IU launches unique internship program with Smithsonian Institution

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SPEA Arts Administration students to serve as interns for National Museum of American History


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students now have an unprecedented opportunity to serve as interns at the Smithsonian Institution’s renowned National Museum of American History. IU is the first public university to enter into a memorandum of understanding that offers internships with the museum.

Beginning in 2015 and each year for the next five years, the museum has agreed to host at least one undergraduate or graduate student from the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ Arts Administration program.

The museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is home to more than 3 million artifacts that include the original Star-Spangled Banner, President Lincoln’s top hat and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz." The treasures comprise the greatest single collection of American history.

"This is an incredible opportunity for our students to work with the nation’s top historians, scholars and curators," said Mark Case, director of SPEA’s Career Development Office. "We’re grateful to the Smithsonian and eager to start the process of selecting our first intern.

"The for-credit, semester-long internship will allow a SPEA student to work side by side with museum staff on exhibits and related projects. They will also attend weekly seminars, getting a behind-the-scenes look at all aspects of a museum that brings the nation’s history to life.

"Our Smithsonian interns won’t be standing in the shadows and observing," said Michael Rushton, director of SPEA’s Arts Administration program. "This is a hands-on internship with meaningful responsibilities. We’re preparing the next generation of cultural leaders, and what better place for them to learn in the field than at the Smithsonian."

Indiana University joins Middlebury College and Smith College in offering the Smithsonian internship. SPEA Executive Associate Dean David Reingold signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the arrangement with National Museum of American History Director John L. Gray.

"The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is excited to embark on this new journey with Indiana University’s SPEA," said Omar Eaton-Martinez, the museum’s coordinator of internships. "We look forward to providing an exhaustive experience to SPEA students."

Information about applying for the internship will be available on the SPEA Career Development Office website once the details are finalized.

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