The RISD Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon summer internship program is open to currently enrolled college and university undergraduate and graduate students; students graduating in the spring of 2019 are also eligible.
Applicants should have a strong interest in museum work and the topics related to the specific internship projects, although no previous museum work or experience in art history is necessary. The ten-week internships begin June 3, 2019, and end August 9, 2019. Interns are expected to spend 20 hours a week in the Museum. Participation in group seminars and workshops focusing on museums and professional practice is included in their weekly hours. Mellon interns receive a $3,000 honorarium. A limited amount of funding is available for travel assistance and may be awarded to accepted students who would not otherwise be able to take advantage of this opportunity.
The goal of this program is to introduce students to museum work and to offer in-depth experience working in a specific department of the RISD Museum. Interns will work on departmental projects with Museum staff as supervisors. Together, interns will learn about and discuss the public functions of museums and build professional skills for working in the arts. At the end of the program, each intern will publicly share their experience and work. Browse former interns’ perspectives on the collection here.
The deadline for submitting applications is January 27, 2019, at 11:59pm. Selected candidates will be interviewed in March and all applicants will be notified by the end of that month. Questions should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants may arrange for academic credit for the internships through their college or university. To do so, they will need to fulfill the number of hours in the Museum required for credit at their home institutions and any additional requirements, such as paper assignments, to qualify for that credit. Museum staff will provide supervision for such assignments as well as letters of support verifying the student’s participation in the internship program.
Students who are not U.S. citizens are welcome to apply for the internship if they have a visa that is valid for the entire internship program (through August 9, 2019).
The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Internship Program at the RISD Museum is made possible by an endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Each curatorial intern will assist a curator or curatorial team with tasks related to researching and interpreting works of art and design, which may in some cases be associated with upcoming exhibitions or prospective additions to the collection. The intern will also assist with ongoing collection management. This may include taking inventories of objects, confirming descriptions and measurements, and entering and updating data in the Museum’s internal database system. The intern will gain an understanding of managing a collection area in a museum and will be introduced to writing about objects for platforms such as in-gallery texts and scholarly publications. Strong candidates will be detail oriented and will possess good organizational and research skills.
Curatorial Internship: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
The Prints, Drawings, & Photographs collection dates from the 15th century to the present and comprises more than 25,000 works including prints, drawings, and photographs. The intern’s tasks will include assisting curatorial staff in general department and collection management, such as pulling and returning objects to storage, cataloging, and inventory. There may be opportunity for involvement in object selection, research, and label writing for works going on view in gallery rotations.
Curatorial Internship: Asian Art
The Asian and Islamic Art collection spans a period of almost 5,000 years, covering the geographic areas of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. The intern's tasks will include assisting with the cataloging and inventory of objects in the collection. Competency or fluency in an Asian language such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Arabic is preferred.
Curatorial Internship: Costume & Textiles
The Costume and Textiles collection contains more than 30,000 objects and includes representative textiles and clothing ranging from 1500 BCE to the present. The intern’s tasks will include assisting staff in collections care and documentation, with a focus on cataloging, condition reporting, and rehousing under-documented 19th- and 20th-century objects found in the collection.
Creative Production Internship
The Creative Production Intern will work collaboratively to create digital and online content related to the Museum’s collection. The intern works directly with the Assistant Director, Digital Initiatives on projects including audio and video production. As collaborations between curators and educators, these projects offer lively content and accessible learning opportunities for a varied public. Skills required include a working knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, including Premiere and Audition.
Collection Information and Imaging Resources Internship
The Collection Information and Imaging Resources Intern will learn about how collections objects are described and a variety of digital multimedia resources are associated and managed using museum-specific management software. Specifically, the intern will learn to associate multimedia files to the collection information software system (Museum Plus) and to review and edit descriptive information about collection works and exhibitions for publication on the Museum website. A successful candidate is detail oriented and possesses computer fluency (and interest) and excellent organizational skills.
The Registration Intern will learn about the management of the Museum’s permanent collection by assisting with the rehousing and documentation of ceramic collection objects, the inventory of museum storage areas, the preparation of collection and exhibition information for publication to the RISD Museum website, and other registration tasks as time permits. The Intern will become familiar with the roles museum registrars play and will gain knowledge of basic museum collections management practices, collections care, documentation, and information systems. A successful candidate will possess attention to detail and computer fluency.