Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Arts & Cultural Management and Museum Studies
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Information for Interns

MSU’s Museum Studies Program (MSP) requires that sponsoring institutions treat interns as they would any trained and qualified professional staff member. Interns should observe the same work rules as other staff members, attend staff meetings as appropriate to a beginning professional, carry out work assignments productively and efficiently, and accept supervision. The intern/supervisor relationship should be seen as similar to a student/teacher relationship. MSU’s MSP expects sponsoring institutions to provide ample opportunities for students to exercise independent professional judgment and decision-making responsibilities. Students should not be excused from performing the less glamorous tasks associated with museum work, but they should be challenged by important and useful projects. The intern must assume professional-level responsibilities and become involved in a major project during the internship period.

In order to accomplish these objectives, the student needs to experience day-to-day museum operations under the direct supervision of a museum professional. At the end of the internship period, the intern’s supervisor will be asked to complete a brief evaluation form assessing the intern’s performance.

Requirements for Students
Students must work at least 6 hours a week (for a two-credit internship) or 9 hours a week (for a three-credit internship) spread over a fifteen-week period. In addition to fulfilling the obligations of the signed MSP Internship Contract, students who are pursuing the Museum Studies specialization must also complete the following for each internship intended to count towards the MSU MSP specialization:

* Read at least one journal article, approved by the intern supervisor, that relates to the nature or the content of the work done for the internship and write a typed, double-spaced two page review of it. The first page should be descriptive, the second page analytical. Graduate students should do two article reviews.

* Maintain a journal of internship activities including descriptions of tasks; observations of issues, procedures, challenges, or opportunities encountered. The journal should also include the journal review(s).

* Prepare a 2-3 page double-spaced critical summation about your internship experience and include what impact it has had on the intern’s understanding of museum practice as well as on your own career trajectory.

* Prepare a “portfolio”. There are no set guidelines for portfolio content since each internship situation is so different but, essentially, it should include documentation of those experiences. Documentation could be photos of the intern doing the work, photos or copies of any outputs (catalog descriptions, exhibitions, mount building, rehousing collections, educational programs, etc.) in which the intern has been involved. If the intern is at a loss what to put in portfolio, they will consult with their supervisor. The format of the portfolio can also vary. It can be as a Powerpoint, an organized notebook or folder of materials, etc. The portfolio should be thought of as something (or at least a draft of something) the intern might show a prospective employer or graduate admission committee.

Evaluation and Grading
Students must turn portfolios, journals, and summary statements into supervisors no later than a week before the end of the semester. At least two weeks before the end of the semester, the Intern Coordinator will send out an Intern Evaluation Form and the date that semester by which it must be completed and sent back. Upon receipt of the MSP Internship Evaluation Form, the MSP Internship Coordinator will submit a Pass/No Pass grade to the MSU Registrar’s Office.

MSU MSP Internship Contract Form (pdf)
MSU MSP Internship Evaluation Form (pdf)
MSU MSP Program Completion Form (pdf)