Museum Guild

The Museum Guild is a group of undergraduate students from local colleges and universities who work to highlight student interests in the museum. Supported by the museum’s Academic Programs staff, they develop self-directed projects and programs that highlight diverse perspectives and facilitate community engagement within and beyond the greater Providence area. Through this work, the Guild hopes to create space for critical dialogue around the collection, purpose, and future of the RISD Museum.

The Museum Guild is now accepting applications! Apply through September 12, 2022 at 11:59 pm.


Application FAQs

What do you mean by “projects and programs”?

Guild members develop ways of interpreting the museum’s collections and exhibitions for public audiences through talks, artist-led experiments, interactive activities, performances, digital or physical publications, or any other format they dream up. Members also serve as a bridge between the museum and the student body at their respective institution.

What kind of commitment is this?

Guild members are provided with a stipend of up to $500 per year based on attendance and participation. They are encouraged to serve in the group until graduation, and are responsible for managing self-directed work that other group members will rely on. This might be a match for you if you are able to direct your extracurricular time and energy toward this group.

What might I gain from this experience?

Guild members gain insight into museum interpretation, particularly programming, and develop individualized skills, like public speaking, facilitation, and writing. They also gain short- and long-term project management skills that are transferable to a variety of career goals. We’re looking for students with a wide range of skills, interests, and future plans; the Guild is not intended as a precursor to a career as a museum professional. (If you’re looking for that type of pre-professional experience, check out our summer internships, THAD fellowships, and other student opportunities.)

When does the Guild meet?

The Guild meets weekly as a group on Monday evenings. Small working groups of 3-4 members meet independently in addition to this meeting time. 

Apply now

Contact with questions.


Last year's group

Meet the 2021-22 Museum Guild! Follow along at @risdmuseumguild on Instagram.

Left to right, back to front: Deb Clemons, Assistant Director, Public and Academic Programs; Yiwei Chen, RISD Interior Architecture '23; Yavya Jain, RISD Industrial Design '23; Quinn Erickson, Brown History of Art and Architecture '24; Jane Freiman, Brown American Studies and Comparative Literature '22; Ruqiya Quinn, Brown History of Art and Architecture and Political Science '23; Colin Orihuela, Brown American Studies and Visual Art '24; Alisa Caira, Brown Literary Arts and Anthropology '22.5; Amrita Desmet, RISD Industrial Design '24; not pictured: Eden Faith McKenna-Bateman, University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, Art History '23


Past projects and programs

In 2021-22, the Museum Guild produced three public programs at the museum. "Rip and Reimagine: Collaging Museum Futures" encouraged dialogue about museums and art, offering a space to craft in community. Using excess art books from past exhibitions, the workshop invited visitors to create collages imagining possibilities for the museum's future. "Poetic Translations: Art and the Written Word" showcased students performing creative writing written in response to the exhibition Inherent Vice. Participants were encouraged to create their own text-based work by writing ekphrasis poems in the exhibition Any Distance Between Us or composing blackout poetry in the early Renaissance gallery. "Making Space," a collaboration with the RISD student publication v.1, immersed visitors in themes of space and place through readings from students featured in v.1's latest issue, conversation between the issue's editors and writers, and hands-on art-making.
In 2020-21, the Guild adjusted their modes of working collaboratively. Through a year spent on Zoom, with members calling in from Providence, New Orleans, New Delhi, London, and more, the group produced Unravel: An Anti-Exhibition. This digital publication revolves around the belief that making artist processes public allows for sharing skills and ideas, supporting artists as whole people, and de-emphasizing the commodification of the art object. While museums often foreground finished work, this project focuses on the complexities of students’ artistic practice at various stages of completion, or non-completion.