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Interested in hosting Museology interns?

Read on to learn how Museology internships work. Have questions or want to share a posting with our students? Please email our internship coordinator, Kevin Glatt.

Email Kevin

What is a Museology internship?

Museology internships are supervised, professional learning experiences with specified learning objectives.

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Internships are first and foremost learning experiences. While organizations stand to gain significantly from internships, internships are not jobs, and interns are expected to receive significant learning support beyond what an employee would receive. 

Internships take place in a real-world, professional setting. This does not mean internship are completely unrelated to academic work, nor that “hands-on experience” of any kind merits the label “internship.” Rather, internships are a chance for interns to put their academic learning into practice, to accumulate concrete experiences with different types of institutions they can leverage in further academic coursework, and to calibrate their academic pursuits to their evolving interests and understanding of the field. 

Internships are professional not only in terms of the setting in which they take place, but in terms of the expertise required of interns. Is the project or work under consideration something you could train a volunteer to do in a short amount of time? That’s probably a volunteer position, not an internship. Internships should present an opportunity for students to exercise their developing professional expertise. See the examples of learning objectives below for more on what makes for professional, as opposed to volunteer, work. 

As noted in relation to “learning experience,” interns are learners, not employees. Whereas the primary mandate of an employment supervisor will typically be to ensure certain work is done in a satisfactory manner, an internship supervisor’s responsibility is to support the intern as a learner. Focusing an internship experience on what the student wants to learn and supporting them through regular check-ins, feedback, and mentorship will almost always lead to a resulting deliverable everyone can be excited about. 

Setting clear and thoughtful learning objectives is key to providing much-needed structure and purpose in an internship. These objectives can and should range from more specific skills-based outcomes to more general professional development. Centering desired outcomes rather than a set of ongoing tasks to be performed both helps differentiate an internship from a job and can open up possibilities for deliverables neither party might have envisioned if too narrowly focused on tasks. Internship supervisors can provide immensely valuable guidance early on in helping interns articulate their goals; we encourage supervisors to really push students about what they want to learn and why. 

Learning outcomes should be more than “gain experience with PastPerfect” or “practice facilitating educational programming.” While either of these activities may be embedded within an internship, they should be contextualized within higher-level professional activity. For example, the following are learning objectives from recent Museology internships: 

  • Learn how to prioritize collections inventory needs based on institutional priorities, current collections conditions, and future needs of the collection. 
  • Gain practical and hands-on experience with collections stewardship in a small heritage and local history organization through object handling, research, data collection and entry, and storage facility management. 
  • Practice incorporating community voices and perspectives into content creation and strategic planning processes (by collecting and recording stories to develop content for a specific project and contributing to a strategic development plan that will both be incorporated into a larger project plan) 
  • During the course of this internship, I want to be able to help to improve user’s experiences with the host institution, their collection, and their website. I hope to make the collection more accessible and more consistent. 

Why host a Museology Intern? 

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If you’re like us, you enjoy sharing your passions and appreciate it when people are excited about your work and eager to learn from you. 

Internships can be some of the most formative learning experiences for Museology students as emerging museum professionals. Internship hosts can have a real influence on students’ interests and career trajectory. 

Current students quickly become professional peers, and connecting with a single Museology student taps you into their entire network. 

Our emerging museum professionals have a wide range of interests and areas of expertise. See our curriculum page for a sense of the expertise students are developing through coursework and know that students bring a wide range of experience and backgrounds to their work. 

How do Museology internships work?

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  • Museology students are required to complete 180 internship hours as part of their degree requirements. 
  • Students may complete all 180 hours (or more) in one internship, or they may spread their hours over multiple separate internships. 
  • Students may conduct internships at any time of year, although it is most ideal to align internships with the UW quarter system. See “alignment with academic calendar” below. 

  • Ultimately, Museology students are responsible for arranging and documenting their internships, in addition to the responsibilities outlined in the internship agreement form. Students also complete assignments throughout their experience to facilitate their learning, which are reviewed by the Museology internship coordinator at the conclusion of the internship. (See “Resources for supervisors” below for more insight one of these assignments.)
  • Museology staff provide administrative support to help connect students and hosts, to assist students in documenting their internships, and to coordinate with host sites as needed throughout the internship. Museology staff also host an annual internship fair to facilitate connection between students and hosts. 
  • Internship hosts take on supervisory responsibilities as referred to generally in “What is a Museology Internshhip?” above, and more specifically as agreed upon with students during the initial set-up of the internship.  

  • Students and hosts connect. Students may apply for a job posted online, respond to a posting shared directly with students through the Museology internship coordinator, or reach out to people they’ve met through the internship fair or elsewhere. 
    • If you have a position description for an internship opportunity that you’d like to share with our students, please email your internship posting to Museology hosts a website for current Museology students where we share internship postings and other professional development opportunities.
      Internship posting template

*See “Resources for supervisors” for more ways to connect with students.

