Ethical Remote Internships

Aug 25, 2020 2:00PM

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Please find the link to a recording of the conversation here: Ethical Remote Internships

Event Contact Sierra Van Ryck deGroot | Email

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Tuesday, August 25th at 2 pm ET/1 pm CT/12 pm MT/11 am PT

Considering hosting remote internships in the Fall, Spring, or upcoming Summer terms? Join us for a panel discussion, moderated by Sheridan Small of Dumbarton House, of internship supervisors and interns as they explore recruitment and sourcing positions, onboarding, managing and communication advice, professional development opportunities, and more. There will be a brief Q&A following the panel discussion. 

Panel Discussion

  • Moderator: Sheridan Small, Dumbarton House
  • Intern: Kat Pesigan, Peoria Playhouse 
  • Intern: Maya Rodgers, Poster House
  • Intern Supervisor: Marne Bariso, Chicago History Museum 
  • Intern Supervisor: Daniel Pecoraro, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Please find the link to a recording of the conversation here: Ethical Remote Internships

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We asked panelists to respond to some of your unanswered questions following the presentation. Please find their responses here :

Question for interns – can you describe how you were engaged and felt part of the community in your internship?

Kat Pesigan: I felt part of my organization’s community through our weekly staff meetings and weekly check-ins my director set up with me. We also shared each other’s personal phone numbers for any emergencies. Like many other organizations we were learning to find a sense of community with the transition of in person to remote, so I think there is room to grow. I like the ideas that were brought up by Daniel, Marne, and Maya of creating times for staff to connect in a more personal way. I think something I really appreciated from my internship was how my director advocated for me to connect with other museum workers and create a wider community in meetings.

Maya Rodgers: My remote internship experience was very engaging and it was incredible to feel apart of a community while over a computer screen. From our first week, the interns were welcomed into weekly staff town hall meetings and seamlessly incorporated into the Poster House staff. We were also a part of the DEI book club, where we participated in weekly discussions while reading “So You Want to Talk About Race”. 

As far as the intern cohort itself, I’m so thankful to have gotten close to the other wonderful women in my cohort. We had a multitude of weekly meetings that we were all involved in: planning a project we were working on together for the summer, weekly meet and greet guest speakers, professional development, cohort meetings with fun games or topics that weren’t necessarily “work”, and a slack channel. We also took it upon ourselves to have weekly lunches throughout the summer.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I very much felt part of the community of our cohort and other coworkers at Poster House.

Given the choice – would you prefer on-site internships next year or remote?      


Marne Bariso: I would prefer on-site internships.  However, I am grateful we now have the confidence, skills, and courage to try to incorporate digital components into an on-site internship.  I wouldn’t have even thought of this a year ago.  I don’t yet know what that might look like, but I suspect our plans to incorporate a digital component would be in order to address accessibility and equity issues.


What additional support did you provide to intern supervisors in order to create a successful program?     


Marne Bariso:
I suggest preparing an intern supervisor handbook.  In a pinch this late spring, I prepped a 2-page handout with tips for remote intern supervisors.  I researched top tips from business-related articles and blogs, and even museums that have already been doing virtual internships.  I also talked to a museum studies prof. at DePaul University, who I know already, and got her tips as she had some students who were about to embark on virtual internship experiences.

I am also going to convene a discussion with intern supervisors so they can reflect on their experiences, and hear suggestions for each other and me, the program manager.

Has the program going virtual (i.e. more opportunity to bring in interns that are not local to your institution) shifted your recruitment strategy?


Daniel Pecoraro:
I would say that the move to remote internships definitely changes our recruitment strategy, particularly for academic year internships. Previously we had kept our recruitment efforts primarily to local high schools and colleges for the academic year (with a wider post to job boards nationally in the summer — though generally, that was looking for NYC area students studying out of state). Now we are able to cast as wide a net as possible to gather as diverse a pool of applicants as possible, which is a massive benefit to our pipeline as an organization and in the field at large.

Marne Bariso: Hmmmm….not much.  Although now that I am aware of the spreadsheet of existing remote internships, I am going to try to add our listings to that.  

We are also happy to share some helpful resources and links:
Panelist, Marne Bariso, has developed a resource guide for Summer 2020 Remote internship based on her findings


NYCMER and AAM Museum Studies Network’s Fall 2020 Remote Internship Form


NYCMER and AAM Museum Studies Network’s Fall 2020 Remote Internship Spreadsheet

Thank you again for your time and interest in this important topic. We hope to have you join us for future NYCMER programming.