Museum Internships 
Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue
The Internship Commitment 
Featured Course
August 2018 Online Courses
September 2018 Online Courses
October 2018 Online Courses
New Partner Certification Program
Conferences and Meetings
The Internship Commitment
By Joan Baldwin
If museum salaries are not what they should be-and in far too many cases they're not-then the dark underbelly of museum and heritage organization employment must be internships. Rarely defined, at least in any universal sense, they are sometimes discussed as if they were the pupa stage of a museum career-somewhere between a national history project prize and a first job.
Long ago in museum history, trustees used to look happily around the board table and say some variation of "We can get a grant for that." That was code for we know there is public money available, we just need to find it. Those sentiments were frequently followed by "Maybe we can get an intern!" or another more recent variation, "Maybe we can get a high school student." The latter is often in reference to projects involving IT, video creation, social media or coding, the assumption being that students facile with their cell phones might become students who create beautiful web pages for free or at least for less than full price. Sadly, at some institutions interns are the go-to for thankless, repetitive work, marketed to make it look resume-building. In fact to paraphrase the inimitable Jane Austen, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a museum in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of an intern."
Let's be blunt: Here at Leadership Matters, we're not fans of indentured servitude of students. They need to be paid. And they need the same respect you offer any employee. Being young or inexperienced doesn't mean you don't have good ideas. It just means that the context for those ideas may be a little ill-defined.
An internship is a complicated proposition. First, an excellent internship is some brilliant combination of teaching, mentoring, and learning by doing. It weaves together equal amounts of respect, experimentation, failure and independence. And in the end it's a gift to museums as a whole. Why? Because you and your organization, serve as that person's introductory chapter to museum work. If you are dithering, disorganized, unimaginative or demanding in the tradition of Cruella de Vil, your intern may u-turn right into another field.
Second, if you are going to manage an internship, you need to be a good teacher. And you need the time to teach otherwise your failure to explain clearly will mean extra work for all involved. When you write your internship job description, create a week-to-week syllabus to help you and your potential intern see what they will learn and how. If you need help writing internship announcements, we recommend the New England Museum Association which offers sample templates and job descriptions.
Last, pay your intern. Internships usually take place over a finite period of time-a semester, a summer, a winter term. If your organization can't afford $200-$250 a week which is not even close to minimum wage in many states, or housing (which is often necessary for out-of-town/state interns, perhaps you should reconsider. Is it possible that in your organizational heart-of-hearts, you want cheap labor more than you want the responsibility of an internship?
The museum field is increasingly hard to break into. It doesn't necessarily pay well, but it requires a graduate degree as an entrance ticket. The other entrance requirement is a string of seemingly endless internships and volunteer projects. Don't be the organization that offers mindless work capped with a hollow recommendation letter. Be the place where work is interesting and really matters. Be the place that teaches. An internship is a choice, for both individual and organization. Choose wisely.
Reprinted with permission from Leadership Matters  Posted: July 30, 2018
Thoughts on 21st Century museum leadership by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin
For more information on Leadership please check out other articles from this Blog.
Featured Course: Formative Evaluations for Exhibits and Public Programs Online Course

