Monday, 6 July 2015

FRET NOT! WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MMST INTERNSHIP

THE GRAD SCHOOL GUIDE

BY: JENNY FORD

As many of you incoming first-years choose classes, undoubtedly the internship is at the back of your mind. When do I start looking? How should I start looking? What should I be looking for? Here is the essential information and advice you need to know about the MMSt internship.

1. YOU FIND YOUR OWN INTERNSHIP

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Okay this sounds super scary, but it's really not! All this means is that the program isn't handing out internships. You usually apply to them much as you would a summer job. That being said, there are many avenues to pursue this:

  • MMSt internship postings includes dozens of postings for summer internships across the country and the world. These are generally institutions that have hosted interns in previous years. The postings don't usually go up until end of January.
  • Other internship postings through internship programs and institutions. Some good sites to look at are Young Canada Works, Canadian Heritage Information Network, the Ontario Museums Association, and major museum career pages. Once again, most of these aren't posted until at least February. Some, much later.
  • Cold calling means approaching someone at an institution and asking if they'd consider you as an intern. Sounds scary, but it's really not. People are very friendly and willing to consider you!  It's good to know what type of experience you want from your internship before approaching these people. 
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2. DON'T START LOOKING UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY
 
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Looking for an internship before the end of January is often too early. Most potential museum supervisors haven’t even thought about their summer schedule until then. It will be hard for most of them to pinpoint the types of projects you could work on.

The only internships you should do a little research on beforehand are the big internship applications, if you’re even interested in these. These are applications for institutions with internship programs, such as the MET. Know the deadlines and work towards those. Most aren’t until the New Year anyway!

3. COLLECT EMAILS

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Just because January is months away, doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself early on. During your first semester you’ll meet a lot of museum professionals through class, iSchool events, and so on. Talk to them and get their contact information. You may need those emails in January.

If any of these people sound like they have interesting jobs, ask them what they would suggest for internships. Would they recommend big or small institutions? What types of projects would they recommend? More importantly, who do they know who may need some summer help?

4. FIND YOUR FOCUS... OR NOT

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One issue that happened to some of my fellow students was suddenly realizing in January that they had no idea what they wanted to do, and therefore had no idea what kind of internship to pursue. As you settle in to fall classes, assess what you like and don’t like about museums. But please don’t worry if you still don’t know what your focus is! That's totally normal. In this case, try and go after positions at smaller institutions, where you can get involved in everything and try out very different tasks.

5. LET GO OF YOUR DREAM MUSEUM

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We all have our ideal museum that we would love to work at, but this isn't always practical for an internship. Larger museums will usually give you a more specialized internship experience, while small ones will often allow you to diversify. I had one or two friends who fixated on getting an internship at a specific institution, only to have it backfire when they got a "no". Don't box yourself in or write any museums off simply because they're not your "Dream".

GOT AN INTERNSHIP QUESTION? LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENTS!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Musings readers.

    Just reading and enjoying this blog post, almost as much as I've enjoyed having two MMSt. interns with us at Halton Region Heritage Services this summer. Lots of good information in this post about how to create a good internship, but I wanted to (gently) take issue with one statement: "Looking for an internship before the end of January is often too early. Most potential museum supervisors haven’t even thought about their summer schedule until then. It will be hard for most of them to pinpoint the types of projects you could work on."

    At least here in Heritage Services, I have to say "au contraire." In fact, early this fall, we'll be meeting to plan next summer's projects and think about summer students and interns, and we begin recruiting right away in January, so it's never too early to get in touch if you're interested in working with us.

    Regards,

    John Summers, M.M.St.
    Manager and Curator, Heritage Services
    Regional Municipality of Halton
    john.summers@halton.ca

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