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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Interpretation (Academic Year 2024–2025)


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 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.


  • Research, plan, support, and facilitate public gallery tours and other programs as needed;
  • Attend meetings to discuss programming and pedagogical initiatives across Gallery Activation and Interpretation;
  • Conduct evaluation by observing and interviewing visitors; analyze these findings and write actionable reports;
  • Learn about the interpretive review process and exhibition planning process;
  • Attend weekly check-ins with mentors: Assistant Director of Interpretation and Assistant Director of Gallery Activation;
  • 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 and/or attending school in the Chicagoland area during the internship term;
  • Ability to comfortably facilitate conversations with art, preferably with adults;
  • Enthusiasm for community building and connecting with groups through teaching and conversation;
  • 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;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Suite and Google Suite;
  • Detail-oriented mindset and demonstrated organizational skills; ability to multitask and be flexible when appropriate;
  • Ability to analyze quantitative and qualitative data;
  • Awareness of and/or curiosity about art museum culture and current events in the field.


Please apply on must upload all of the requested materials below (résumé and essay responses) into only one pdf document and list your last name and “AY 24-25” in the title of the file (example: [LAST NAME]_AY 24-25.pdf.) Please upload your materials where asked in the online application.

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
  • Instead 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?
    • Find an artwork on the Art Institute website and write a 70-100 word label that might accompany it on a wall. Use visual details in the work and contextual information to guide a visitor's looking.

DEADLINE: The deadline to submit an application to this position is Tuesday, July 16 at 11:59 pm CDT. We will not accept late applications. We will contact the candidates we want to interview within three weeks of our deadline.


Duration of Position: 32 weeks / September 2024 (start date anytime during the week of September 23–27) through April/early May 2024 (end date anytime during the week of April 28–May 2)

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

Schedule: This is a part-time, 32-week position for a currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate student. The intern will work 14 hours per week, for a total of up to 448 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 workdays. Internet access and appropriate technology will be necessary to complete this internship; technological accommodations will be provided by the Art Institute of Chicago based on necessity.

Number of openings: 1

Contact Info:
Academic Engagement and Research Department
(312) 857-7146
Job Type: Paid Internship
Compensation: $16.32/hr
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago