Gaining an edge in the competitive field of art history isn’t just about finding an internship early – it’s about networking and making a strong, positive impression on potential employers.
Students at the Hartford Art School are taught that being outgoing and knowledgeable at their internships will often lead to future opportunities in their fields, and Erin Cunliffe ‘17 is no exception.
Cunliffe interned at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Conn. in fall 2017, her final semester at the University of Hartford. A lifelong Connecticut resident, Cunliffe searched for a site that would combine her appreciation of art and feminist history. The Hill-Stead Museum suited her perfectly because it was the home and design of one of America’s first female architects, Theodate Pope Riddle.
Following her internship, the head of the museum formally invited Cunliffe to join the team, and since then, Cunliffe adopted two titles – shop associate and education associate – and was then promoted to Education, Visitation and Interpretation Associate.
Erin Cunliffe, BFA '17, MFA '21
“The museum felt like home from my very first day at my internship, and I knew that if a position was offered to me, I would take it. A few weeks prior to my last day, I found out that a staff member had recommended me to be brought on as a paid employee.”
Cunliffe advises other art students to be open to a variety of outcomes.
“I’ve moved up the ladder because I’ve showed willingness to put in time and to fill a variety of the museum’s needs. That kind of approach is essential when you’re first starting a career. Work hard, be kind, and pay your dues.”