Past Internships

Bridget Gallagher-Larkin, Mia Learning Innovation Division - Student and Teacher Learning Department, summer 2018

My internship was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I worked in the Learning Innovation Division – Student and Teacher Learning Department.

On a typical day, I wrote and edited new or existing lessons and learning resources. Since I had a supportive team, it was easy to email off drafts and receive feedback. Oftentimes, we would meet together to edit content and brainstorm how to make learning resources effective and friendly for teachers and students.

I really enjoyed seeing a preview of the objects that will be in the temporary exhibition, “Egypt’s Sunken Cities.” Since I wrote the digital teaching guide for this exhibition, I was able to see the pictures of objects, exhibition catalogs, edited labels, and panels to assist in my research and writing.

This internship allowed me to experience the day-to-day tasks that go on in a museum. Since I had taken one of the core museum study courses, it was interesting to see the areas of growth and concerns museums have first-hand. In addition, with my teaching experience and knowledge of visitor experience (From my Museum Studies class) in the museum, I critically thought about how the writing, lessons, or questions should be developed effectively. The goal is to reach the variety of learners, whether it is through interesting “new learnings” or engaging questions.

I thought it was exciting to be amid all of the museum staff. I loved the amount of collaboration from one division to the next. On a smaller scale, the Learning Innovation division staff were so helpful, empathetic, and excited for every project that was developing at the time. Even though from the outside Mia is a large museum – with a large staff – it felt small and supportive. Like any job, there is always room for reflection and improvement in areas, but Mia is actively doing this through their programs and rebranding.

Louise Nemmers, Timothy Ojile Archives, summer 2018

I spent this summer helping to catalog the estate of a visual, contemporary artist, Timothy Ojile.  Ojile was from Minnesota but spent most of his life - and the majority of his artistic career - in Hawaii.  His heir and other family members live in Minnesota which is why the Timothy Ojile Archive is located here. This whole project - the Archive and all the work to develop it and catalog the work - is brand new, and just began this past spring.  My role was to begin at the beginning and catalog as many works as I could over the summer. 
Since we were starting from scratch, it took a few weeks to get our "sea legs".  Once there was a process, my day-to-day work was pretty structured.  I'd spend about 3-4 hours a week cataloging individual works of art and documenting everything on a physical worksheet.  Then I'd spend another 3-4 hours a week entering the information from the worksheet into the cataloging database - which at this point is an Excel spreadsheet.  The next step - which I did not do - is to upload the spreadsheet information into ArtBase - the cloud-based database selected to house all the Archive's information. 
There were several - and not all of them were connected to the art. The Archive is housed in office space in an old converted building on University Avenue with big windows that let in wonderful sunlight. Unless of course, you're storing artwork. One of the funniest moments was having to put up UV protection film on the window to protect the art. I'm glad there are no photos of that.
I loved that this internship introduced me to all the aspects of a small museum (or archive) and all the roles the staff must fill. We had to deal with facilities issues (those windows), storage questions, development of inventory worksheets and a database, timeline issues, all while I was cataloging the art itself. 

This internship confirmed that I love to work in small organizations - something I have found in my professional career as well.  I enjoy the variety and challenges of all those multiple roles and to see something that starts from the ground up is a wonderful experience.  I also would add, that I'd now love to have the experience of working at the other end of the spectrum for a bit and see how a large, well-established institution performs some of the same tasks that we did, but on a bigger scale.