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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Interpretation

The Art Institute of Chicago’s department of Interpretation is excited to offer a McMullan Arts Leadership intern position to work with their team.

Interpretation at the Art Institute is a new and quickly-growing department that guides visitors’ experiences with art through didactic materials such as labels and audio tours and through live interpretation, such as art making and tours. Our goal is to make art accessible to a wide variety of visitors. We are a highly collaborative department that interfaces regularly with staff across the museum.

The intern in Interpretation will work with both live gallery interpretation and museum didactics. The intern will lead art making programs, tours, and other gallery experiences for adults; research innovative written interpretation being undertaken at other cultural institutions; and evaluate the visitor experience within our galleries. The internship will provide a balance between learning about the interpretive process and hands-on experience guiding interactions with, and conversations about, art.

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 Interpretation. 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:

  • Develop skills in producing public engagement programming;
  • Develop public speaking skills;
  • Develop hands-on art making facilitation skills;
  • Develop collaborative skills;
  • Develop project management skills;
  • Become familiar with art museum processes, organization, and trends;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


  • Assist with planning and facilitation of art making programs for adults.
  • Research approaches to accessible and inclusive language in museum didactics
  • Conduct gallery evaluation by observing and interviewing visitors; analyze these findings and write actionable reports.
  • Assist with review of interpretive plans and gallery didactics.
  • Plan and lead gallery tours and other gallery experiences as necessary.
  • Attend weekly check-ins with mentors: the assistant director of interpretation, director of gallery activation, and assistant director of gallery activation as needed
  • Attend intern cohort professional development programs and museum practice seminars



  • 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
  • Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to be open-minded and work collaboratively with colleagues across the museum
  • Willingness to interact with visitors of all ages, dispositions, and backgrounds
  • Previous art making/studio experience; an enthusiasm to teach/facilitate creative experiences for adult audiences
  • Ability to comfortably facilitate conversations with art, preferably with adults
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Suite and Google Suite
  • Detail-oriented mindset and demonstrated organizational skills; ability to multitask and be flexibly prioritize when appropriate


  • Background in art history or in storytelling with art; and/or active creative practice(s)
  • Awareness of and/or curiosity about art museum culture and current events in the field


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
  • Hyperlink to a digital portfolio
    • Portfolio must include 2D examples of art-making work that the candidate has previously done. A Google Drive link, Dropbox link, artist website, or social media page is acceptable to include.
  • In lieu of a traditional cover letter, please respond to the following questions and prompts in short essays (maximum 300 words except for the last prompt.) 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?
    • Find an artwork on the Art Institute website and write a 70-100 word label that uses visual details and contextual information to guide a visitor's looking.

To apply: Visit to find job posting and apply online. Upload all materials into one pdf document and list your last name and “Summer 2023” in the title of the file (example: [LAST NAME]_Summer2023.pdf.) Please note that the digital portfolio must be presented as an accessible website, Dropbox, or Google Drive hyperlink listed in the applicant’s resume. The application will close on February 28, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early application is suggested. Selected applicants will be asked to interview via video call.


Duration of Program: 10 weeks / June 2023 (start date anytime during the week of June 5–June 9) through August 2023 (end date anytime during the week of August 7–August 11)

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

Schedule: This is a full-time, 10-week position for a currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate student. The intern will work 30 hours per week, for a total of up to 300 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 on select Fridays mornings at 10:00 AM CDT unless otherwise noted; 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. All museum staff, interns, and fellows are required to provide a COVID-19 vaccine attestation upon acceptance of the position. 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.

Contact Info:
Academic Engagement and Research Department
(312) 857-7146
Job Type: Paid Internship
Location: Chicago, IL / Loop