Starting in 2015, IU students will have the opportunity to experience what an IU press release called the “greatest single collection of American history,” working as interns alongside museum staff at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
IU is the first public university to secure a coveted internship slot with the Smithsonian and, beginning in 2015 and continuing for the following five years, the museum will be host to at least one undergraduate or graduate student from the IUB School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ Arts Administration Program.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to work with the nation’s top historians, scholars and curators,” said Mark Case, director of SPEA’s Career Development Office, in the release. “We’re grateful to the Smithsonian and eager to start the process of selecting our first intern.”
The Arts Administration program is housed in SPEA and aims to provide students an “intellectually and culturally stimulating experience in the study and practice of arts management while preparing themselves for leadership in the arts in the decades ahead,” according to its website.
Its goal is to foster artistic creativity, while maintaining core values and producing leaders in the art world.
Internships will last one full semester, and students will be able to gain college credit for completing the job.
Interns will also work closely with museum staff on exhibits and related museum projects, in addition to attending weekly seminars that will allow them glimpses into the inner workings of the world-famous museum.
“Our Smithsonian interns won’t be standing in the shadows and observing,” said Michael Rushton, director of SPEA’s Arts Administration program, in the release.
“This is a hands-on internship with meaningful responsibilities. We’re preparing the next generation of cultural leaders, and what better place for them to learn in the field than at the Smithsonian.”
The Smithsonian is home to some of America’s greatest, most beloved U.S. artifacts, including President Lincoln’s top hat, Dorothy’s ruby slippers and the original Star-Spangled Banner.
On its website, the Smithsonian describes its internships as “learning experiences guided by a mentor ... which provide benefits relating to an intern’s education, coursework, or career goals.”
Competition is fierce, the website warns.
IU may be the first public university to offer the coveted internship, but it isn’t alone in its success. Middlebury College and Smith College also offer the Smithsonian internship.
Students will have the opportunity to learn more about applying for the internship on the SPEA Career Development Office website, once details are finalized.
Omar Eaton-Martinez is the Smithsonian Museum’s coordinator of internships and said in the release he is looking forward to embarking on this new journey with SPEA students and IU.
“We look forward to providing an exhaustive experience to SPEA students,” he said.