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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Modern and Contemporary Art (Academic Year 2024–2025)


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

Featuring painting, sculpture, installation, and media work, the department’s significant collection of contemporary art encompasses the many major art movements from 1945 to the present, including Pop Art, Conceptual Art, Minimalism, and Gutai. The already strong collection was greatly enriched in 2015 by an exceptional gift of 44 masterworks from collectors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, and it continues to grow and expand through acquisitions of works by contemporary artists working today.

The associate curator and collection management team for contemporary art seek an emerging colleague in the field that will bring fresh perspective and dedicated attention to collection research, administration and care. The candidate will be a self-starter and work collaboratively with curatorial and collection staff on permanent collection displays, acquisition preparations, object management (both paper and digital), and special projects. This position offers opportunities to research and write collection-related texts, observe aspects of collection stewardship, and play a hands-on role in other department activities.

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 Modern and Contemporary. 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:

  • Collaborate with curatorial staff on new processes for object files and bibliographic materials;
  • Complete distinct research projects for the contemporary collection;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


  • Learn about curatorial writing and contribute to drafting labels, artist bios, and other materials for the department’s collection;
  • Conduct object research for collection and potential acquisitions;
  • Maintain departmental procedures and propose/conceive new architectures for collection files if/as necessary;
  • Assist and support work examining provenance and exhibition history for collection;
  • Attend weekly check-ins with the position’s mentors: Associate Curator and Collection Manager of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • 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 over the course of the internship term;
  • Possesses excellent research and writing skills;
  • Maintains an enthusiastic, motivated, and inspired approach to individual and collaborative work;
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft office and Google Drive, Adobe Suite and data system experience.


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?
  • One writing sample that demonstrates your research skills and critical thinking (maximum 3000 words; illustrations optional).

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.

Number of openings: 1

Contact Info:
Academic Engagement and Research Department
Job Type: Paid Internship
Compensation: $16.32/hr
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago