MAPH Internships: Chicago History Museum

Being the oldest cultural organization in town means that the Chicago History has had to rebuild.  The original building at Dearborn and Ontario Streets burned to the ground in the 1871 fire.  The parts of the collection that weren’t destroyed in that conflagration succumbed to a second fire three years later.  But this wouldn’t be a true Chicago institution if it didn’t have to start from scratch a few times.

Today, the Lincoln Park-located museum boasts an enormous collection of materials dedicated to the preservation of Chicago’s history of cultural, architectural, economic, and shady-political achievements.  Their upcoming summer exhibition, which you would obviously be around for as their summer intern, is the HISTORY OF MAGIC. I capitalize this because it sounds so incredibly awesome and I didn’t want you to miss the title. “You’ll witness live performances, visit a mysterious object theater, and examine exciting artifacts. Find out how to become a magician, and explore the secrets of the business. Discover the truth behind some of the oldest illusions.”

(More serious things, like the internship description, after the jump…)

As an intern at the Chicago History Museum, the goal will be to provide and support audience research, content research and development, collections research, and project planning for new interpretive products, including upcoming exhibitions.

You might conduct research on a variety of subjects in support of these projects using archival records available at the CHM and other institutions, secondary sources such as books and articles, and internet resources. You will be responsible for organizing the results of their research efforts into paper and database files and notebooks for use by the curator and other project team members. You also may be asked to support the curator in the development of grants, program materials, and draft label copy. The intern will be supervised by and report to John Russick, CHM Senior Curator.

The MAPH student who had this internship last year was Deborah Blumenthal, who is currently working as a consulting dramaturg on Angels in America at the Court Theater. “What?!” you ask in horror and surprise, “she isn’t doing something related to her internship experience?” No, friends. You can do an internship in something that doesn’t seem incredibly related to the job you might get and still have an excellent experience and obtain many varied and interesting transferable skills from your summer position.

So, in closing, look VERY carefully at the internship descriptions we’ve posted and the websites for each organization. Something that seems unrelated on a first, cursory glance may actually be more relevant on closer inspection. How do we know? Elementary, my dear Watson.

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