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Art History - ARTH 490

Museum Internship Course 

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Introduction

The Department of Art History & Communications Studies offers undergraduate students the opportunity to undertake internships at museums, art galleries, and artist-run centres, among other institutions, as the equivalent of a 3-credit course toward their academic degree programs.


Internships provide students with work experience and help to clarify vocational interests. As interns, students have an opportunity to see how things function in particular career fields and get exposure to research, curatorial and exhibition practices, and the multifaceted concerns and distinctive needs and interests of art institutions and organizations. Students learn the range of marketable skills required, the importance of group work, and the value of clear writing and presentation techniques. Added benefits include opportunities to network, find mentors, and earn credits toward their academic program.


Please note: The internship and the course is a two term process, you must take this into consideration when considering the museum internship.


Eligibility Requirements

The Arts Internship is only open to U2 and U3 students (minor, major, honours, joint honours) in good standing, normally after completing 30 credits of a 90 credit program or 45 credits of a 96 to 120 credit program. A minimum CGPA of 2.7 and permission from the departmental Internship Advisor are required. This course will not fulfill program requirements for seminar or 400-level courses.

Please note:
Both Canadian and International students are required to inform themselves of the visa requirements for students pursuing internships (paid or unpaid) in particular countries. For non-Canadians pursuing internships in Canada, a work permit is required, even if the internship is unpaid. Please click here for further details.

Please note: The internship for course credit is a two term process, you must take this into consideration when considering the museum internship course (ARTH 490). You complete the internship at the host institution before doing the course at McGill. If you do your internship in the fall, you take the course in the winter semester. If you do the internship during the winter or summer, you take the course the following fall semester.


Approval Procedure

The Arts Internship requires approval by the Art History Student Affairs Officer (SAO). The completed Faculty of Arts Internship Course Credit Approval Form (available here) must be submitted before the beginning of the internship to the SAO.


Course Requirements for the Museum Internship Course (ARTH 490)

  • A minimum of 150 hours of work with the host institution or organization.
  • A description of the organization with which the student will be working including the name of the supervisor to whom the student will be accountable, and a letter indicating the willingness of the responsible person and sponsoring agency to assume the task of supervision.
  • A letter from the student’s supervisor attesting to the successful completion of the student’s tenure at the institution (including assessment of work performance).
  • Documentation of the nature of the internship experience (a three-page description of projects undertaken, duties, responsibilities, expectations and actual outcome, learning curve from the experience), which can be in the form of a journal or summary. .
  • Museum Studies Research Paper (ten pages) in which the student examines issues of exhibition and curation, collections management or collecting practices, museum education, policies or politics of audience or viewership, conservation or maintenance of collections. The topic of the research paper will be devised together with the Internship Advisor after the internship has been completed.
  • Students must also satisfy requirements established by the Arts Internship Officer, found here.

Method of Evaluation

  • 35% 150 hours and performance assessment from the Host Institute
  • 15% Documentation - journal summary ~ 3 pages
  • 50% Museum Studies Research paper (ten pages)

Course Work and Grade Submission Dates

  • Museum Studies Research Paper and journal report submission deadline is the last day of classes/term.
  • Grade entry deadline is one week after classes end.

Student check list

For your convenience please use the student check list below to help guide you through the Arts Internship Course process.

CHECKLIST  [.pdf]


Host Organizations: Museums and Galleries

The following MS Excel files will provide listings of various host organizations, including museums and galleries in their respective countries.

Organizations in Quebec - Art History  [.xls]
Organizations in Canada - Art History [.xls]
Organizations in the USA - Art History  [.xls]
Organizations in Europe - Art History  [.xls]
International Organizations - Art History [.xls]

For some general guidelines regarding applying to museum internships, please consult this guide, prepared by a former museum intern: Guide to Applying for Museum Internships [.doc]


Is this course for me?

Typically, students pursue an internship during their second or third year of undergraduate studies. Internships can be arranged in any term (fall, winter, summer). Students are only allowed to earn 3-credits once from the course toward their program.


Internship experiences may be available as a career-related summer job or a part-time job. It is not expected that interns will receive payment for work undertaken during their placement, although sponsoring institutions or organizations are free to offer remuneration as they see fit. Most interns work as volunteers; indeed, this is often in the student’s interest.


The workload for internships is generally more demanding and time-consuming than expected. Nevertheless, the rewards gained from working in the field are usually beneficial; the Museum Internship course is an exciting way to complement classroom learning with practical work experience and to learn about professional and career options.


Projects pursued by students have been remarkably wide-ranging, including research, assisting curators and art administrators in organizing exhibitions, developing collections, cataloguing art works, documents or artifacts, working in educational programs, giving tours, and assisting in public relations.


Internships which are completed during the summer months allow more flexibility with scheduling, and enables students to intern outside Montreal.

Internship tenure When to start planning When to register When course work is due
Any semester (stretches over two semesters) ASAP; well in advance of registration period to obtain approval from Internship Advisor After having completed the 150 hours (phase 1), students will register for ARTH 490 (students should discuss this with Internship Advisor before beginning internship) In the session for which the student is registered for the Museum Internship course (phase 2) (ARTH 490)

 


Helpful resources

  • Canada has a healthy network of artist-run centres, and many of these may offer internship opportunities. The RCAAQ (Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec) recently released a useful directory of artist-run centres in Quebec and Canada, consult: RCAAQ, 3995, rue Berri, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 4H2, phone: (514) 842-3984, website: http://www.rcaaq.org/.
  • Some websites listing Montreal-based institutions include: Société des directeurs des musées montréalais, http://www.museesmontreal.org/ and Maisons de la culture, www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/maisons/maisons.htm.

For further information, contact:

Department of Art History & Communication Studies Student Affairs Advisor

Matthew Dupuis,
Student Affairs Advisor,
Department of Art History & Communication Studies
McGill University
853 Sherbrooke Street West, W-225
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T6
Tel: 514-398-1092
Fax: 514-398-7247
Email

 

Anne Turner
Internship Officer
Faculty of Arts, McGill University
Leacock Building, Room 307
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7
Tel: 514-398-2916
Fax: 514-398-8049
Email: anne [dot] turner [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Anne Turner)