Students in the Museum Studies master’s degree program are required to gain at least 500 museum experience hours, 250 of which must be in an approved, professionally supervised internship. The internship forms a critical component of the student’s total program and gives the student valuable training in the field as well as a chance to work closely with professional museum staff on meaningful projects in order to prepare for careers as museum professionals.
The internship must be mutually beneficial to both the student and the participating institution and be focused on activities relevant to the student's interests. The primary goal is to offer high-quality educational and practical experience in which the student acquires in-depth understanding of museum operations and activities while making a substantial professional contribution to the institution. Students should discuss possible internships with their advisors and the Museum Studies Director. Students may apply for internships at local, regional, national, or international museums. Internships may be paid or unpaid.
1. Students must complete an internship with a minimum of 250 contact hours in an approved institution.
2. A student intern must enroll for 3 credit hours in MUSE 799.
3. Internships usually take place during the summer between the student’s first and second year in the Museum Studies Program. They may also take place during the school year. Students should make every effort to work at their internship at least half-time.
a. Internship Approval Form. Prior to the internship, the student must submit a description of the duties and activities that the internship will entail, including the name of the museum professional who will serve as the on-site supervisor. The Museum Studies Director must approve and sign the form before the internship begins. Documentation that the student has been accepted by the host institution must be provided.
b. Journal and Portfolio. The student must keep a personal daily journal that describes, and reflects on, the internship experience. There is no predefined format for the journal; it may be handwritten or kept electronically – the critical element is that it is kept regularly during the internship. The portfolio will contain materials associated with the internship experience, such as products for which the student was responsible, photographs of activities, institutional policies and procedures, and examples of materials produced by the institution.
c. Evaluation. At the end of the internship, the student’s on-site supervisor will submit to the Museum Studies Director a confidential evaluation of the student’s performance. The student also completes and submits an evaluation of the internship experience.
d. Report. Students are required to write a 5-10 page paper describing, evaluating, and critically analyzing their internship experience. The student will use the paper to discuss how the internship supported their professional development as well as how they feel that they contributed to the institution’s goals.
5. Internships receive a grade of “S” (Satisfactory) or “U” (Unsatisfactory). The Museum Studies Director will assign a final grade based on the student’s paper, journal, and portfolio, along with the on-site supervisor’s evaluation.