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Association of Research Institutes in Art History

Careers in Art History Internships


Deadline for Applications: Friday, February 26, 2021

Program Dates: March 29 – April 30, 2021


The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH) is offering paid professional development internships for up to 20 students and recent graduates interested in careers at art museums and art history research centers. The internships will be virtual and participants will commit from 10 to 12 hours per week for a period of four weeks

You are encouraged to apply if you are an undergraduate student currently enrolled at an educational institution in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, or a recent graduate (within one year) and interested in learning more about how museums work. We seek applicants from all disciplines, concentrations, and backgrounds, particularly those who have not previously held internships at arts-related institutions. You do not need to have prior museum experience to apply.

The following ARIAH institutions are participating in the spring 2021 Careers in Art History Internship Program: Canadian Centre for Architecture; Center for Creative Photography; Clark Art Institute; The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Phillips Collection; Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery; and The Wolfsonian–Florida International University (FIU).


Program Details

The internships will last for four weeks and participation will be fully remote via Zoom

The program dates are Monday, March 29 – Friday, April 30, 2021. There will be a one-week break from April 12 through April 16

Zoom meetings will be held Mondays through Fridays for two (2) hours each day (exact time TBD). It is expected that participants will attend all or most Zoom calls.

Participants will be hosted by a different institution each week. The internships will provide practical and theoretical training in a variety of professional practices that will be useful not only in the field of art history but also museum studies, conservation, history, and architecture, with the aim of making these skills transferable to other pursuits as well.

Interns will learn about the different professional pathways available at art museums and research centers, including:

All interns will be assigned a mentor for the duration of their internship. At the end of the internship, a career development and résumé-writing workshop will be provided, and all interns will make a brief presentation on a project they completed.



Interns will receive a stipend of US $1,300.



This program is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at educational institutions in the USA, Canada, or Mexico; students who are on pause from coursework while enrolled in an academic program; and recent graduates (within one year) based in the USA, Canada, or Mexico. (Please note: The program and conversations will be conducted in English.) Eligible institutions include two-year colleges, four-year colleges/universities, professional, technical, vocational, and trade schools, advanced degree programs, or other educational institutions offering qualifying degrees or certificates.


Application Process

Applications must be submitted online (Google account required) and include a résumé (maximum 2 pages) detailing educational background and work/volunteer experience (if any), and contact information for one reference who will be contacted for shortlisted candidates. References should be able to speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and interests.



Submit any queries to


Participating Institutions and Programs

Canadian Centre for Architecture

The Canadian Centre for Architecture, founded in 1979, is an international research institution and museum premised on the belief that architecture is a public concern. We produce exhibitions and publications, develop and share our collection as a resource, advance research, offer public programs, and host a range of other activities driven by a curiosity about how architecture shapes—and might reshape—contemporary life. We invite collaborators and the wider public to engage with our activities, giving new relevance to architectural thinking in light of current disciplinary and cultural issues. Physically anchored in Montréal by our building, park, and sculpture garden, we work within other contexts through our projects, programs, and collaborations that take place elsewhere.

Internship focus: Introduction to decolonizing cataloguing works from the photography collection. The ARIAH project is part of a larger CCA pilot project, “Critical Cataloguing”, which resonates with CCA’s current approach seeking to develop projects and programs related to issues of diversity, equity, access and inclusion. For example, researchers currently interested in the environment, racism, indigenous populations, colonialism, armed conflict, and others, find it difficult to find Collection objects on the CCA website corresponding to these topics. The internship project therefore aims to expand the possibilities of exploring the online catalogue to afford access to a greater number of photographic works related to various present and past societal issues.

Center for Creative Photography

Located at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) is recognized as one of the world’s finest academic art museums and research centers for the history of photography. With more than 280 archival collections, the archives of photographers like Ansel Adams, Louis Carlos Bernal, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and W. Eugene Smith are housed at the Center. With over 8 million objects, there are negatives, contact sheets, correspondence, diaries, oral histories, audiovisual recordings, publications, clippings, and other historical records and artifacts. In addition to the archives and library, there are more than 110,000 works by over 2,200 photographers in the fine print collection. The combined art, archival, and research collections at the Center provide an unparalleled resource for research, exhibitions, and programming.

