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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Research Center – Cataloging

The Art Institute of Chicago’s Research Center is excited to offer a McMullan Arts Leadership intern position to work on cataloging with their library team.

The Art Institute of Chicago and its Research Center strive to create an environment and culture built on equity, inclusion and justice and this critical cataloging internship aims to correct outdated language and improve access to resources by updating the language we use when describing resources. Within the field of GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) institutions there is a growing movement to reconsider previously accepted vocabulary terms with the goal to reduce harm and improve discoverability for contemporary researchers in the arts. This project will further the Research Center’s reparative description work by surveying, documenting, and updating sexist, racist, and other harmful language that may exist in bibliographic metadata.

The intern will contribute to an external guide to provide context and explanations for decisions as well as documenting why, when, and how decisions and changes are made. This external guide will also serve as a resource for researchers, both internal and external, on how to successfully find and retrieve materials in the Research Center’s collections using the new terminology. The intern will also learn tools and set up processes in the library management system (LMS) to ensure the locally preferred terminology is used in all future records.

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 the Research Center. 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 familiarity with vocabularies and best practices related to the area of focus;
  • Understanding of the format and purpose of local authorities;
  • Learn library management and discovery systems (Alma/Primo);
  • Create LibGuide(s) content for effective information sharing;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


  • Research the area of focus in relation to critical cataloging and review resources on similar projects
  • Update existing metadata with preferred term(s) and create corresponding local authority records.
  • Update the library’s discovery system to direct researchers to use the updated vocabulary
  • Create a public-facing LibGuide to document work and changes made to terms in the catalog with the goal of aiding researchers in navigating resources relating to these terms.
  • Attend weekly check-ins with the position’s mentors: the associate director of digital research systems and strategies and the associate library director of technical services
  • 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
  • Demonstrated interest in pursuing or current enrollment in an accredited library school program is required
  • Understanding of the harmful nature of historical resources and the terminology used in catalogs to describe them; and a commitment to describe them ethically and accurately.
  • Flexible when working independently, with supervision, or as part of a team.
  • Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented mindset and demonstrated organizational skills; ability to multitask and be flexibly prioritize when appropriate


  • Previous experience in special collections, library, or archives work
  • Demonstrated understanding of cataloging principles and controlled vocabularies
  • Experience with Google Suite and video conferencing software and and interest in learning workflows in the library management system (LMS)
  • 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
  • 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?

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.) 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 / 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 on select Fridays mornings at 10:00 AM CDT unless otherwise noted; we ask that the intern make this part of their internship schedule.

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