Have you done some evaluation but did not get helpful information? Do you
National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan 
wish you could do evaluations, but think it is too hard or too expensive? Do you wonder how to get people to use an offered program more? Evaluations are feasible and easy. This course will help you determine what you really want to know, choose the right process to gather the information, develop meaningful questions, and figure out what the results tell you. Please have a program or text in mind (real or imagined) to work with during the course. Note: this course will not be looking at statistical analysis.
Would you like to learn how to do exhibition and program evaluations in your museum?  Join Karen Hostetter for Formative Evaluations for Exhibits and Public Programs beginning September 3, 2018. 
Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
For our course list or to sign up:  
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at
The Early Bird Discount deadline for September courses is August 4, 2018 
August 2018 Courses
August 20 to September 7, 2018
Instructor: Diana Komejan
The seasonal closure of a museum presents unique challenges and opportunities for collection preservation. This is an introductory-level conservation course exploring simple collection preservation methods for seasonal museums. The target Audience for the course is curators and other museum personnel, volunteers, site managers, maintenance personnel. No prior conservation training necessary. Participants will learn about the challenges and opportunities associated with caring for collections in seasonal facilities. They will learn about the risks to collections and how to mitigate them through closing and re-opening procedures, as well as throughout the winter season.
September 2018 Courses
September 3 to 28, 2018
Instructor: Kimberly Kenney
The United States has more than 17,000 museums, we can only guess at the world's total. While most people think of a museum as a well-staffed, professionally run institution, the vast majority of museums are started and run by people with little or no basic training in museum studies or preservation. Introduction to Museums is designed to change that. The course introduces basic concepts, terminology and the role of various staff members, including curators, registrars and directors. Introduction to Museums is aimed at staff members, board members, interns, volunteers, as well as anyone interested in becoming a museum professional or learning more about the profession.
September 3 to 28, 2018
Instructor:  Tom Bennett
Matting and Framing teaches the materials and techniques of conservation-quality framing. For display, matting and framing provides both protective and aesthetic contributions to art on paper. Students will learn about different types of enclosures, different mat styles and cutting methods, the pros and cons of different backing boards and glazing, and different methods of attaching items to a mat, some of which do not involve adhering hinges to art on paper. Lectures, illustrations, product resources, and additional informational references will be provided.
September 3 to 28, 2018
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Have you done some evaluation but did not get helpful information? Do you wish you could do evaluations, but think it is too hard or too expensive? Do you wonder how to get people to use an offered program more? Evaluations are feasible and easy. This course will help you determine what you really want to know, choose the right process to gather the information, develop meaningful questions, and figure out what the results tell you. Please have a program or text in mind (real or imagined) to work with during the course. Note: this course will not be looking at statistical analysis.
October 2018 Courses
October 15 to 19, 2018
Instructor: Diana Komejan
As we march boldly toward the 22nd century, artifact collecting includes that most fragile of materials - plastic. Not only is it in our collections, but it is used to house our collections, too. What problems have you seen? What problems have others seen? What materials are best? What can we, as caretakers, do to minimize long-term damage? Join Diana in this mini-course for discussing care and deterioration of plastics. Bring any questions you have about plastics in your museum.
October 1 to November 2, 2018
Instructor: Sue Near
Sound business practices are critical for a museum to fulfill its mission. Sounds like vegetables, right? Museum management is complex. A museum exists to preserve collections and educate, but it is also an institution that must employ sound business practices while being accountable to the public as a non-profit organization. Instructor Sue Near teaches participants how to administer a successful museum efficiently and effectively. Participants will engage in discussions about the changing cultural climate and its effect on museum operations.
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor:  Kimberly Kenney
Acquiring and holding collections impose specific legal, ethical and professional obligations. Museums must ensure proper management, preservation and use of their collections. A well-crafted collections management policy is key to collections stewardship. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions helps participants develop policies that meet professional and legal standards for collections management. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions teaches the practical skills and knowledge needed to write and implement such a policy. The course covers the essential components and issues a policy should address. It also highlights the role of the policy in carrying out a museum's mission and guiding stewardship decisions. Participants are expected to draft collections management policies.
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor: Tom Bennett
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor: Karin Hostetter
Volunteers should be considered unpaid staff and, like a staff handbook, a strong volunteer organization should have a volunteer handbook. This course goes beyond understanding various aspects of a volunteer program to putting the volunteer program to paper. Create an outline and some draft text for a handbook providing consistency within the volunteers as well a legal support if ever needed.
Conferences and Meetings

Society of American Archivists, Washington, DC
August 12-18, 2018
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Dunedin, New Zealand
August 25-September 2, 2018 

Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Billings, MT
September 11-September 15, 2018
Oklahoma Museums Association, Edmond, OK
September 19-21, 2018

American Association of State and Local History, Kansas City, MO 
September 26-29, 2018  
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2018 Annual Meeting, Jackson, MS
October 8-10, 2018
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA
October 13-17, 2018  

Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
October 21-24, 2018 
New England Museum Association, Stamford, CT
November 7-9, 2018
National Association for Interpretation,  
New Orleans, LA
November 27-December 1, 2018
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Albuquerque, NM
September 22-September 25, 2019

National Association for Interpretation, Denver, Colorado
November 12-16, 2019

National Association for Interpretation,
Saint Augustine, FL
November 10-14, 2020

Gawain Weaver 
Care and Identification of Photographs
Little Rock, AR 
October 15-18, 2018
New Partner Certification Program: Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter Certification Program. 

Museum Classes is a training partner with John Veverka and Associates for their new Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter Certificate Program. 

While other organizations offer professional certificates in heritage interpretation, our Certified Professional Interpreter Certificates are far more content extensive, taught at a university level, and more in-depth learning experiences than any of the other interpretive certificates. They offer more current content and interpretive examples and case studies, hands-on learning experiences and direct content with the Certificate Manager/Trainer and Coach throughout your Certification experience.

Who is the Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter certificates program for? 

- Individuals wanting a career in/as a professional interpreter.

- Individuals currently working as an interpretive planner, trainer or another interpretive specialist, but have had no college-level training in interpretive planning and related interpretive planning for interpretive media or interpretive training services.

- Consulting firms offering interpretive planning/design services whose staff does not have professional training actually in interpretive planning or college degrees majoring in heritage interpretation.

- Individuals working in the interpretive profession who do not have a B.S. or M.S degree majoring in heritage interpretation or who have had only one or two courses in heritage interpretation and want to advance the professional knowledge of the interpretive profession.

- Folks who wish to use this professional certification for an agency or personal advancement.

-Interpreters with an insatiable desire to learn and be the best they can in interpretation - knowledge is power.

- Based on a University Course progression system consisting of completing actual courses in interpretation, not just taking one course, one open book test and mainly paying the certification course fee. These Certificate courses are offered in a content sequence leading up to the final course in developing your unique interpretive project or visitor experience. 

- Awards CEU (Continuing Education Units) credits for the certification programs and each individual course that is offered as part of the certificate program. While you can work on the certificate programs at your own pace, the estimated completion time is 10 months.

For more information click here 
Submissions and Comments
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If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to .  
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager