Emerging Art Leaders Internship – Photography (Academic Year 2019-2020, Paid) – The Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago, IL

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Photography Department seeks an enthusiastic and organized undergraduate or graduate student who is interested in learning about the curatorial field and collection management. As the intern, you will assist the department’s four curators in the research and coordination of upcoming exhibitions and related projects. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the Art Institute’s collection by assisting the department’s collection manager with object research, as well as cataloging and care of photographs. Other responsibilities include a variety of research and administrative functions supporting departmental activities.

Spanning the history of the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the present, the Art Institute’s photography collection features some 25,000 works by many of the medium’s celebrated practitioners. While photographs have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago for well over a century, the museum’s collection of photography collection originated in 1949, when Georgia O’Keeffe donated the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. That collection, along with the Julien Levy Collection, give the museum a core strength in early-20th-century photography from the United States and Europe. The department’s collection also includes important groups of work by pioneer photographers of the 19th century, photography made in Chicago, and contemporary work as well—making it truly encyclopedic in scope.


  • Mentor relationships with field practitioners
  • Peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns
  • Awareness of the inner-workings of a large art museum with a global collection
  • Acquire and practice art history research and writing skills
  • Gain an understanding of the process of project development and implementation (exhibitions, for example)
  • Gain an understanding of the administrative and research skills required for collection management and preservation

Intern Information

About the Emerging Art Leaders Internship

The Emerging Art Leaders Internship is open to all qualified candidates with individuals from groups historically underrepresented in the arts museum field particularly encouraged to apply.
Priority will be given to those who demonstrate commitment to the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums.

This internship is part of a museum-wide effort to provide students from diverse backgrounds, including those underrepresented in the museum field, the opportunity to gain experience, career awareness, networks, skills that will together position them to succeed as future art museum leaders. Those selected join an intern cohort and have access to a range of programs to support their development in addition to their specific departmental placement. Mentorship is provided throughout the intern experience. Interns are also encouraged to remain connected to the museum and to other interns as part of an alumni network.

This project is made possible, in part, through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), funded by the Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation. Additional funding for DAMLI is provided by the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation.


  • Assist the department’s four curators in the research and coordination of upcoming exhibitions (preparing checklists, object research, etc.)
  • Assist the department’s collection manager with object research (provenance, exhibition history, publication history, etc.), cataloging, and care.
  • Preform research and writing for exhibition texts and object labels.
  • Prepare objects for study room visits.



  • Undergraduate or graduate student located in the Chicago metropolitan area who has completed at least one academic year of post-high school study; recent graduates (within one year of graduation) will also be considered.
  • Major in art history, arts administration, visual critical studies, or closely-related field.
  • Ability to carry out independent library research.
  • Good writing skills.
  • Excellent communication and organization skills with an attention to detail.
  • Basic knowledge of photographic history and technique.
  • Committed to the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums.


Application must include the following materials:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter that also includes answers to the following questions:
    • What you hope to gain from this internship experience
    • What you will contribute to this internship
    • What challenge(s) or barrier(s) you face (personal, cultural, socioeconomic, educational, etc.) as you consider pursuing a career in the arts, and how this internship might play a role in helping to surmount those obstacles

Please combine all application materials into a single PDF for upload.


For fullest consideration, applications should be submitted by July 8, 2019 5:00 pm CST.

Intern Information:

Length of Program: Academic Year (420 hours, August-May)

College Credit: Available

Compensation: Paid [Read more]


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