Guidance on Internships

Internships are becoming increasingly popular in the museums and cultural sector, although recently they have received a lot of attention in the sector press.  Discussions have focussed around whether internships are socially exclusive and at their worst exploitive.  Of course not all internships are like this with many benefitting both interns and the organisation.

In order to support organisations who are thinking of setting up internships, the Museums Association have recently published best practice guidance on internships.  The Museums Association state that internships should:

  • Pay reasonable work-related expenses and give interns reasonable access to staff benefits (such as free tickets to exhibitions or events).
  • Be planned and structured with a clear brief, specific job content and a named line manager or supervisor.
  • Give a clear outline of what is being offered to interns, and what is expected of the intern.
  • Offer an agreed training and development plan with the intern, setting out what learning opportunities will be offered.
  • Ensure that potential interns are told whether there is a realistic chance of the internship leading on to employment.
  • Be of a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum 12 months (if paid) and a maximum of three months (if unpaid).

The Arts Council have also published guidance on internships.  You can view their guidelines at

There is also guidance on internships from the NCVO, see their guidance at



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