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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Textiles (Academic Year 2024–2025


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

The Department of Textile’s collection consists of more than 13,500 objects ranging in date from 300 BC to the present. It’s a collection with a global reach, including printed furnishing and dress fabrics, European tapestries and vestments, Turkish velvets, Greek embroideries, pre-Columbian textiles from many early Andean cultures, a wide range of Asian textiles, notably Japanese kimonos and fukusa from the 18th to 20th centuries, African textiles, and an array of works from modern and contemporary artists such as Henri Matisse, Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Roberto Burle Marx, and Rahul Jain. We continue to build the collection through carefully selected and considered gifts and purchases.

The main project that the intern will be involved in is the development of an exhibition about American fiber artist Claire Zeisler (1903-1991). The exhibition and the accompanying publication will be the first monograph on the artist since 1979. Ziesler’s work includes the use of many natural materials and takes inspiration from a variety of global sources. The intern will assist the curator and department head with information organization, checklist organization, and have the opportunity to participate in planning meetings with other museum staff.

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 Textiles. 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 hands-on experience of managing curatorial projects in an art museum;
  • Hone object-based research skills;
  • Receive museum collection management training;
  • Prepare material for possible inclusion in a forthcoming exhibition catalogue;
  • Develop information and project management skills;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


  • Work collaboratively with the Textiles and Textiles Conservation teams;
  • Assist the Textiles curatorial team in organizing research materials, create an annotated bibliography and an annotated chronology for the artist;
  • Participate in regular object viewing sessions with the curatorial and conservation staff;
  • Participate in project meetings with other museum departments whenever possible (such as Exhibitions, Collections and Loans, Interpretation, etc. );
  • Assist the curator in developing and organizing the checklist from the AIC permanent collection and loans;
  • Attend regular check-ins with the position’s mentors: the Chair and Christa C. Mayer Thurman Curator and the Associate Curator of the Textiles department;
  • 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 and/or attending school in the Chicagoland area over the course of the internship term;
  • Interest in textiles and fiber preferred, but extensive experience is not required;
  • Familiarity with Google Suite and some database experience preferred;
  • Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills;
  • Open to learning new skills and is curious about museum work; has the ability to be open-minded and work collaboratively with colleagues across the museum;
  • Detail-oriented mindset and demonstrated organizational skills; ability to multitask and to flexibly reprioritize when appropriate.


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?

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