Intern Guidelines – Penn State

Guidelines for Education Interships courtesy of the Penn State, University Park, PA.


The following guidelines serve as a basis for cooperative affiliations between the Undergraduate and the Graduate Program in Art Education at The Pennsylvania State University and Education Departments of Museums and Cultural Institutions, which are considering students for internships.  These guidelines are applicable to students in Art Education at Penn State who are pursuing the Museums and Cultural Institutions Option for the Baccalaureate Degree, the Degree of Master of Science or Master of Education, and the Doctorate in Art Education.  These guidelines are consistent with those in Standards and Guidelines for Museum Internships prepared by the New England Museum Association and published by the American Association of Museums (1993, 2000).

Internships should incorporate the following principles.

  1. The 15 credit internship should normally be the equivalent of a full semester in length, or a minimum of 12 weeks duration, and represent full-time employment of the intern’s energies (40 hours per week or a standard work week as mutually defined by the sponsoring museum or institution and the university).
  2. The sponsoring museum is requested to design the internship in cooperation with the prospective intern and university supervisor.
  3. A formal written internship agreement will be signed by the intern supervisor at the sponsoring museum, and by the prospective intern and university supervisor outlining the desired objectives of the internship, the intern’s duties and responsibilities, the responsibilities of the museum and university supervisors, and the means by which the intern’s work will be evaluated.
  4. Interns should be integrated into the ongoing work and education programs of the museum and treated as staff members.
  5. Interns should assume professional-level responsibilities and be expected to complete a project or some discrete portion of a public and major project that is being undertaken by the education department of the museum.
  6. Interns should recognize and fulfill the expectations embodied in the internship, taking responsibility for their actions and representing both the museum and university in a professional manner.
  7. Interns should be carefully supervised by experienced and responsible professional staff members within the museum in cooperation with the university supervisor.
  8. A museum considering the acceptance of an intern should recognize that supervisory responsibilities will require a significant commitment of time, but that an internship will equally and mutually benefit both the museum and the intern.
  9. Interns should become acquainted with the functions, programs and departments of the museum in addition to those to which they have been assigned in order to understand the relationship of the intern’s educational work to that of the museum, to the community, and to the museum field in general.
  10. Interns will submit a journal of daily activities to the university supervisor on a weekly basis, as well as a summary report on the experience at the conclusion of the internship.
  11. At the conclusion of the internship, the museum supervisor should complete an intern evaluation and submit it to the university supervisor.  The museum supervisor’s report should document the intern’s actual working/learning experiences and critically evaluate these experiences.
  12. If called upon to do so by the intern, the museum supervisor should be willing to write a letter of recommendation for use by the intern in pursuing any future professional positions in museum education.
  13. The internship may also include any special workshops, lectures series, professional courses, and staff training seminars that are underway while the student is participating in the internship.  Meeting times and hours involved in such activity may be considered a part of the intern’s normal work week.  However, any expenses incurred should be accommodated by the sponsoring museum.
  14. Interns should be given reasonable consideration within the normal work week to pursue a research or inquiry project if an appropriate proposal is submitted and approved by the museum supervisor and the university supervisor prior to the beginning of such a project.
  15. Interns should be encouraged as appropriate to seek professional employment after completion of the internship, and reasonable accommodation should be made to allow them time to look for positions, prepare application materials, and attend interviews.

David Ebitz
Associate Professor of Art and Art Education
Coordinator, Museums and Cultural Institutions Option in Art Education
School of Visual Arts
The Pennsylvania State University
212 Arts Cottage
University Park, PA  16802
(814) 863-1004
Fax (814) 863-8664

Rev. 5/10/05