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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Photography and Media (Academic Year 2024-2025)


The Art Institute of Chicago’s department of Photography and Media seeks an enthusiastic and organized intern interested in collection management and curation. The intern will learn about the Art Institute’s collection by assisting the department’s collection manager with cataloging and object research, and publishing original web-based content on objects in the collection. Through mentorship with the collection manager and curators in the department, the intern will gain insight into the work of a photography and media curator and museum careers more broadly.

Spanning the history of photography from the 1830s to the present, the Art Institute's Photography and Media collection holds approximately 24,000 objects by celebrated practitioners from across the globe. Photographs have been exhibited regularly at the Art Institute of Chicago for well over a century; the museum’s photography collection originated in 1949, when Georgia O'Keeffe donated the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. That collection, along with the Julien Levy Collection, give the museum a core strength in early 20th-century photography from the United States and Western Europe. The department's collection also includes important groups of work by pioneer photographers of the 19th century, Japanese postwar photography, South African photography, work made in Chicago, and a range of contemporary art—making it wide-ranging in scope.

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 Photography and Media. 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 a foundational knowledge of the inner workings of a curatorial department and the work of a collection manager and curator;
  • Develop a knowledge of current scholarship on photography and media;
  • Engage and work with museum professionals in various fields and departments;
  • Experience conducting collection and exhibition research;
  • Experience writing and publishing web-based content;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


  • Assist collection manager with research on objects in the collection
  • Assist with research on forthcoming exhibitions and/or publishing projects
  • Pursue independent research and develop web-based content for one or more collection objects
  • Attend weekly check-ins with the position’s mentor: the department’s collection manager
  • 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
  • Applicants must be based in the Chicagoland area for the summer and/or attending school in the Chicagoland area
  • Major or focus in art history, media studies, cultural/visual studies, design, or arts administration; museum, institutional, or art world experience will also be considered
  • A basic knowledge of photographic history and technique is preferred
  • Familiarity with MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, and Google Suite
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills


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 “AY2425” in the title of the file (example: [LAST NAME]_AY2425.pdf.). Please upload your materials where the application asks for a “résumé/cover letter.”

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 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?

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 fully onsite. 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
Job Type: Paid Internship
Compensation: $16.32/hr
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago