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A peek inside Muscarelle

By Liz Jacob ’17 and Holly Fleming ’17 March 10, 2017
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Photo courtesy of William & Mary News

Merging experiential learning and dynamic collaboration with full-time staff, the Muscarelle Museum of Art has one of the most unique internship programs on William & Mary’s campus. Interns work directly with professional staff across departments, making valuable connections in both the operations of an art museum and a non-profit organization. They develop passions for different projects or departments and use those passions to curate their own experience.

While interns at the museum are passionate about the arts, the internship experience is not limited to students with a background in museum studies, art or art history. Instead, the internship is open to the entire campus community and students from all backgrounds are encouraged to consider the position. From large-scale event planning to in-depth curatorial research to social media management, interns have opportunities to gain experience in many different facets of Muscarelle, from both the perspective of a non-profit business and a fine art museum.

The internship program not only gives students the opportunity to learn generally about various aspects of the museum, but it also gives students the opportunity to refine their focus and skills within a specific area. To that end, seniors in the internship program are granted McIntyre Fellowships. Funded by a generous donation from the family of Mary McIntyre, the fellowship gives senior interns the chance to culminate their experience at Muscarelle with a thematic area of project of focus.

Liz Jacob ’17 and Holly Fleming’17, both seniors at the College, are currently interns at Muscarelle.

Jacob has interned at the museum for four years and currently holds the positions of internal affairs coordinator and a McIntyre Fellowship in nonprofit management. A double major in environmental science and policy and marketing, Jacob was drawn to the museum to explore the nexus of art and community. By managing the internship and fellowship program, coordinating internal museum affairs, and working closely with senior museum staff, Jacob has gained an understanding of the dynamics of the art and nonprofit field. As graduation approaches, Jacob is seeking a career in the nonprofit field that will allow her to apply the perspectives and skills she’s gained from her experiences at Muscarelle.

Fleming is an art history major who has worked at the museum for almost two years. As a McIntyre Fellow and student events director, she works to maintain the connection between the W&M community and the museum. From her first semester as an intern, she expressed interest in event planning and had the opportunity to organize her first event in the fall of 2016. The “Brafferton Stomp Dance” student event attracted about 200 students to the museum and included live dance performances with audience participation.  She hopes to continue working in a museum next year using the knowledge she has gained from her education at the College and Muscarelle.

Both Jacob and Fleming agree that their experiences at Muscarelle have defined their time at William & Mary. The skills gained by Muscarelle interns are not only applicable to the museum management or arts engagement fields, rather they are real-world skills that are applicable to any field. As a community centered museum, Muscarelle cannot thrive without its dedicated community of interns, staff, students and members. Intern engagement of the community through exhibitions or programs are opportunities to enhance and further the museum’s core mission.