Friday, 27 May 2016




Hello again, Musing's readers! It has been a minute since my last article, and I am embarrassed to admit I just caught up on all-things-Musing's. From the Grad Guide to What's Happening Wednesdays, I feel caught up on the life and times of MMSt students - but what about the interns? The first instalment of internship check-in is here to catch us up on the amazing opportunities underway for my classmates who are fast approaching the half-way mark of their internship placements.

As for me, I started my internship April 25th, which means I am at the end of my FIFTH week and officially half way through my placement at Canada's National Ballet School.

I'm all about that Sharing Dance get-up. Photo Source: Danielle Rutkowski.
As much as I could talk about my own internship for the entirety of this post, I'm not about to 'check-in' with myself and have instead asked four outstanding interns to share their stories... Enjoy!

Anthony, Collections Management Intern at Black Creek Pioneer Village 

When did you start your placement? May 9th, 2016

Tell us about what you're working on! As a collections management co-op student at Black Creek, I am in charge of cataloguing objects and integrating them into Black Creek's Collection. My main project is to create a discovery station using objects in the collection in order to better inform the public about life in the 19th century.

What do you enjoy the most? I like the fact that I get to see how my work actually directly impacts the institution for the better and improves the public's understanding of the past.

What are you most apprehensive about? I think the thing I was most apprehensive about was the distance. Everyone said how far Black Creek is, but with the express buses from Jane, the commute is manageable and can actually be fun!

What is the most important think you've learned so far? Never underestimate the importance of object research. Sometimes you might think an object is for one thing, when it is really for something totally different.

Spinning the First House at Black Creek. Photo Source: Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Dana, Collections and Registration Intern at the Aga Khan Museum 

When did you start your placement? April 25, 2016

Tell us about what you're working on! I am currently working on an Emergency Preparedness Plan for AKM (conducting risk assessment and identifying assets of the museum; researching best practices for emergency response and recovery procedures and creating the Emergency Preparedness Handbook; sourcing and procuring supplies for the Emergency Preparedness Cart). I am also developing a provenance research policy and a variety of collections management tasks, including: processing acquisitions, incoming loans, condition reporting, collections inventory, and training in the collections management software - The Museum System (TMS). 

What do you enjoy the most? The fact that I'm treated as a member of the team, not simply a student or intern. My opinions and ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and my supervisor has invited me to shape the internship according to my own interests. 

What are you most apprehensive about? I was concerned that I may not receive enough guidance or perhaps be left to my own devices during the internship. I was excited to have my own projects and end with something that I could call my own, but I didn't want to be left unsupported either. I really shouldn't have worried about this, the entire staff at AKM is wonderfully supportive and no question is treated as too small. They understand that, as an intern, you are there to learn and they are there to teach you. 

What is the most important think you've learned so far? My very first week was trial by fire. I came into the museum during the installation of the new exhibition Marvellous Creatures and it was all hands on deck. With couriers, conservators, designers, collections staff, and curators running around and passing out tasks I learned pretty quickly that teamwork is essential. Tensions run high, mistakes happen, but so long as your team continues to support one another you will come out of things with a beautiful exhibition (and no casualties)! 

Some artifacts on display at the AKM. Photo Source: CTV News

Emily, Exhibitions and Events Intern at Lord Cultural Resources

Contributor's Note: When I approached Emily about sharing her experience for Musing's she informed me that she isn't allowed to discuss her projects, but would share what she could. As each internship is unique, I thought it was a great opportunity to include a different version of a check-in to this shared experience. 

When did you start your placement? May 2, 2016

Tell us about what you're working on! I am an intern at Lord with the Exhibitions and Events team, where I am working on content development, interpretive strategies, sourcing images for various exhibitions, as well as examining best practices for a variety of different institutions. 

What do you enjoy the most? By working on many different projects at various stages of their development, I'm exposed to multiple types of content and processes. I appreciate my team's support, being treated as an equal, diving right into projects, and always being able to ask questions when needed. 

The MMSt summer must-read. Photo Source: Lord Cultural Resources.

Kate, Research and Exhibition Development Intern at Bytown Museum 

When did you start your placement? April 25, 2016

Tell us about what you're working on! I am writing labels and exhibit text for the Bytown Museum's 100th Anniversary Exhibition (opening Feb 2017) and I am assisting the Exhibitions and Collections Manager as needed (exhibit installation, monitoring galleries, etc.)

What do you enjoy the most? I think what I enjoy the most about my internship is knowing that the objects that I helped choose and the research and content that I produced will be used in an upcoming exhibition. I am very much looking forward to visiting the Bytown Museum in 2017 and visiting an exhibit that I helped build! 

What are you most apprehensive about? Apart from emails for administrative things, I had only spoken to Grant (my supervisor) for 5 to 10 minutes before I started my internship. I was (unnecessarily) worried that I had misunderstood what my duties as an intern would be, or that the project I would be working on wasn't actually as cool as Grant made it sound. 

What is the most important think you've learned so far? It's hard to have someone shadowing you - be sure to let your supervisor know that you want to go to the meetings that they do, and help even with what they think are menial or routine tasks. The beginning of an internship is a learning curve for both the intern and the supervisor, so make sure your expectations and needs are clear from the get go. 

"Helping"install the bust of Lady McDonald. Photo Source: Kate Seally.

Well, it looks like we are all caught up with the first round of interns! I would like to thank Anthony, Dana, Emily, and Kate for sharing such amazing insight and experiences. I wish each of you all the best in the remaining time at your placements. 

I love to hear more stories so feel free to share your internship experiences, favourite tasks, high points, crying in the washroom low points... in the comment section below! 

We feel you Dwight Schrute, we really do. #let'sgetprofessional


  1. Great to catch up on internship experiences and wonderful to read that great mentorship is in place. about paying these brilliant learners during their internship? It is of mutual benefit and both parties are further ahead, but students are unable to work at a paid position during the summer term as internships are a full time work load. How do students pay for their final year in a master's program? These students have already spent 5 years in University and I gather are most likely already in debt. I ask that internships receive compensation as they lend their knowledge, enthusiasm and exceptional work ethics to successful businesses.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Right now student funding is on a case by case basis for internships. In the meantime, it's great to hear about the experiences that students are having with their mentors and host institutions.