The VRAF Internship Award Committee is pleased to announce that Adelaide McComb is the recipient of the 2018-2019 VRAF internship.
Adelaide is pursuing curatorial studies and non-profit management graduate degrees at the University of Louisville. She will work with the Lakota Dream Museum & Monument, a new cultural center in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the first Indigenous-owned museum in the historic Black Hills. Its mission is to provide an accurate interpretation of The Great Plains tribes through documented resources, artifacts, and local historians with the intention to instill knowledge, a strong sense of identity, and hope into the Lakota and all Native people. In addition to a growing collection of religious and sacred objects, its programs include Lakota language revitalization, internships, workforce development, educational scholarships, small business loans, and more.
The objective of this internship is to create a database that captures the historical, visual, and culturally significant aspects of the museum’s artifacts. She will work with archeologists, anthropologists, and historians at the Lakota Dream Museum, and with semantic database experts at Semantic Arts on the software platform and ontology design. Her past experience as a software consultant has given Adelaide a comprehensive understanding of database management. This opportunity will allow her to learn the significance of cultural preservation, heritage, revitalization, and how data affect the way this information is shared. Her academic instruction in curatorial studies will provide guidance in collection exhibitions and visual resource management. Adelaide’s proposal includes a plan for Native youth to eventually receive training in visual resources and image management under the guidance of curatorial and anthropological staff, thus ensuring best practices while enabling community members to gain valuable skills and participate directly in this revitalization of their culture.
Adonis Saltes, Chief Executive Officer of the Lakota Dream Museum & Monument, states, “under direction from Spiritual Leaders, we elected to not hide our culture. We choose to allow visitors to view personal items which well-known leaders relied upon for strength and direction. They serve to remind us of Lakota who sought protection and direction during the challenging years of their lives…With many experts putting their minds together to help these items continue for generations to come, the historical, curatorial, and cultural context for these objects will help us preserve the culture of the Great Plains. This will be a great opportunity for Lakota Dream to move forward and prosper.”
Note: The VRAF Internship Award call for applications goes out in the spring, with instructions and deadlines posted here on this site. Please check back later for our next award cycle.
Information & Application Procedures
The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) Internship Award provides financial support for graduate students preparing for a career in visual resources and image management. The award grants $4,000 to support a period of internship in archives, libraries, museums, visual resources collections in academic institutions, or other appropriate contexts. The recipient receives a stipend of $3,000 for 200 hours completed at the host site. A professional development component of $1,000 supports conference attendance or attendance at the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. The recipient receives a one-year complimentary student membership in the Visual Resources Association.
Candidates should apply after developing a project with a specific collection and prospective supervisor. The VRAF Internship Award Committee favors opportunities in which the intern may integrate skills acquired during the course of his or her academic training to manage a project from beginning to end, with the host institution receiving needed help in making valuable but hidden cultural collections visible. Projects that would not occur without funding for an intern may be given special consideration.
The VRAF Internship is generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The VRAF Internship Award Committee consists of a VRAF Director as chair, a representative from the VRA Education Committee, a representative from the VRA Awards Committee, and the previous internship recipient.
Who May Apply
Students currently enrolled in, or having completed within the last 24 months, a graduate program in library or information science, art history, architectural history, architecture, visual or studio art, museum studies, or other applicable field of study may apply for this award. Applicants must have completed at least 10 credits of their graduate coursework before the application deadline, or demonstrate an equivalent combination of coursework and relevant experience.
One VRAF Internship is awarded per year. Priority is given to applicants who submit projects that support art historical or related visual cultural heritage research and scholarship. Although the award recipient need not hold US citizenship or be a permanent resident of the US, the recipient must select an institution in the United States to act as host for the internship. This institution must be approved by the VRAF Internship Award Committee. VRAF and VRA are not responsible for matching candidates with a host institution, but will gladly assist with the process. An up to date list of host institutions can be found here.
This Internship Award is granted in conjunction with an academic year. The intern is required to work on site at their chosen host institution for a minimum of 200 hours. The intern will choose to initiate their internship in the fall, winter, or spring. The internship must begin within 30 days of the official beginning of the selected academic session of the participant’s home institution and be completed within one academic semester or two academic quarters. Exceptions are allowed by agreement between the selected intern and the VRAF Internship Awards Committee. In all cases, the internship must be completed within twelve months of the recipient being notified of the award.
The intern and the internship supervisor will complete brief evaluations of the internship experience. This report must be received by the VRAF Internship Committee by March 1 of the given academic year. The VRAF Internship Award will provide a stipend of $3,000.00 to the intern. Half of the award will be granted prior to the internship, with the remainder granted upon completion of the internship and receipt of a letter to the Chair of the VRAF Internship Committee signed by the internship supervisor and the intern stating that the 200 hours have been completed. If the recipient is not a US citizen, the VRAF is required by the IRS to withhold a percentage of this award.
A professional development component of $1,000 is available to support attendance at the national VRA conference, other appropriate conferences, or the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. The recipient will be reimbursed upon submission of receipts and documentation. The award recipient will be formally recognized during the Awards ceremony at the VRA conference.
The recipient receives a one-year complimentary student membership in the Visual Resources Association.
Interns may have the option of receiving academic credit for the internship as part of their graduate course work but are responsible for making those arrangements themselves.
How to Apply
See the instructions posted on our How to Apply for an Internship Award page.