  • Students complete an Internship Agreement Form with their host. This is a critical part of setting the stage for successful internships; in the rare case that internships turn out differently than both parties hoped they would, it is most often due to a lack of clear expectations from the beginning, whether in terms of clarity around the nature of the work or associated deliverables or in terms of expectations for student conduct and communication. Students will provide the form and work with their host to ensure they’re both clear and in agreement on the following: 
    • Learning objectives and deliverables 
    • Time commitment, including total number of hours and projected start and end dates 
    • Expectations (may include, for example, frequency of check-in meetings and preferred communication channels and expectations) 
    • Compensation: it is critical that students and hosts are both 100% clear about compensation expectations. Please see below if interested in leveraging Museology Paid Internship Program funding. 
  • Students complete internship! 
  • Supervisors complete an Internship Evaluation Form to share feedback with their intern: students (or in some cases Museology staff) will share this form with supervisors. In addition to completing this form for students’ records, supervisors are encouraged to meet with interns near the conclusion of the internship to debrief the experience more informally in conversation.  

What are students looking for in an internship?

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While not every internship will involve all of the following, in general students will value: clear and concrete expectations and deliverables, regular check-ins, hands-on training/guidance, opportunities to meet with people from across an organization and learn more about what they do and how the organization works, and funding for external professional development opportunities.

While students may be interested in volunteering to gain hands-on practice with particular skills like cataloging collections or facilitating educational programs, when it comes to evaluating internship opportunities students will jump at the chance to engage in higher-level work like curating or developing an exhibit, assessing and developing a plan for a collection, or developing curriculum or programs. 

Students are drawn to the Museology program because they believe they can make the world a better place through their work. They’re excited by internship opportunities framed around big-picture problems or goals, and by opportunities with a clear proposition of value to not only the institution in question but to local communities and the wider field. 

While students may complete internships at any time, it is most convenient to align internships with the UW academic calendar. Dates for the 2023-2024 Academic Year are as follows: 

  • Fall Quarter: 9/27/2023 – 12/15/2023 
  • Winter Quarter: 1/3/2024 – 3/15/2024 
  • Spring Quarter: 3/25/2024 – 6/7/2024 
  • Summer Quarter: 6/17/2024 – 9/24/2024 

*Please note that Museology students do not take courses during the summer quarter. This is a great time to offer more in-depth internship experiences for students who are between their first of their two years in the program.

Obviously, students prefer to be paid. Whether or not you’re able to provide funding, it’s important that any internship posting include this information. Please see below for more information on the Museology Paid Internship Program. 

Resources for Internship Supervisors

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Museology holds a yearly Internship & Community Partners Fair, usually during the fall. This is a great chance to connect with students about specific internship opportunities you may have in a given year, but also to establish relationships and discuss all the other ways students may get involved with your work. Please email if you would be interested in attending this event in the future.

Museology Paid Internship Program 

Museology is proud to offer partial funding to enhance organizations’ capacity to host paid internships for Museology students. We started the Museology Paid Internship Program in 2018 on a three-year pilot basis with the goal of providing a more equitable form of student financial aid that might simultaneously have an impact on a larger, field-wide issue. We have since continued to evaluate and evolve this program each academic year. 

*Please note the following information is subject to change. 

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  • Every Museology student is eligible for up to 90 hours of paid internship funding at a rate of $20/hr. When communicating with students to arrange an internship, please confirm each individual student’s eligibility with the student and the Museology internship coordinator. 
  • Host sites are not mandated to contribute funding of their own, but may do so in order to offer internships exceeding 90 hours. While some students will be interested in an internship of 90 hours or fewer, many students will strongly prefer internships of 180 hours that allow them to complete their degree requirements.
  • For off-campus partners: organizations pay interns (whether as independent contractors or part-time employees) and submit invoices for reimbursement afterwards. 
  • For on-campus partners: departments work with Museology staff to set up student assistant positions in Workday. Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for this process prior to the start date of the internship. 

  • Complete the UW Museology Paid Internship Partner Site Application. Email if you have any issues accessing this form. 
  • Meet with our internship coordinator. Once we’ve processed your application, our internship coordinator will reach out to share more details about the reimbursement process and schedule a 30-minute meeting to review this and make sure we’re all on the same page. 
  • Start hosting interns, following the same process as outlined above in “How do Museology internships work.” Pay your intern along the way, and then submit an invoice to receive reimbursement. 


Please share your thoughts and questions with our internship coordinator, Kevin Glatt, at, or schedule a time to meet with Kevin via Calendly.