Internship prioritized valuable workplace experience at museum

Internship prioritized valuable workplace experience at museum

By Caroline States, Eiteljorg marketing and communications intern

Caroline States

Once the effects of the global pandemic reached Indiana in March, I became concerned — as a student in my junior year of college — about the quality of my education going forward. Universities quickly pivoted to virtual learning, and internship opportunities began to disappear. I was afraid I had missed out on the opportunity for a quality internship experience, an important stepping stone on the path to a job after graduation. In spite of my fear, I was very fortunate to land an internship with the Eiteljorg Museum, an organization that prioritized educational opportunities for my fellow interns and me even when they had much larger fish to fry. My intern experience, even though different from a typical internship in a pre-pandemic world, thoroughly prepared me for a full-time job after I graduate in May 2021.

Internships at the Eiteljorg had always been in person, but once a change became necessary, the museum’s marketing and communications department was not afraid to make the internship a fully virtual experience. I’m sure this was a daunting task for the marketing staff, but the transition was very smooth and always made our experience as interns a priority. Bert Beiswanger, Bryan Corbin and Hyacinth Rucker were generous with their time and often met with us interns over Zoom, and they found ways to give us meaningful assignments from miles and miles away. I was tasked with educational projects such as writing blog posts, news releases and contributing to the Storyteller magazine. The other interns and I worked together to develop social media content and create an e-newsletter dedicated to the museum’s major Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale.

Moving the Eiteljorg’s content into a virtual experience format over the summer months of 2020 created a very busy time for the museum, but the marketing department made sure to prioritize our learning in the midst of it. A unique feature of the Eiteljorg internship is the opportunity for interns to meet with some important staff at the museum to learn about their roles, and the pandemic meant this special educational experience was carried out virtually. Getting to chat with employees from all over the museum ending up being one of the most memorable parts of the internship for me.

When my internship was supposed to end in August, the marketing team offered to let me stay on for an additional semester in the fall. I needed more graphic design intern experience for my program at school, and the marketing team was happy to tailor my experience to provide me with graphic design opportunities to build on my summer public relations internship work. In many ways, the coordinators of the Eiteljorg internship treated me as a valuable employee instead of just an intern, and I appreciate the opportunities they created for me to flex my creativity and learn about the museum industry.