Education Beyond the Classroom: Gaining Museum Experience with Internships

During his two internships at the Galt Museum & Archives, Art History and Museum Studies student Jason Ranaghan researched, recorded and curated his own exhibition

Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Museum Studies) | Faculty of Fine Arts | University of Lethbridge

Jason Ranaghan at the opening of his exhibit, Acting Out: Celebrating a Decade of Theatre Outré, at the Galt Museum & Archives.

How Jason gained career experience and professional connections before graduation

Art History and Museum Studies student Jason Ranaghan is exploring all the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts has to offer, and is set to graduate this spring with significant work experience and a newfound passion for his chosen field.

Jason recently completed not one, but two internships at the prestigious Galt Museum & Archives. By taking his learning outside of the classroom, he worked with the prestigious Donald Buchanan art collection researching and curating his own exhibition at the museum.

However, Jason’s path wasn’t a straight line. He started his degree as a new media major but fell in love with art history after exploring a variety of courses.

“I never thought I would have gone into art history. I didn’t think I cared much about art until I took art classes, and I fell in love with it.”

Through the newly-formed ULethbridge BA (Art History and Museum Studies), you are part of an innovative program that combines critical studies in art history and theory with extensive hands-on museum and gallery experience.

Gain a deeper knowledge of contemporary art practices by focusing on 19th to 21st century European, North American and Indigenous Art History, while learning to manage and conserve artwork, and curate exhibitions by working with the University’s extensive art collection containing more than 16,000 objects.

Our internship program offers an in-depth sense of the range of work and career possibilities in the museum field, and the opportunity to develop experience beyond the art gallery and classroom.

Gaining valuable internship experience

Jason completed the Donald Buchanan Internship, a cooperative program between ULethbridge, Lethbridge College and the City of Lethbridge. With the internship, ULethbridge students have funding to care for, research and exhibit the Buchanan art collection, donated to the city by Buchanan’s estate in 1966. Jason’s goal was to build a fully-formed Buchanan collection database, as well as ideas for exhibitions, by the end of his internship.

“My work was to find ways to display pieces from this fantastic collection in and around Lethbridge,” Jason says. “This was mainly database and research-based, exploring the collection and developing ideas for exhibiting them. I’m creating new research on a collection we learned about in my classes. This is unique, since research often centres on already-established knowledge.”

Prior his Buchanan internship, Jason completed his first internship, required as part of his degree, at the Galt. During that experience, he researched and developed an exhibit about Theatre Outré, a Lethbridge-based queer theatre company.

“Theatre Outré celebrates their 10-year anniversary in 2023-2024, so I created a retrospective. Because there wasn’t a lot of existing information about the company, I worked outside of the archive a lot. I sorted through amazing original research and conducted oral history interviews with Theatre Outré members. The Buchanan internship let me see that project to completion. It’s just been so cool. The work was a huge passion project for me and it was a dream to do.”

Jason is the guest curator for the exhibition, titled Acting Out: Celebrating a Decade of Theatre Outré, at the Galt until February 11, 2024.

Jason’s exhibit at the Galt Museum & Archives.

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• Applied studies, internships & a range of work experience
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Apply by March 15, 2024 to maximize your scholarships!

University of Lethbridge | Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Museum Studies)
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