5 reasons why I loved interning at the UMFA (and I think you will too)

Junior/senior undergrads and graduate students—as you’re figuring out your schedules for next semester, why not consider an internship at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts? You can earn school credit and gain valuable experience, while having fun behind the scenes at an incredible art museum!


Exterior view of the UMFA on my first day as an intern (January 2014).

You may think I’m just saying this as part of my job, but I’ll let you in on a little secret… I started out as an intern myself and that’s how I got to where I am today. I’m Emily, the PR & Marketing Assistant at the UMFA. For my Arts Administration major at Westminster College, I was required to complete an internship, so I chose to intern at the UMFA during my final semester. Here are 5 (of many) reasons why I’m so happy I made that decision:

  1. THE HOURS. I worked about 10-12 hours a week at the UMFA, in between my part-time job and my last semester of school. My mentors were incredibly flexible and understanding, which made this balancing act much less stressful than it could’ve been. If I had a lot of schoolwork one week, or was short on money and needed to pick up extra shifts at my job, I could easily rearrange my schedule at the museum and make up the hours whenever worked best for me.
  2. THE STAFF. I absolutely loved the UMFA staff from the minute I started as an intern. I was younger than most people, but I never felt as though that was a bad thing—instead, I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone was interested in my life outside of the museum, my interests, family, etc., and I immediately felt like a valuable member of the team.

    UMFA staff working while watching the 2014 World Cup in the board room.

    UMFA staff working while watching the 2014 World Cup in the board room.

  3. THE ATMOSPHERE. I grew up working in the food industry where, for the most part, people were not happy with their jobs. The UMFA was such a breath of fresh air in this regard. The atmosphere is relatively relaxed, but everyone loves what they are doing and is committed to the success of the museum as a whole.
  4. THE ARTWORK. In case you didn’t know, as a college student in the state of Utah, you are always admitted to the UMFA for free. If you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, DO IT. The UMFA houses an incredible collection, with everything from works on paper to ceramic to video, ancient to renaissance to modern. As an intern, you get the added benefit of walking through the galleries everyday on your way to the offices (if you avoid the elevators, like you should), and you get to experience new artwork all the time. The Collections department also offers behind-the-scenes opportunities in the basement, where you can see the artwork not on view, and sometimes even get to handle some.


    Art Handling Workshop in the basement—Me practicing proper techniques for moving works on paper.

  5. THE OPPORTUNITIES. As I’ve already mentioned, I started at the UMFA as an intern. I began as the Development & Communications Intern, but the PR & Marketing Assistant left shortly after I started, leaving an opening that needed to be filled. I was already doing some of the job’s tasks as an intern—under the supervision of my mentor—and this provided the training and experience needed to jump right in as an employee upon finishing school. Of course I had to apply and interview like any other applicant, but my experience with the position’s responsibilities and the museum in general made me a valuable candidate. (My experience wasn’t necessarily typical; not every intern is eventually hired. That being said, I cannot stress enough the value of participating in an internship during your college years.  It gives you real-world experience and, if nothing else, helps you decide whether or not this is the type of environment where you eventually want to end up.)

If you have any interest in pursuing a career in a nonprofit and/or arts organization, or even if you just want to fulfill your graduation requirements and get something that looks good on your resume, don’t hesitate! Apply today for one of the internships offered for Spring 2015: Special Events Photographer/Multimedia Intern, Development Intern, Membership and Donor Services Intern, and Family Backpack Program Intern.

Descriptions can be found at http://umfa.utah.edu/internships. If you have any questions, contact our Campus Outreach Coordinator at iris.moulton@umfa.utah.edu. Applications due DECEMBER 22, 2014!

Hope to see you at the UMFA this Spring!


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