Gabriella Gillette, Mia Audience Engagement Department, Summer 2018
Where did you complete your internship and what type of internship did you have?
This summer, I completed an internship at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and it was such an eye-opening and fun place to be! I worked with the Audience Engagement Department doing marketing-related work—a perfect fit for me because I’m double majoring in Art History and General Business.
The three things I loved the most were the people, the broad set of responsibilities I had, and the projects I did. I really got to be part of so many different aspects of Audience Engagement and none of them included copying papers or buying coffee for the office! Everyone really made it known that I wasn’t “just an intern,” but that I was really an employee.
What was your day-to-day work like?
My day-to-day consisted of me doing real projects that are beneficial to the team such as creating social media content or building a communications plan. I felt supported and helpful throughout the entire summer and I was even given the opportunity to return throughout the semester to help out the department. This position allowed me to perfectly blend my majors, so I know exactly what I want in a career and what skills I need to achieve that goal.
What was the most fun moment on the job?
Overall, I would say that the most fun moment at Mia was taking a tour with one of the curators. He worked in the Painting Department and took me and some co-workers around the third floor to talk about frames. It was honestly the coolest and most interesting tour I’ve ever been on. I expressed interest in learning about frames, so my supervisor sent a few emails and set up this amazing tour! He talked about where the frames come from, where they're purchased, how they're made (sometimes in-house at Mia), and who decides what frame goes where. He shared some of his favorite frame-related stories and talked about some of the pieces that have been or will be reframed over the years. It was so incredible that I’m thinking about taking on the subject for my senior paper this upcoming spring.
What new perspectives do you have on museum work?
Working at Mia changed some of my perspectives about museum careers because there is so much more to do at a museum than work in a curatorial department. Though it’s a nonprofit, they still need a marketing team, web development team, education team, etc. to communicate with visitors and donors about programs or events going on at Mia. They also worked very closely with other departments and had frequent meetings where they would discuss their overlapping tasks. There is a place for everyone at a nonprofit, and I really believe that after this internship.
I’m so happy to have had this experience and I will be back again someday! I learned so much about marketing and made a lot of really great contacts, so I’m just grateful to have been the Audience Engagement intern for the summer!