Two museum internship programmes in New Zealand

One of these programmes is for recent graduates, the other is for skilled professional museum personnel.

Please note that any financial support we have towards these programmes (which is not much) is only available for New Zealand-based graduates or staff - anyone interested and willing to take part from overseas will need to find their own funding.

Museum Graduate Internship Programme: MGIP Edit

This programme has been established to support graduates of Museum Studies programmes to work on projects for up to three months in regional museums (which supply a mentor) throughout New Zealand. Regional museums generally have small numbers of paid qualified staff but not enough resources to carry out all functions and often require extra support on short term projects. The qualified staff are able to act as mentors for the intern, and this is the reason why the internships are not at small voluntary museums where there are not the skilled staff able to this.

Presently New Zealand graduates are paid a small stipend to carry out three month internships. If any overseas graduates were interested and able and qualified to take up an internship, (generally students have had several placements during their degree, so require very little 'supervising'), they would need to support themselves. Museums may be able to provide in-kind assistance (eg: free accommodation) but this will depend upon the individual organisation. Generally these museums are based in small provincial towns, and a few in bigger metropolitan centres.

The reason I am gauging interest from overseas graduates is because we are receiving more demand from museums than we are able to supply to from within New Zealand.

For anyone who is a recent graduate of a Museum Studies course, or knows Museum Studies graduates who might be interested in taking part in this programme in New Zealand, please contact me for further information:

Museum Internship & Secondment Programme - Museum Internship & Secondment Programme International: MISP - MISPI Edit

This second programme should begin its pilot phase after the end of June 2008. The aim of the programme is two-fold

  • to provide professional development and leadership opportunities for skilled professional museum staff working at a high level in large organisations
  • to up-skill mainly voluntary personnel at small under-resourced volunteer-run museums by sending a trained professional to work for a period of time, (this could be a few days to a few months, depending upon the needs at the small museum, combined with other factors), at the small museum. The intention is a win-win outcome, as per the bullet points above.

The expectation and hope is that the professional will be able to take up this secondment on full pay, and assist a museum on a project, and then if necessary provide ongoing mentoring as the personnel adopt and utilise their new learning in their museum. As an example, a small historical society museum may want help in planning a better visitor experience through complete reworking of exhibition/s - a skilled exhibition planner (this may be a curator, a concept developer, an interpreter,...) will work with them for a week on an exhibition plan and new thinking around how to better tell their stories. After departure of the professional, the museum volunteers will work on implementing the plan and decisions made - email and phone contact may be made regularly, the professional may return in 6 months (or not if from overseas), etc etc.. But gradually the exhibition/s and experience at the small museum change dramatically for the better and this assists it to become a more valued asset in the community and a magnet for visitors and the community, etc...

It is clear now that there is higher need at the small volunteer museums than the number of professionals throughout New Zealand potentially available to take part (we are still scoping this with the metropolitan and provincial museums which have skilled staff). Thus I am signalling an interest in working with skilled personnel who are outside of New Zealand and willing to take part in this experience.

Please note, that we do not have financial support for this programme, as the hope is that people will take part in it as a professional development and leadership opportunity and thus be supported by their organisation, (similar to when people are sent to a conference).

We are very willing to work with others who are interested in coming to New Zealand to work with our sector and would be most interested to hear from you. Please do pass this information on to others working in museums.

Any suggestions from you for ways forward and potential partnerships will be gratefully received. Certainly for anyone who is able to come here, we are able to assist you to see much of the country and meet many museum personnel and see their museums - even to give presentations on your work to a very eager and interested sector. Please also don't hesitate to look up the work of National Services Te Paerangi on the Te Papa website - you'll see we have a very varied national role - working with museums and iwi.

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