Building practical experience
The Museology program unites the academic and practical foundations needed to be an innovative museum professional. We incorporate hands-on experience into the graduation requirements so students have plenty of opportunities to do real work in museums. As a part of the curriculum, students complete at least 6 credits of internships – about 180 hours – and 60 hours of volunteering in museums between the Winter quarter of their first year and the end of the second year.
Through these internships, we hope that students will:
- Explore different areas of museum practice to refine their career goals
- Develop the skills, knowledge, and creativity needed for their career goals in the museum field
- Build their professional network in the museum field – both peers and mentors
- Grow more confident in their work and feel inspired to be innovators in the field
Museology students have access to a wide variety of internship opportunities through the program’s network of alumni and friends, both locally and nationally. Our advisors help students to identify experiences that fit their interests and career goals. In the past five years, our students have worked with over 60 local institutions such as the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the Seattle Art Museum. They have also completed internships in over 30 regional, national, and international organizations such as the Smithsonian National Museum of National History in Washington, D.C. and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Past student internships
Faithe McCreery, ’15, worked with the Seattle Art Museum’s education department on their ACCESS program for blind and partially-sighted visitors during the fall and winter quarter of her second year. “I have loved working closely with the docent committee in charge of ACCESS, forging bonds with tour participants, and reaching out to local organizations that serve and advocate for people with disabilities,” Faithe said. “I was also able to build up a very strong knowledge base around museum accessibility.”
Caitlin Cooper, ’17, was awarded the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture with the Peabody Essex Museum. During her summer fellowship at Peabody, Caitlin conducted research for an upcoming exhibition on contemporary Native American artist, T.C. Cannon, proposed to mount in Spring 2018. Caitlin will continue to be involved with the project remotely and be listed as a contributor to the accompanying exhibition publication.
Caitlin also corresponded with American Indian tribes to repatriate human remains and associated funerary objects to tribal communities, as per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act regulations. In addition to her challenging and diverse work plan, Caitlin participated in intensive weekly workshops that focused on leadership and institutional organization.
Leonor Colbert, ’17, worked with Lace Thornberg, ’10 of Braided River to put together an exhibit about the sagebrush and the sea; the most imperiled landscape in the American West. Leonor gained firsthand experience in scheduling traveling exhibits, reaching out to staff members at museums, galleries, and wildlife centers across the country. Leonor said, “I made connections with a diverse range of professionals in the fields of conservation, photography, and nonprofits that goes beyond the usual purview of the museum field.”
Information for internship supervisors
Museology graduate students complete nearly 10,000 hours of internship work during the academic year as well as the summer. They bring with them past work experiences in addition to graduate level coursework in collections management, exhibit development, audience research and evaluation, education, program planning, fundraising and administration.
Students begin working toward their internship requirements during the winter quarter of the first year, and generally look for internship opportunities a few weeks before the start of a new quarter. For start and end dates, check the University of Washington’s academic calendar.
Spreading the word about internship opportunities
We send out a weekly newsletter with new internship opportunities to currently enrolled Museology students. If you would like to include an internship posting to our list, you can submit your posting below.
You can also email your posting to the Museology Internship Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the internship posting as a Word document, PDF, or embedded in the body of your email. Guidelines on what to include in your posting are available in the Supervisor Handbook and Internships Cheat Sheet. You may use the Internship Posting Template to format your posting.
If you would like to spread the word about your internship opportunities with our students in person, you can sign-up to be an exhibitor for our Fall Internship Fair. This year’s Internship Fair will be held on November 7, 2016 at the University of Washington’s Seattle Campus. We welcome museums and other cultural institutions who have opportunities for museology graduate students to get involved in their organization.
Resources for Internship Supervisor
Below are a few resources for supervisors about setting up an internship program and keeping your internship program running smoothly.
- Internship Supervisor Handbook
- Internship Supervisor Cheat Sheet
- Intern Orientation Checklist
- Intern Evaluation Form