and research to clerical support. Interns are junior- or senior-level college students, or graduate students. A major in art history or fine art is not essential. Internships vary from department to department; a majority of internships are offered unpaid of for academic credit. Students are responsible for making appropriate arrangements with their schools to receive credit for internships. Hours vary and are flexible; however, a minimum of 14 hours per week is generally expected. Students must be earning academic credit at the time of the internship.
The following departments often offer internships. Accounting,African and Amerindian Art, American Art, Architecture, Archives, Asian Art, Conservation, Design & Construction, Development, Energy and Facilities Planning, European Decorative Arts, European Painting, Human Resources, Imaging, Installation and Packing, Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum Education, Museum Registration, Operations, Prints & Drawings, Public Affairs, Purchasing, Ryerson/Burnham Library, Video Data Bank, Student Affairs.
To apply for an internship, please submit the following: resume, cover letter, and application. Positions may be available in other areas depending on departmental needs. If you are selected as a candidate for a potential internship, we will call you to schedule an in-person or telephone interview. Students are responsible for their own travel arrangements. As part of the consideration process, you must also fill out an application which may be downloaded as a .pdf file from this site. A letter of interest, and a resume are required in addition to the application. Please print and fill out the form and send it along with your resume and cover letter to the address listed below. Please include the department you are applying to in your cover letter. Housing arrangements are not provided for interns. It is the intern's responsibility to find his/her own housing. However, we do have dorm rentals for summer interns. Contact the School of the Art Institute's Department of Student Life at (312) 899-7460 for more information. Submit application materials to:
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6110
or send an email to email@example.com.
(information from Princeton Review)
Sotheby's, New York
Approximate applicant pool: 250-300; Interns accepted: 40-50
Eligibility: college juniors and seniors
Duration: 8 weeks: Mid-June through Mid-August
The Work: Founded in 1744 so British citizens could exchange property without the burden of face-to-face bargaining, Sotheby's today is known the world over as the place to sell property of great value and interest. Recent Sotheby's auctions have featured the Duchess of Windsor's jewelry collection, Andy Warhol's art collection, and paintings by Georgia O'Keefe. Interns are placed either in a business department like the Press Office, Graphic, or Marketing, or in one of thirty-three expert departments like American Paintings or Chinese Works of Art. Every Tuesday, interns attend two-hour lectures to learn more about the business side of an auction house and the expert departments. Interns are assigned a mentor outside of the department they are interning in. Three parties are thrown throughout the summer exclusively for the interns.
To Apply: Submit introductory letter and resume with a request for an application. Deadlines: Summer: 3/1
Sotheby's Inc., Human Resources
1334 York Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10021(212) 606-7000
Christie's, New York & Los Angeles
20 interns accepted-19 in New York Rockefeller Plaza location and 1 in Los Angeles Regional Office
Compensation: NY or CA state minimum wage
Duration: September-December; January-May; June-August
The Work: Christie's is the world's oldest fine arts auctioneer, selling paintings, furnishings, and decorative arts since James Christie, the founder, held his first sale in 1766. Christie's has been in the news recently for reportedly overcharging its customers along with rival auction house Sotheby's; the chairmen of both firms were formally indicted in mid-2001. Fall and spring interns may work up to three full days per week, or 24 hours per week maximum. Summer interns must work Monday-Friday, 9-5. Applicants should have: background in art history or decorative arts, knowledge of foreign language(s), genuine interest in the art world, and motivated attitude. Deadlines: Summer: 2/14; Fall: 4/4; Spring: 11/1
To Apply: Please send resume and cover letter to:
Christie's, Human Resources, Internship Program
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020