The Metropolitan Museum of Art Intern, New York City
Everyone in the class heard “no school” whenever my teacher said “fieldtrip.” But as for me, the word “museum” caught my attention. A job at the Met might be the right fit if, as a child, your goal at museums wasn’t just to get to the gift shop. The opportunity to intern provides a chance to discover the information kept behind “staff only” doors. Students have the opportunity to examine the inner workings of the museum through the internships offered by The Met. Apply for an internship at the Met if you want to figure out where you fit in the world of art history, nonprofits, or to see the enigmatic fourth floor.
What it’s actually like
You’ll see behind the glitz to the space’s and the art’s inner workings as a Met intern. Gregory Ochiagha, a junior at Pitzer College, said that his favorite part of working with the High School Summer Internship Program at the Met in 2013 was going to the museum every day. I developed a much closer bond with all the art I was exposed to. I started to take notice of details about specific pieces that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen if I had just dropped by for a quick look. A typical week for a Met intern includes time spent with the other interns and in your departmental placement. You get to observe meetings between curators, department heads, and designers in your department. Along with working on individual projects like writing blog posts or education guides, researching artworks and artists, or archiving, you’ll also tour the museum as part of assignments. These departmental placements give you the chance to bond with your coworkers, despite the fact that they frequently entail fighting with the copier and the occasional mindless copy/paste or photocopy.
Cool stuff you get to do
The ultimate art history nerd’s dream comes true when you get to visit the Met after hours. Also, you get to see behind the scenes. Some secret highlights include the conservation lab. When artworks are removed from their frames for maintenance and restoration, chemistry and art history collide here. A second behind-the-scenes look shows the museum’s unfinished areas. The Met’s polished exhibitions match their opulent exterior, but the spaces that are hidden from the public are often concrete, dark, and a little sketchy. On your way to the staff lunchroom, you may also notice some statues or replicas hanging out in corners.
“One of the most beneficial things interns take away is an understanding of the actual work of various museum professionals, particularly the amount of collaboration and teamwork that is required to make things happen at a place like the Met,” says the intern. They acquire crucial communication skills, whether they are working with the public or writing and editing. A skill that is useful throughout one’s entire career is the capacity to communicate ideas effectively, succinctly, and convincingly, according to Elizabeth Perkins, an assistant museum educator in the Met’s education division.
How to prepare for your application
With more than 400,000 pieces in their collection that have been cataloged and six 3 million visitors annually, so there is definitely competition in the application process. I seek out students who are genuinely passionate about the arts, whether it be performance or visual art. Additionally, Perkins said, “I want to see enthusiasm and a willingness to learn; if someone can demonstrate those qualities with a specific example, that person will stand out in my eyes.” “I also look for students who articulate some clear goals for learning and growth because I want to be sure we’re giving students the support they need at the right time in their studies,” she continued. The biggest misconception, in my opinion, is that you must be a student of art or art history to obtain an internship at The Met; this is untrue. To develop a group of future professionals who bring a variety of skills to the art world, we want to have a diverse intern cohort. Sadly, “I like art” and “I’m interested” are no longer sufficient
Skills that impress them
Employees name drop artists like it’s second nature here. People become so accustomed to the artwork that they occasionally forget that not every student has completed the requirements for their major in Renaissance art. Knowing the collection will not only dazzle your colleagues, but it’s also useful. You’ll know where to go the next time your boss says, “We’re meeting by the Rembrandts.”
They have nothing on your museum ID in terms of the authority you felt when you first obtained a library card and then a driver’s license. In addition to receiving a discount at the museum’s eatery and gift shop, you and your visitors are also entitled to free admission to all New York, most US, and even some foreign museums.
The Museum Seminar (MuSe) Internship Program
- Ten-week, six-month, nine-month or 12-month internships
- Placed in one of 40 departments
- The Museum Seminar Series is held one day a week so that you can interact with others and gain knowledge about the museum as a whole.
Fall and Spring-Semester Internships for Undergraduate and Graduate Students:
- third week of September to the second week of December are the fall dates.
- February first week to April last week are the dates for spring.
- 12 hours per week for at least 10 weeks. Potential opportunity for academic credit.
- Nine-week internship, June 13–August 12, 2016
- Five days, 35 hours per week
- Leading tours and working with camp groups
Check out these four simple steps to land that summer internship if you’re prepared to begin your career.
MY EXPERIENCE APPLYING AND INTERVIEWING FOR AN INTERNSHIP AT THE MET MUSEUM
What does the Met look for in interns?
Interns from a variety of backgrounds and interests who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and insights with other teenagers, Museum staff, and the communities the Museum serves are what we’re looking for.
What do met interns do?
The Department of Scientific Research (DSR) at The Met provides undergraduate and graduate students with internship opportunities to learn about the relationship between science and art and to gain practical experience working in a top-notch cultural heritage science laboratory.
What can you learn with internship at museum?
The opportunity to gain first-hand experience working in a museum setting is the main advantage of an internship at an art museum. On a variety of tasks and projects related to their area of interest, such as education, curatorial work, or event planning, interns typically collaborate closely with museum staff.