Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation grants Museum Studies Program $50,000 for Fellowships
A $50,000 Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation grant to the Museum Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will help support graduate fellowships over the next two academic years.
Each year, 11 graduate fellows will intern in Central Indiana museums in areas such as public programming, audience research, exhibit development and collections stewardship projects. Additional financial support from the museums, the IUPUI Solution Center's Community Venture Fund and the School of Liberal Arts will complement the Clowes funding.
"Internships are a win-win for students and museums," said professor Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, director of the Museum Studies Program. "The A.W. Clowes Museum Fellows' commitment of 10 months in half-time positions means a significant benefit for the students and museums. These experiences will be formative in the students' professional development."
Local museums will benefit from the expertise of nationally competitive emerging museum professionals, working for a longer period than is typical of internships, and will help the museums programmatically and administratively while identifying top talent for potential hires. Fellows will gain valuable experience, build skills and knowledge in areas of museum practice, and develop the professional networks that often lead students to stay in Central Indiana after they graduate, enriching the local cultural community for years to come.
"We have had numerous interns demonstrate their potential value to museums and were hired on in permanent staff positions after their internships ended," Kryder-Reid said. "And even if the students go on to work in other museums around the country, the professional relationships established in these formative training experiences carry benefits throughout their careers and help spread the reputation of the museums as well."
In the 2010-11 academic year, museum studies students participated in a total of 27 internships, demonstrating the degree to which Central Indiana cultural organizations value and desire the work of the program's students. Budget reductions following the recession have had a dramatic impact on museums' abilities to fund paid internships, however.
Local museum leaders have expressed enthusiasm about the A.W. Clowes Museum Fellows.
Ellen Rosenthal, president and CEO of Conner Prairie, said, "At Conner Prairie, a fellow would make a tremendous contribution to our mission, and in turn, gain a valuable set of knowledge and skills that could be applied in a full-time position, whether at Conner Prairie or another reputable institution."
Other museums participating in the program are Freetown Village, Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana Landmarks, Rhythm! Discovery Center and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
"The grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation is a much appreciated investment in the continued success of our superb museum community in Central Indiana and its partnership with the Museum Studies Program, one of the best of its kind in the United States," said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.
The Museum Studies Program provides training for self-reflective museum professionals seeking to serve museums and their communities. Through projects with local museums, students learn best practices and teamwork, and have the opportunity to connect the principles and theories learned in the classroom to real-life settings. Civic engagement is both a core value of the program and a central tenet of the curriculum.