Emerging Professionals Program Offers Opportunities For Hands-On Experience And Career Development For Early Career Museum Professionals

March 9, 2017
Five people, one dessed all in grey, converse in a room with white walls and gray stone floor, near gold and translucent sculptures.

Glenstone Museum’s two-year Emerging Professionals Program offers opportunities for hands-on experience and career development for early career museum professionals.

Glenstone, the museum of modern and contemporary art in Potomac, Maryland, today announced the inception of a pilot initiative, the Emerging Professionals Program, developed to provide full-time work and comprehensive training to young people of diverse backgrounds who hope to work in the museum field. The first participants in the program began working at Glenstone in early February and will take up their duties in earnest with the opening of the museum’s exhibition Roni Horn, opening on March 9.

“We saw a need to provide an environment of learning for individuals who often leave school unclear as to the next steps they want to take, or unable to find opportunities for entry-level work in museums,” said Emily Rales, Director and Chief Curator of Glenstone. “Those participating in our new Emerging Professionals Program will benefit from multi-faceted, real-life experiences that help them launch their careers in the museum field. Glenstone, in turn, will benefit from the enthusiasm and skills the participants bring to their work, and from the contributions we expect they will make when we open the expanded Glenstone in 2018.”

Recent graduates of bachelor’s and master’s programs who want to work in the museum field often have few opportunities beyond short-term internships, which may pay only a stipend, if anything. Participants in the Emerging Professionals Program, by contrast, are full-time staff for two years, who work four days a week as Guides: knowledgeable tour facilitators who interact with visitors to answer questions, share information and encourage discussion of the artworks on view. On the fifth day of their work week, the program participants have the opportunity to work with Glenstone staff in all departments. They gain familiarity with functions across the museum, collaborate on projects and assignments, and attend on- and off-site lectures and seminars with museum leaders and other professionals, including curators, designers, engineers, architects and horticulturalists from area institutions.

The participants in the pilot program are gaining an understanding of how each department of the museum operates as well as exploring other areas that they will come across as museum professionals. In their second year in the program, the Emerging Professionals will contribute to the successful opening of The Pavilions and implementation of Glenstone’s expanded offerings to visitors.

Current participants entered the program after receiving their bachelor’s or master’s degrees from Central Michigan University, Juniata College, Maryland Institute College of Art, Pennsylvania State University, Pratt Institute, Salisbury University, Skidmore College, the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As it plans for the next year of the initiative, Glenstone is actively recruiting candidates through job postings, staff recommendations and its contacts at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, Maryland Institute College of Art and other colleges and universities.

In addition to receiving full-time salaries and benefits, participants in the Emerging Professionals Program enjoy formative career experiences, challenging academic and job-based training and access to an expansive professional network.

The Emerging Professionals Program is managed by Stockton Toler, Director of Visitor Experience at Glenstone. “Our Guides are at the heart of the Glenstone experience,” Toler said. “We select them for their strong and diverse backgrounds and their desire to engage our visitors with personal passion, cultural sensitivity and a thorough knowledge of our institution and the art we collect and exhibit. We believe that training and employment as Guides will be a great point of entry into the museum field for the participants in this program, which we look forward to expanding in the years to come.”

Glenstone will begin accepting applications for the new cohort of Guides in the fall of 2017. For further information about Glenstone and the Emerging Professionals Program, please visit https://www.glenstone.org/about/careers/.

[email protected]