Former BMA Interns

/ Interviews - Staff Updates

At the beginning of my internship, I began to think about former BMA interns and how this experience affected their respective career trajectories upon completion. What advice would they have for future interns? And what did they learn while working at the Museum? Luckily, I was able to track down a few former interns to learn more about their time at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Though their Museum experiences were unique, each grew to understand the vital role cultural institutions play in our community. Follow along to learn more about what they had to say.


  • Lindsey Christina, Event Coordinator at The Pizitz
    Internship Department: Development

What is the most important thing you learned?

During my time at the Museum, I learned that there was a large need for arts administrators and that the work they do for our community (and art) is incredibly important. As a profession that often goes unnoticed by artists, there is a great need for people to facilitate the needs of artists and bring a higher awareness of the arts to the general community. To increase the cultural vitality of our community, art leaders are needed. As art leaders, we can provide new opportunities for artists, advocate for the arts in Birmingham, represent diversity, strengthen relationships among the community, generate tourism, increase Birmingham’s collective identity, promote free expression, and create new business opportunities.

How did your internship influence your career?

Upon completion of my internship, my path had been determined. I knew that from that moment, I wanted to be an arts leader. I enjoyed learning from the different departments at the Museum and how they worked together to improve not only the Museum, but the community. I have since started the Masters of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management program at Colorado State University. Most recently, I was able to complete an internship in India educating female community members and female educators about art as a way to address domestic violence and outdated cultural norms impacting gender equality and the treatment of women. I would like to find a way to meld my experiences in art school, at the Museum, and at Colorado State both locally and, perhaps, at an international level using arts for positive social change.

Describe your career path since completing your internship at the BMA.

Since completing my internship, I have worked in various positions at MAKEbhm, Birmingham Art Crawl, Moss Rock Festival, Magic City Art Connection, and Birmingham Art Walk. Mostly, I work behind the scenes in event planning, volunteer management and recruitment, artist hospitality, community outreach, fundraising, and exhibition set-up.

What advice would you give to someone interested in interning at a museum?

If you are interested in learning more about art and how art impacts the community, I would certainly recommend pursuing an internship at the Museum. The Museum will introduce you to new ideas about art and how to work with a diverse group of people to preserve culture and advocate for art as artists and art leaders. Interning at the Museum is also a wonderful way for artists to learn about the business of art.  


  • Rebecca Schaller, Development Events Manager at BMA
    Internship: Goodrich

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at the Museum?

A job skill I value that I learned while being at the Museum is the importance of communication. I try to communicate effectively, openly, promptly, and kindly with my colleagues who all have different goals and timelines that they are working towards.    

How did your internship at the BMA influence your career?

Upon graduating college, I knew I wanted to work in programming and events for a non-profit cultural institution. At the BMA, I was able to gain an extensive understanding of fundraising and really enjoy it and excel in it, giving me the experience I needed to get the job I have today.    

Describe your career path since completing your internship at the BMA.

I am extremely fortunate that I was one of the rare individuals who actually gets the exact job they went to school for immediately after graduation at the institution they intern for. I am the Development Events Manager at the BMA and have been in this role for two years. I manage fundraising events including upper level donor events, exhibition openings, private dinners, and our Museum Ball.   

What advice would you give to someone interested in interning at a museum?

I would recommend everyone should intern at a museum or cultural non-profit to help develop their creativity and push themselves outside their comfort zone by trying new things. If someone is interning at a museum, I would advise them to spend time meeting with individuals outside their department to grow their network. I always found myself thinking, “Wait, that can be someone’s job?”


  • Emee Hendrickson, Docent Assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    BMA Internship: Registrar

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at the Museum?

Gaining exposure to the array of career paths within the museum field was paramount. During my internship, the Museum facilitated lunch meetings with each department, which allowed us to become familiar with the various career trajectories. Before interning, I feel that I had an extremely myopic idea of what working in a museum could or would look like. My understanding of a museum career was “something in curatorial,” basically.

How did your internship at the BMA influence your career?

My internship reinforced my decision to pursue a career in the museum field. By having face time with departments such as preparation, conservation, and registrars, I recognized that several avenues would lead to a fulfilling career.

Describe your career path since completing your internship at the BMA.

I completed my MA in Art History from the University of Alabama. I then began the application process to museums in major cities that I was interested in living and working. In March 2018, I accepted a full-time position at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I currently work in the Department of Learning and Interpretation as the Docent Assistant. My main responsibilities include: organizing the monthly tour selections, selecting docents for requested tours, serving as the point-of-contact for our large volunteer docent corps, and organizing school tours with our district partners.

What advice would you give to someone interested in interning at a museum?

Know broadly what you need to be happy in a job. For me, as long as I am either handling art, or talking about it, I will be content every single day. It can be hard getting an entry-level position in a museum, since most require two years of experience, so be open to positions outside of your comfort zone.  


  • Kendall Chew, Outreach Coordinator at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center
    BMA Internship: Education

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at the Museum?

It is hard to narrow down the most important thing I learned with my time at BMA because I still have a relationship with the BMA 13 years later, but I would say that working with the public and my love for working with the community was literally formed by this internship.

How did your internship at the BMA influence your career?

Which leads me to my next answer…thirteen years after interning at the BMA, I am still working in the museum field. My internship at the BMA solidified my decision to major in Art History and continue to get a Master’s degree.

Describe your career path since completing your internship at the BMA.

Since that summer in 2005, I graduated UAB with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, completed an over year-long internship with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, went back to UAB to get my master’s in history, and for the last six years have had a “dream-come-true” career path at BCRI, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and now with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. I stayed connected with BMA staff and helped out and volunteered in numerous ways for them throughout the years, making and keeping professional relationships with my supervisors to this day. I can still call on those people for guidance and advice and owe them more than they will ever know.

What advice would you give to someone interested in interning at a museum?

My main advice for those seeking internships at the BMA is to go for it! I learned how to work, research, work with the public and community, but most importantly I learned about me. These internship opportunities give you a window into your future and you can decide what you do and don’t want in your career’s future. Everything about an internship at the BMA is positive because you figure out you.