Career development and professional practice skills are critical for our students and an integral part of the museum studies curriculum.
Our students are constantly made aware of different internship or career opportunities in the field. Class assignments frequently result in actual exhibitions or projects and include a vast range of activities, from curating, preparing and installing exhibitions in the affiliated galleries and cultural institutions in the area, to organizing opening receptions and creating press releases for media distribution.
The program's faculty and staff encourage all students to work on their resumes and cover letters and offer valuable advice about professional demeanor and interview skills. The required internship is a great learning tool that exposes our students to the competitive job market and gives them valuable experience in finding positions of particular interest, applying to them, interviewing, and talking to prospective employers about work conditions and expectations. SU’s Center for Career Services can help you explore internships as well as aid in the job search.
You may also wish to consider participating in our MAYmester course Museums and Contemporary Practices, a weeklong intensive course in that brings students to the heart of Washington, D.C., or New York City (alternate years). Students spend the week visiting cultural institutions and participating in meetings and private tours with museum professionals, many of whom are accomplished SU alumni. This course, along with the various field trips planned by our program faculty and attendance at professional conferences, are great opportunities to meet career professionals and to see the various settings and positions in which you may one day be employed.
Conference and Field Visits
Faculty and staff organize field trips to museums and conferences in Syracuse and throughout the East Coast, as well as bring professionals to campus to meet with you and your fellow students. These field visits are a great opportunity to experience first hand the variety of places and positions where your education can take you.
Our students have participated in organized trips to major cities in the region, including Boston and Philadelphia. The trips usually last between two and four days and include visits to cultural institutions in the area and the opportunity to meet and talk to professionals in the field. Shorter field trips are also part of the curriculum and take students to museums and institutions located in Syracuse, Auburn, Corning, Ithaca, Rome, and Rochester, among other local and regional areas.
At least once a year the program plans a trip to attend a professional conference. Past conferences have included the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums in Tarrytown, N.Y., and the Museum Association of New York/Museumwise conference in Syracuse, where students were able to volunteer their time to help at the conference and participated in a variety of workshops, lectures, and networking events.
In addition to coursework, museum studies students gain valuable experience through required internships, which refine technical proficiency, develop professional confidence, and bridge the gap between college and the professional world. An immersion internship is required for graduation, and additional experiences are encouraged throughout your time at Syracuse.
The program's faculty and staff frequently distribute notices about available internship opportunities received from its vast network of alumni, museum professionals, and friends of the program. Students are constantly encouraged to look for opportunities on their own, based on their career interest, and to discuss and be open for possibilities. Advice and support is available from all faculty and staff in the program, as well as at the SU Center for Career Services.
Our students have participated in internships around the United States and abroad. The training offered in the program can be applied to a broad variety of institutions, from aquariums to national parks, from historical sites to museums and private collections.
Please check out the internship experiences of the following students: Noël Frodelius, Erica Jensen, Clarisabeth Lopez, Meng Qi, and Monique Wilkins. You can also download our list of selected internship sites to see the variety of institutions at which our students have worked in the past.