University of Rochester

Art & Art History Internships

The Department of Art and Art History has an active internship program, which provides a means for students to gain practical experience and to have contact with the art world. Internships are often included as a part of art history and studio majors, and of the museum studies cluster. They are also open to other students with appropriate preparation.

Every semester University of Rochester students intern at local institutions. At the Memorial Art Gallery, they work primarily with the Curatorial and Education departments, although some have worked with Public Relations and Development as well. At the George Eastman House students have worked with the Film, Photography, and Education departments, but can also work with conservation, networked information, computer related media, and the history and aesthetics of photography as applied to those areas. Less frequently students have worked at the Strong Museum and at the Genesee Country Village and Museum, and there are also interning opportunities at the Rochester Museum and Science Center and at the Rochester Contemporary (RoCo). At the Landmark Society of Western New York, students can work on architectural surveys in Rochester; for example, one student prepared a successful nomination of a building for the National Registry of Historic Places. In addition students have also worked in local architects' offices and in graphic design firms.

For students wishing to do internships outside of the Rochester area, there are several possibilities. The Department of Art and Art History offers the Art New York program, which includes an internship that gives students a chance to work in a New York City gallery, museum, or other art world venue for a semester. It is also possible to intern in art museums and organizations in Europe through the European Arts Internship program, which offers programs in many cities, including London, Bonn, Cologne, and Madrid.

Since the availability of internships depends upon the needs of the hosting institutions, internships are set up semester by semester. It has always been possible, however, to find a placement for students that fits in with their interests.

  • The requirements for a four-credit internship are:
  • Supervision by a professional at the site and by a full-time faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History.
  • Ten to twelve hours a week of work on the internship (including research and work time away from the internship site).
  • Emphasis on professional rather than clerical work, although there might be some routine work.
  • A personal project on which the student works throughout the semester, in addition to assisting with day-to-day activities.
  • A journal kept by the student recording the activities of the internship and reflections on them, on the institution, on the larger context of the work, on readings, etc. The journal is not only a record, but also evidence and means for academic learning.
  • Evaluation of the internship done jointly by the supervisor at the site and the faculty advisor, based on conversations with the student, the journal (usually read only by the faculty member) and evidence of the student's contributions (e.g. catalogue entries, collected data, brochure design, an exhibition, etc.).

Internships are usually arranged through the Department of Art and Art History. Any student interested in interning should first speak to a faculty member. Some institutions, such as the Strong Museum, have a formal application procedure, but in most cases arrangements are worked out by the student, faculty advisor, and person at the internship site. Since many departments within an institution will take only one intern a semester, preference is given to more advanced students. Competence in art history/visual culture or studio art is necessary and in some cases a specific background in an area, such as the history of photography, may be required.

For more information contact:

Undergraduate Advisor for Art History:
Grace Seiberling (585) 275-4169

Undergraduate Advisor for Studio Arts:
Allen Topolski (585) 275-4287