Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spend Summer in Santa Cruz - or Just a Weekend - Exploring Community Engagement at the MAH

Do you dream of a summer filled with learning, community engagement, and sea lions? Time to stop dreaming and start doing.

This summer, we're offering some amazing museum internships, as well as MuseumCamp: a weekend-long professional development experience that is part retreat, part conference, part summer camp. There are two more weeks left to apply for MuseumCamp 2015. You can learn a lot more about that experience and how to apply here.


If you want to join us in Santa Cruz for more professional learning, consider an internship at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Most internships run from late June - late August. There are five different types available, and you are welcome to apply for more than one. We're offering internships this summer in:
  • Participatory Exhibition Design. We've been working for two years to redevelop our History Gallery to be a more dynamic, diverse, engaging space. Help take the participatory elements of this permanent gallery to the finish line. A great opportunity for folks interested in design, fabrication, prototyping, and interactivity.
  • Community Engagement. We're expanding our engagement with Latino families in our community, and we want your help with our partnership programs. This is a bilingual internship position. Expect lots of contact with the community on different levels as you learn alongside us how to be as relevant and embedded as possible.
  • Community Programs. Curious how we develop participatory family festivals with 20-100 collaborators every month. You can help make the magic happen.
  • Video/Photo. How do you capture the energy of a community? Help tell the story of our museum and amplify the creativity that visitors share.
  • Youth Programs. Kid Happy Hour. Balloon Art Brigade. Button bombs. This group knows how to have fun and invite families into it.

All of these internships are unpaid. I know this is controversial, and believe me--I am well aware of the complexity of the issue. We offer unpaid internships for three reasons:
  1. We prefer to focus on developing paid opportunities for people who are in our community and can be part of the museum for a long time. We have been slowly expanding paid positions here with a focus on local connections and diverse backgrounds. We've also been expanding paid opportunities for local artists. When we really thought about the options when it came to incremental dollars, we chose to spend them locally in this way.
  2. The demand is very high. We get many, many solicitations from people who would like to come intern, shadow, volunteer, etc. 
  3. We provide interns with opportunities to do real projects that they can't do anywhere else. We support our interns and their future careers both with the experiences they have here and relationships that continue after they leave. We feel strongly that we are following the requirement that unpaid interns get more than they give... though we prefer to think about it as a situation with shared benefits and sacrifices.
If you want to know a bit more about what the intern experience is like at the MAH, check out their occasional blog on Tumblr.

Hope to see you here in Santa Cruz soon.
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