Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Participatory Internships in Santa Cruz this School Year

It's the end of the summer, which means we are sadly bidding farewell to our fabulous summer interns, getting lonely and scared about how we will possibly do amazing work in the coming months without their brilliance, ingenuity, and creativity.

And then comes the part where we recruit new interns, get blown away by their abilities... and the cycle continues. At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, we take our interns seriously, give them real responsibility, creative challenges, and meaningful work opportunities. We ask a lot and we give a lot and at the end of the day we sometimes throw parachute men off the roof.

I'm particularly excited about two internships that relate to participatory exhibition design. We also have fabulous opportunities in Community Programs, Education, and Development - please check the website for all the options and information on how to apply. You don't have to be a student to be eligible. Our interns include undergraduates, graduate students, and people of all ages looking to jumpstart creative careers in community engagement.

First, there is the Participatory Exhibit Design Internship. These interns work with our curatorial team to develop interactive and participatory components for upcoming exhibitions. Current and former interns have developed everything from games to personality tests to a whole-gallery installation of memory jars. We typically have two to three interns in this role, working 15 to 24 hours per week. Interns this year will be focusing on our winter Work in Progress show (Thomas Campbell, Ze Frank, Timber Framing) and spring Photography and Identity show. We are always looking for interns with strong graphic/3D design skills; the best interns can help us plan exhibits, design labels, AND learn to develop terrific participatory experiences for visitors.

Second, and highly experimental, is the Museum Camp Internship. We have recently decided that in the summer of 2013, we will be hosting a 3-day professional development hack-a-thon in which participants will develop, design, and deploy innovative interpretative experiences around collection objects. It will tie into an experimental, month-long exhibition in our main gallery. In other words, people who participate in Museum Camp will get to test all kinds of wild ideas for visitor engagement with a real live exhibition. We already have enthusiastic support from some museum rock stars like Kathleen McLean, Maria Mortati, and Eric Siegel. Exciting, right? To make this a hit, we're going to need someone who wants to make this their baby and support its creation. So if you want to help develop an unconference and explore participatory exhibit design, this internship is right for you. (And of course, much more to come about Museum Camp in the months to come.)

Fine print: all internships at the MAH are unpaid. We are happy to help you get school credit for your work here, and we love writing glowing recommendations for your future careers. Our interns tend to be highly self-motivated people who have always dreamed of having the latitude to make their dreams real. People who struggle tend to need more structure and direction than our institutional culture affords. Please feel free to comment or email with any questions.
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