Roundtable: Pay Your Damn Interns: Whys and Hows for Academic Museums

This roundtable session will bring together AAMG’s diverse membership to discuss a singular issue- the ethical and logistical considerations of internship programs at academic museums. Following the June 2019 release of the AAMD resolution on paid museum internships, there is increasing consensus that paid internships are critical to profession-wide goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Academic museums, with close institutional ties to higher education, can provide exposure to and training in museum careers, but have unique constraints on our capacity to pay interns. This roundtable provides an opportunity to discuss these opportunities and constraints, considering the ethical imperative provided by AAMD, the relationship between paid internships and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), the pipeline to Museum Studies MAs, and our responsibilities to students at home and beyond. We offer practical suggestions for supporting paid internships from multiple funding sources, sustaining robust internship programs, and deepening student engagement during the summer and the academic year. We are a group of midcareer academic and museum professionals overseeing internship and other student programs for 1) an urban, Ivy league university, 2) a large public university, and 3) a small, rural private liberal arts college. We are all at different stages in addressing the needs of our institutions and a dedication to paid internships, and our successes and failures will inform our presentation of this topic to roundtable attendees.

Jessica Brunecky, Director of Visitor Experience and Finance for the University of Colorado Art Museum

Douglas Perkins, Associate Director for Operations and Finance at the Middlebury College Museum of Art

Anne Tiballi, Director of Academic Engagement, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology