Aimee Tillyer, a student pursuing her M.A. in Museum Professions, a graduate program within the College of Communication and the Arts, recently presented on the importance of internships at the Small Museum Association’s Annual Conference in Maryland. Tillyer’s discussion was based on her internship experience at Liberty Hall Museum in Union, New Jersey.
Tillyer’s presentation, Internships: The Next Step in Becoming a Professional, discussed the value of internships for both students and museums. She shared issues facing museum management and emerging professionals and discussed how her internship contributes to her career development.
Tillyer, a Museum Management track student, knows the benefits of interning at a small museum. “I am interested in fundraising and management of non-profit organizations, with the goal of becoming a museum director one day,” Tillyer explained. “I specifically looked for a small institution because I knew I would be able to shadow and learn from each staff member.”
During her presentation, she posited that small museums serve as a vital resource because they allow emerging professionals to gain experience in many areas of the museum world. “I discussed how internships at small museums can be meaningful,” Tillyer said. “For example, interns at small museums are exposed to the day-to-day operations of every facet of the museum.”
Tillyer encouraged fellow Museum Professions students to attend conferences as well. “Take any opportunity to attend a conference,” she said. “It will help build your professional portfolio as well as develop relationships in the museum field, which is critical in our profession. More than 250 museum professionals were present at the conference I attended. It was a great experience to network and learn about hundreds of small museums across the country.”
The M.A. in Museum Professions is an innovative program designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students in the program select one of four professional tracks, including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management, or Exhibition Development. All students in the M.A. in Museum Professions program complete a 200-hour-for-credit internship. A dedicated internship supervisor assists with placement and an internship directory is available to students.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.