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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Intern – Imaging, Photography and Production (Summer 2024)


The Art Institute of Chicago’s department of Imaging is excited to offer a McMullan Arts Leadership intern position to work with their Photography and Production teams.

The Imaging department captures and archives photographs of the museum, including its collections, exhibitions, conservation efforts, gallery spaces and buildings, events, staff, and visitors. Our work is centered around three key pillars:

  • Creating high-quality images that document and preserve the Art Institute's collections, exhibitions, conservation studies, and institutional life;
  • Promoting understanding about the museum and the greater cultural heritage community through specialized imaging;
  • Building our expertise as creators, documentarians, and archivists through the adoption of innovative techniques and best practices.

The intern for this role will work closely with the Photography and Production teams of the department, collaborating side-by-side with Imaging staff to develop your technical and narrative skills to effectively document art objects. The intern selected for this position will be introduced to the lifecycle of imaging work, from image creation to editing, metadata creation, file management, and ongoing access and reuse. The intern will also have multiple opportunities to assist our team of photographers, working in both 2D- and 3D- studios.

The intern will join a museum-wide intern cohort and have access to a range of programs to support their development in addition to their placement in Imaging. Mentorship is provided throughout the experience and connections with an intern alumni network will be established.

Goals of the McMullan Arts Leadership Internship Program

The McMullan Arts Leadership internship program is part of a museum-wide effort to provide students the opportunity to gain experience, career awareness, networks, and skills that will position them to thrive as future art museum leaders.

This program specifically aims to support students who encounter economic challenges when considering a career in the arts. Aligned with this goal, we aim to help shape a diverse group of leaders whose actions are informed by a wide range of perspectives, varying career paths, and values inspired by their own lived experiences.

In this position, the intern will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain practical experience in the stewardship of digital images, helping to foster visual literacy and digital asset management skills;
  • Gain experience working with Collection Management software (CITI), Digital Asset Management software (NetX), project management software (JIRA), and various photography editing software (Photoshop, Capture One, Bridge, etc.);
  • Gain an introduction to technical guidelines for digitizing cultural heritage materials (FADGI standards);
  • Learn best practices for cultural heritage photography;
  • Learn to use various studio cameras, equipment and lighting techniques;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns;
  • Develop an awareness of the inner-workings of a large art museum with a global collection.


  • Assist photographers in 2D- and 3D- photography studios and location photography
  • Conduct image editing, quality control, and file management
  • Ingest images into our digital asset management system (NetX), promoting discoverability and facilitating access to Imaging’s digital archive
  • Attend weekly check-ins with the mentors of this position: the assistant director of production and the associate director of photography
  • Attend intern cohort professional development programs and museum practice seminars
  • Devise and complete (in consultation with mentors) a reflective, culminating project that helps to increase access and visibility of digital image archives


  • Undergraduate or graduate student; recent graduates (within one year of graduation) will also be considered
  • Due to onsite necessity, applicants must be based in the Chicagoland area for the summer and/or attending school in the Chicagoland area
  • Experience with or interest in learning imaging hardware and software (cameras, lighting, image editing, etc.)
  • Enthusiasm for embracing a wide range of projects; ability to multitask and flexibly prioritize when appropriate
  • Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to be open-minded and work collaboratively with colleagues across the museum
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Committed to the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums
  • Awareness of and/or curiosity about art museum culture and current events in the field


You must upload all of the requested materials below (résumé and essay responses) into only one pdf document and list your last name and “Summer 2024” in the title of the file (example: [LAST NAME]_SUMMER2024.pdf.) Please upload your materials where asked in the online application.

A Digital Portfolio is requested: The digital portfolio, website, or Google Drive folder must be presented as an accessible hyperlink listed in your resume.

Please note: You will not be considered if any requested application element is missing.

To apply for this internship, tell us your story. We want to understand who you are, what motivates you, how you think, and where you’re coming from. Please submit the following materials:

  • Résumé
    • Include an accessible hyperlink to your digital portfolio, Instagram, website, and/or Google Drive folder of recent photography work in your résumé
  • In lieu of a traditional cover letter, please respond to the following questions in short essays (no more than 300 words per answer.) We encourage you to provide specific examples to support your answers or to illustrate your ideas:
    • What about this job description interests you the most?
    • With the mission of the McMullan Arts Leadership intern program in mind, what perspectives might you bring to this role that you think museums need more of?
    • How do you envision this opportunity helping you towards your professional goals?


This application will close on Thursday, February 29th at 11:59 pm CDT. Selected applicants will be asked to interview via video call after the deadline passes.


Duration of Position: 10 weeks / June 2024 (start date anytime during the week of June 3–7) through August 2024 (end date anytime during the week of August 5–9)

Compensation: Paid / $16.32/hr / part-time / Temporary

Schedule: This is a part-time, 10-week position for a currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate student. The intern will work 21 hours per week, for a total of up to 210 hours over the course of the internship. Work days will occur between Monday–Friday; the start date and schedule will be determined upon agreement with the candidate and the host department.

Hourlong virtual and in-person intern professional development programs will be scheduled throughout the internship term that the student is strongly encouraged to attend. These programs will occur during the week; we ask that the intern make this part of their internship schedule.

Format: The internship will be a hybrid of onsite and remote work days. Due to onsite necessity, applicants based or attending school in the Chicagoland area during the internship timeframe will be prioritized. Internet access and appropriate technology will be necessary to complete this internship, but technological accommodations can be provided by the Art Institute of Chicago based on necessity.

Number of openings: 1

Contact Info:
The Art Institute of Chicago
(312) 857-7146
Job Type: Paid Internship
Location: Chicago, IL / Loop