Studio Art Major Takes on Two Roles Working for Museum

While working as a Gallery Guide and Events Intern at the MSU Broad Art Museum this summer, Olivia Morea, a senior BFA Studio Art major, educated and interacted with museum visitors and says the experience reinforced her decision to pursue a career working for a museum. In the following Q&A, Morea provides more information about her internship and highlights the importance of building relationships with those around her.

Person standing beside the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State Univeristy.
Olivia Morea

What were your internship responsibilities?

I worked in the museum helping guests and answering questions about the art. For facility rentals and museum events, I assisted with set up and, throughout the event, helped guests and ensured that equipment was working. I also would take down and clean up. I helped design floor plans for different events based on their individual needs, and I assisted in keeping tasks organized for each event.

How did you obtain your internship?

I had already been working at the museum as a Gallery Guide and didn’t want to give this up to do an internship since I want to work in museums professionally. I worked with my supervisors and an advisor to work out extra tasks I could take on and what I could do to challenge myself in a museum setting.

What did your daily routine include?

My daily routine consisted of two different kinds of work: gallery support and events. My regular gallery guide hours were all about being in the galleries and keeping the art safe, having conversations with the guests about the artwork, and keeping the museum clean and ready for guests. For events, most of my routine consisted of set up, helping throughout the event with check-in, troubleshooting, and taking it down.

What was your favorite experience from the internship?

My favorite part of the internship was my interactions with guests. The conversations were very educational. I always felt like I learned something new from them, and I hope they learned something from me.

What was your least favorite part of the internship?

My least favorite part of the internship was trying to get all my hours in. COVID really threw this off and it was difficult at times to get in hours with the new restrictions, a later start date, and when I got sick, I really couldn’t come in.

What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?

I learned a lot about how to interact with people. My people skills have greatly improved over the course of this internship. I also think my understanding of the inner workings of the museum has improved greatly, especially of events.

What did you learn about your career path as a result of this internship, and what are your future plans?

This internship has really shown me that I am on the right career path. I am not sure if I want to work in events, but I do love working in museums. After I am done with my undergraduate education, I plan on pursuing a master’s in arts and cultural management and museum studies.

What advice do you have for other students seeking out internship opportunities?

Take advantage of learning anything you can! Your supervisors will have a lot to teach you and are very willing to help you. It’s also important to maintain these relationships you build since they can provide great connections and letters of recommendation in the future.

(Q&A originally published by the Excel Network)