The Department was established in 1965. The number of lecturers of the department changes over the years with  number of staff once was at maximum 16. There were 2 Associate Professors, 6 PhDs at that time. The department has been awarded the title of “Excellent Department” by HUA for several years, the title of “Outstanding Achievement during the 1990 – 2000 Renovation Period” by the Minister of MOET ”; there were 6 staff awarded title of “Excellent Educators” and one Labour Decoration of  3rd Degree (Dr. Trần Đình Đông).

Choosing a Museum for Your Internship

You might thing it’s worth applying to every single museum internship you find a listing for. But more important is that you actually care about the museum you apply to. Museum people love their institutions. They will be impressed that you love the institution, too. And you will be happier giving your time to a place you actually like.

A good rule of thumb, especially if you’re starting out trying to get your first internship in a museum, is to answer this question: What was your favorite museum to visit as a child? Math tutor on the choose your personal tutor. Whatever your answer is, that’s where you should intern first. Now, ideally, that museum is in the city you currently live in. If it isn’t, think about a museum in the city you do live in that is most like your favorite childhood museum–and then apply there. When you have a personal connection to the collection or to their mission, or have actively experienced their programs, it’s a win-win: the museum can brag about its lasting influence on its community, and you will really want to do your best there.

Although you learn a lot from interning in a medium or massive institution, I would most highly recommend interning in a small museum, especially for your first internship. Some of my best internship experiences took place at small museums, and here’s why: you get to know most of the staff, even those beyond your department (read: you make professional connections with a lot of people, which will come in handy when you go job hunting later on); you see how many departments function and/or get an extremely thorough understanding of the one you’re in (because you’re probably the only intern there); and you have the opportunity to get your hands into lots of exciting projects.

Once you’ve cut your teeth on a small institution, I would then recommend looking at the huge places (happily, those are the ones that usually have paid programs) for your next internship. If you can, do so in New York or another large city, where there are lots of other museums around. Additionally, large institutions often have a single person dedicated to interns, so you get amazing training and have a point person to help you define your interests more deeply.

Using Connections
There is no getting around it: the museum world is a small one and thus a place where connections in the industry are extremely useful. If you know someone who you think would sincerely, truly like to see you succeed, and who has a connection to a museum, politely ask them if they could put you in touch with someone there. Follow up with a thank you note to your connector. (Always, always, always follow up with a thank you note!–see below.)

If you don’t have any connections, fear not. Cold call or begin with an informational interview (see below). And once you impress the staff with your professionalism, voila–you have a connection.

The Informational Interview
If you’re not quite ready for an interview, ask someone at the museum for an informational interview. See if you can take someone in the department you’re interested in to coffee in order to hear about their job and give you advice. People love to talk about themselves and their job, and it’s likely they would love to feel important enough to share their story and advice with you. You will learn a lot about the many paths people take to work in arts institutions, and you will almost definitely gain a connection. (And, although you should try to pay for the coffees, they will probably treat you, because they were once a broke college student too.)

One thing that is super important about the informational interview: DO NOT try to weasel a job out of it. Seriously. They know you’re looking to break into the museum world–everyone understands the underlying reason for informational interviews–you don’t need to put it out there. Be subtle by not mentioning it at all, graciously thank them for their time, and there’s a good chance they will say something along the lines of “feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, and I’d be happy to keep you in mind for any internships if they come to my attention.” If they don’t offer something like that, don’t bug them to do so–it puts them in an awkward position if they didn’t really connect with you.