Internship focus: Over the past year, the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) embraced the need to experiment in a digital landscape to keep CCP connected to our communities and serve them the way we know how: through art. Working with CCP staff members from the Social Media Relations Team (SMRT), interns will use CCP collection materials to create a themed “Social Summer” series for CCP’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, interns will have the opportunity to engage with and learn about each department and the various roles at CCP, including archives, conservation, curatorial, digital imaging, digital initiatives, education, marketing, prep, registration, and rights.

Clark Art Institute

The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program (RAP) supports scholarship in art history, visual culture, and interdisciplinary inquiry that challenges how we think about writing history and addresses the complexity of our contemporary world. We host fellows and convene events that reimagine the borders and geographies of art history’s dominant narratives. In RAP, interns will have the opportunity to work in non-profit arts administration to develop public humanities projects.

Internship focus: To introduce students to different facets of scholarly research and programming around art and visual culture, with a particular emphasis on critical engagement with art history and museum collections, and approaches to making the most of digital platforms.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, located in San Marino, California, is a cultural and educational institution of global significance. The Huntington today supports research and promotes education in the arts, humanities, and botanical sciences through the growth and preservation of its renowned collections, through the development of a community of scholars, school programs and partnerships, and through display and interpretation of its diverse resources to the public.

Internship focus: Focusing on a model of interdisciplinary curating, the interns will be introduced to curators working in the three major collecting areas of The Huntington—Botanical, Library, and Art—to learn how these scholars approach their work from different perspectives and from varying backgrounds. Students will develop their own responses (i.e., social media post, written label, or video blog) to objects found in the gardens, library, and art collections that will be featured in a new exhibition on the topic of “Borderlands” that will appear in the American Art galleries.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. Since its founding in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.

Internship focus: Introduction to conservation work at an art museum. Students will gain professional insights into the roles of conservation in a major institution and learn about conservation practice in relation to acquisitions, exhibitions, loans, analysis, research, scholarship, and advocacy.

The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921 by collector and philanthropist Duncan Phillips. It is renowned for its collection of Impressionist and American Modern art, Including paintings by Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O’Keeffe, Van Gogh, Diebenkorn, Daumier, Lawrence, among others. The museum continues to actively collect new acquisitions, many by contemporary artists such as John Akomfrah, Benny Andrews, McArthur Binion, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Poul Gernes, Wolfgang Laib, Simone Leigh, Whitfield Lovell, Zilia Sánchez, Arlene Shechet, Renée Stout, and Leo Villareal and thus contributes to the art conversation on a global scale.

Internship focus: Introduction to the collection and the exhibition, Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century that celebrates the museum’s 100th anniversary. Drawn from its growing collection of nearly 6,000 works, Seeing Differently highlights over 200 works by artists from the 19th century to the present, including paintings, works on paper, prints, photographs, sculptures, quilts, and videos. The exhibition explores the complexities of our ever-changing world through the themes of Identity, History, Place, and the Senses, and is accompanied by numerous public programs. As such it provides a platform for cross-disciplinary research that spans curatorial, educational, community engagement, and digital initiatives.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation’s first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The Renwick Gallery, a branch of SAAM, is home to the museum’s collection of contemporary craft and decorative art. One of the museum’s primary objectives is to share an understanding of American art and the American experience with individuals worldwide.

Internship focus: Communicating with people from all cultural backgrounds, educational levels, and age groups is a primary goal for our museum. The interns’ project will require the group to experience and address some of those same challenges as they each develop their own art exhibition and related programs.

The Wolfsonian–Florida International University (FIU)

The Wolfsonian–FIU is one of the largest university art collections in the country, with over 200,000 objects and rare books. Focusing on the decorative arts, design, and material culture from 1850 to 1950, its holdings include the full range of humankind’s creative production, including (but not limited to) works that express ideas made in the service of totalitarian states and troubling ideologies.

Internship focus: Design and present an array of approaches for framing and addressing challenging or offensive material in exhibitions, working from case studies and a group of sample projects developed by museum staff. Presentation-style sessions would cover display choices and disclaimers, marketing/PR framing, contextualizing through programming, interpreting for a K–12 audience; tour guide training; and community and university engagement. The goal is to introduce interns to the complexities and nuances involved in working with difficult collections and help them understand how to shape safe spaces for visitors to encounter material, learning both about audience awareness and how to consider a problem through the lenses of a variety of museum roles.