Internship: Art History

A proactive approach to career development

What sets Art History at St. Ambrose University apart from other programs at similar universities? At St. Ambrose, we take a very proactive approach to career development, and all Art History students are guided through the resume writing process in a classroom setting. They also learn interview skills and focus on career options in a required, upper-level Art History course. These skills have become a building-block for students as they prepare to begin their first internship experience as an Art History major.

As an Art History major at SAU, you will choose between a Capstone track – if you're wanting to pursue a graduate degree in a field like Art History – or an Internship track, if you want to get a job immediately following graduation.

The Internship Track is an excellent option for students who are primarily interested in gaining professional experience. Internship Track students complete 6 credits of internship, and students can choose to do internships at a variety of sites, or at a single site, as they prefer.

Art History students have interned at more than 15 sites throughout the Quad Cities area such as the Figge Art Museum, the Putnam Museum, the Rock Island Historical Society, the German-American Heritage Center, and the Bettendorf Family Museum. These internships provide great support for area institutions, but also give our students the practical experience they need to be competitive in today's job market.

Our students also are strongly encouraged to volunteer at local institutions as a way of learning through experience which potential internship site would best suit their career development needs.

Here's just a sampling of internship opportunities our Art History students have recently pursued on campus:

  • From digging through the SAU Archives, to designing vinyl signage, to curating his own exhibit of student work in the Rogalski Center, Mike McMahon '15 gained many new experiences in as an intern in the Catich Gallery. Mike's internship experience was crucial to his professional development. "My internship helped me decide on a profession that I can be passionate in." A 2015 recipient of the Thomas F. Chouteau Art History Award, Mike majored in Art History with a minor in Art, and he intends on pursuing a museum career. Mike is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Museum Studies at Western Illinois University in the Quad Cities.
  • Erin Johnson '16 worked as an intern in the St. Ambrose University Archives, under the direction of SAU Archivist Onnica Marquez. The internship provided Erin, who minored in Book Arts and Art, with an opportunity to learn how to catalog numerous objects, from textiles to documents to photos."My internship has empowered me to feel comfortable in a work setting. I feel that I accomplished a lot in the library, and I can leave, not only with job experience but a better personal outlook as a more confident person." Erin capped off her internship experience by researching and creating her own mini exhibition in a library display case.
  • Renee Flanders, a double major in Graphic Design and Art History, interned as a graphic designer for the Catich Gallery, designing signage for the Catich exhibitions (including a light sign for the Galvin Fine Arts Center lobby). University Curator Chris Reno also praised Renee's work in creating an Instagram display "that involved translating a complicated material object – a book from the  Morrissey exhibition Justice (League) – into an interactive Instagram experience." Check out Renee's work on Instagram.

Add to your experience with the Art History Club Learn more about a career in Art History

ken cunningham in catich gallery

Internship Opportunities

An abundant supply in the Quad Cities

University Curator Chris Reno describes another Catich intern, Ken Cunningham '16 (at left), as "the measuring stick for future interns." Ken worked in the gallery for several semesters - three of which were under Reno's direction. "Ken learned pretty much all there is to learn in terms of technical training here," Reno said. "He is now capable of framing, furniture design/fabrication, vinyl design, exhibition design, basic paper conservation, etc."

Ken's internship provided him with the training and practical experience needed to potentially land a position as an exhibition preparatory at a museum or gallery. Ken majored in Painting and minored in Art History.

Getting an Internship

An important component of Art History

Art History students have interned at more than 15 sites throughout the Quad Cities such as the Figge Art Museum, the Putnam Museum, the Rock Island Historical Society, the German-American Heritage Center, and the Bettendorf Family Museum.


Terri Switzer, PhD

Art History & Museum Studies
Ambrose Hall 230
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.