Remote internships provide opportunities to learn from conservation and preservation professionals when in-person internships are not possible. Training and educating in a virtual format may help reduce barriers to entering the field of conservation by allowing interns to learn from their home locations, without the need to commute or relocate to host venues. Remote internships that accomplish work tasks to benefit the host should offer compensation commensurate with the time-commitment and output. It may not be appropriate or financially possible, however, for some supervisors to provide monetary compensation for remote internships.
Opportunities for remote internships may be posted and advertised on the AIC Career Center Webpage, the AIC Community pages including the Global Conservation Forum, as well as to regional conservation groups, cultural heritage organizations, or national allied organizations. Students should subscribe to alerts to these forums to stay abreast of new offerings. Short-term, and/or part-time internships might also be arranged at the request of a prospective intern via the AIC Community, Find a Conservator Tool, or by email.
Student and supervisor should respect the general guidelines for internships laid out in the Internship Guidelines on the Become a Conservator Page.
Tips and resources for successful remote internships are found below. Please email the Education and Training Committee at [email protected] with additional tips, resources, or other feedback that you would like to share.
Remote Internship Tips
The tips below were gathered from remote internship interns and supervisors with input from the Education and Training Committee, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network.
- Refer to the Internship Guidelines on the Become a Conservator Page as a general reference for pre-program internships.
- Recognize that the internship is only one experience or introduction to the field of conservation and does not guarantee admission to a graduate program.
- Establish clear objectives, expectations, and parameters before the start of the remote internship regarding the following:
- Institutional and/or workplace policies, including security, safety, information sharing, etc.
- Start and end dates for the internship
- Clear articulation of whether the internship offered is paid or unpaid and the reasoning for this decision
- Schedule and pre-determined mode(s) of communication between intern and supervisor(s), e.g. email, messaging apps, phone or video calls
- Access to high-speed internet plan, if email and online messaging and video calls are to be the primary means of communication
- Appropriate contact information, including timely issuance of an institutional email account if needed to access virtual meetings or software
- Daily or weekly time commitment
- Tracking of progress, reporting, deliverables, and deadlines
- Be flexible and understanding regarding schedules. Recognize that work schedules vary and immediate responses cannot be demanded or expected, especially outside of the typical work week (M-F, 9-5). Be clear about expectations regarding communications.
- Prior to the start date, determine remote access to workplace resources and obtain permission to enter the facility if and when needed.
- Arrange health and safety training as well as fittings for personal safety equipment, including respirators.
- Maintain open communication for questions and guidance, while encouraging independence and resourcefulness.
- Develop a list of readings and resources relevant to the project(s).
- Research other resources for online teaching such as:
- Sample of Resources for Online Teaching compiled by Emily Frank, last updated Oct. 7, 2020.
- BitcuratorEdu Remote Internship Guidelines Document for Digital Curation and Preservation Internships
- Add your own resources for online teaching by emailing [email protected]
Example Activities for Remote Internships
Below is a list of activities from the original internship guidelines document with short annotations for possible changes as well as edits refining the list to activities possible virtually. This list is meant to provide useful examples and is not designed to fulfill specific admissions or academic credit requirements. Supervisors and students should contact individual conservation training programs with specific questions regarding admission requirements.
Please send ideas for other activities to: [email protected].
Examples of Hands-On Conservation Activities
Objects could be a book from your bookshelf, a painting in your house, a favorite coffee mug, the mural down the street, a public statue in a park, etc.
- Perform object examination, including historical research and community interviews.
- Write condition reports.
- Take before and after treatment photo documentation.
- Construct protective enclosures and/or display mounts and mats.
- Discuss a proposed treatment with owner or stakeholder, such as a family member, a neighbor, or a local leader or historian.
- Plan an exhibit installation/deinstallation, creating mounts and mats for selected items.
- Perform treatment steps (stabilization, structural support, humidification, reshaping, consolidation, cleaning, joining, coating, compensation, toning, aesthetic integration, etc.):
- Undertake pest or mold management:
Examples of Research-Oriented Conservation Activities
- Experiment with different condition reporting formats and software.
- Conduct materials analysis or testing, in collaboration with scientists if possible.
- Test and evaluate materials and treatment methods.
- Research the preparation of conservation materials, such as adhesives or cleaning solutions.
- Research and discuss published case studies considering object evaluation and treatment, including art historical and scientific analysis as well as ethical considerations.
- Read and research about an object, including its usage and background in the source community:
- Seek to understand the associated people and cultures of the object. Communicate with source communities if possible and appropriate.
- Research local history and reach out to neighbors/neighborhood organizations if they are the source communities for the local object.
- Create a workshop or presentation for public audiences about conservation.
- Educate family and friends via your social media or by a Powerpoint presentation.
- Investigate the role of conservation within institutions by attending virtual meetings if possible.
- Reach out to administrators, curators, registrars, designers, educators, etc. about their experiences.
- Explore loan processes, exhibition planning/exhibition, acquisition/deaccession, etc.
Examples of Registration Activities
- Object handling
- Object labeling
- Create an inventory list using available software and databases.
- Research relevant best practice articles and videos for the above.
- Explore and use collections databases if possible.
- Research repatriation documentation & activities, including on the history of repatriation acts such as NAGPRA and the decolonialization of collections.
Examples of Collections Care Activities
Research and investigate best practices of the following:
- Environmental preventive care (Relative humidity (RH), temperature, light, pollutants, etc.)
- Environmental monitoring (hygrometers, light meters, dataloggers, blue wool standards, etc.)
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Storage housings
- Visit the Stash website (Storage Techniques for Art, Science, and History) to browse housing examples and templates.
- Storage or exhibit maintenance (dusting, cleaning plexiglass, etc.)
Professional Development Activities
- Write blogs and/or social media posts about projects and your conservation journey.
- Visit labs if virtual tours are being offered or with social distancing.
- Check with your regional ECPN liaison for events.
- Meet and/or interview conservators.
- Attend online lectures, conferences, exhibitions, and/or workshops (check out the AIC learning center).
- Gain familiarity with professional literature.
- Explore ECPN resources on the AIC website and the ECPN’s Wiki pages.
- Join and participate in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) as a student member if it is available for you.
- Develop a network of peers by joining affinity groups (Affinity group websites still under construction, please check back for updates).
- Join sub-groups within AIC and or join the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN).
- Join and participate in regional conservation groups.
- Join and/or participate in allied organizations/associations/groups such as the American Library Association or the American Institute of Architects.
- Become acquainted with Art Conservation graduate programs through research and communication, virtual portfolio days, and/or on-site visits if applicable.
Add your contribution above! Email [email protected]