ACT Branch internships

AMaGA ACT museum internships


AMaGA ACT internship prize

The internship prize is an award for high performing students in the ACT undertaking an internship in the GLAM sector as part of their university studies.

2021 prize

Many of us in the GLAM sector got our start interning – a rewarding experience that can also be hard work! Each year, the ANU runs internship programs through the Centre for Art History and Art Theory and the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies. Interns work in GLAM institutions all across Canberra, gaining valuable experience and also making a positive contribution to the sector.

In recognition of this hard work, each year the ACT Branch of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) awards two high performing interns a prize. We would like to congratulate Madeleine Tan and Riley McPherson on being awarded the 2021 AMaGA ACT Internship Prize.

AMaGA ACT offers the internship prize to high performing students who are planning careers in the museums and galleries sector. The prize consists of a one-year membership to AMaGA and a gift voucher for The Curatoreum

Madeleine and Riley spoke with Sheridan Burnett of AMaGA ACT to discuss their experiences and interns and share their plans for the future.

Madeleine Tan Riley McPherson with two bark paintings by Mathaman Marika depicting the 'Wawilak ceremony'. 


Madeleine Tan, Masters of Museum and Heritage Studies, interned at CartoGIS.

What did you study at university?

I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Anthropology and Ancient World Studies at the University of Melbourne before moving to Canberra in 2021 to complete a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies at ANU.

Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship?

I interned at CartoGIS Services who maintain the Asia-Pacific Maps Collection at ANU. My role was to completely catalogue and reorganise the Australian maps collection as there was no comprehensive list of what it contained. The best part about this was the knowledge that the work I was doing for my internship would set the structure as to how the collection would be accessed once my internship was completed. It was therefore my job to create a system that was functional, efficient and intuitive, and I am very grateful to have played a role in the maintenance and accessibility of a small part of an actual collection.

Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector?

I took a few archaeology subjects throughout my undergrad and although my degree skewed more towards literature and history, I found handling ancient objects a fascinating and deeply humbling experience. When life stalled in Melbourne in 2020 and I found myself reconsidering my career plans, the GLAM sector made the most sense considering my interests in heritage, history and culture.

What are your plans now that you have finished university?

I am commencing a PhD at ANU through the Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Research stream this February. In my thesis I hope to combine all the skills and knowledge I have gained across my degrees and focus on the relationship between tourism, heritage and culture through an anthropological lens.


Riley McPherson, Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced), interned at Drill Hall Gallery, ANU

What did you study at university? I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Art History at the University of Melbourne. After working for a year, I decided to return to study and do a Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced) at the ANU. 

Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I interned at the Drill Hall Gallery, a contemporary non-commercial exhibition space on the ANU campus. The whole experience was extremely rewarding and I learnt so much and was exposed to aspects of the art world I hadn't seen before. Probably the best part was just the mentoring from the gallery staff, who were so generous with their time in terms of facilitating my interests and goals, and just discussing all aspects of the sector and art world. 

Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector? I have always loved art and come from an artistic family, so when I pivoted from law to art history it wasn't too devastating a blow for them! After studying art history and really focusing on that academic/research side for my undergrad, I decided the best choice would be to do further study which was more vocational and had some practical aspects which would allow me to move towards working in museums and galleries. The internship component was one of the main reasons I chose this Master's program.

What are your plans now that you have finished university? I technically still have my master's thesis to go before I am finished! But I am taking a year off then pursuing uni part-time as I started a new job as Studio Coordinator with a First Nations art centre on the NT/WA border. This was actually an opportunity which I came across as a result of interning at the Drill Hall Gallery and meeting others who had worked in remote art centres. I feel incredibly lucky to have found this highly rewarding role, and I truly don't think it would have happened without my internship and the experience it gave me.