MSU Museum Hosts Smithsonian Leadership for Change Interns

The MSU Museum is excited to host two Leadership for Change Interns for the summer 2024, a program developed and led by Smithsonian Affiliations. This initiative places young leaders in intern positions at Smithsonian and Affiliate organizations across the country, empowering museums to effect positive change within their communities.

Portrait of Chemutai Ruto
Chemutai Ruto
Portrait of Randy Pierre
Randy Pierre

“We are looking forward to collaborating with these passionate young leaders to expand and invigorated our museum work,” remarked Teresa Goforth, Director of Exhibitions at the MSU Museum. “As the first Smithsonian Affiliate Museum in the state, this program offers the MSU Museum the opportunity to drive impact by inspiring students and supporting their success.”

Leadership for Change interns are selected for their dedication to community service and passion for social justice. Throughout the summer, these changemakers will serve as museum advocates, exploring innovative ways to deliver museum content, resources, and expertise to diverse communities. Their involvement in meaningful, hands-on projects, combined with access to mentors and leaders in the field, will enhance their understanding of and commitment to social justice and leadership. The interns at MSU Museum will focus on developing content and experiences related to the forthcoming exhibition, Detroit and the Rise of Machine Music.

Detroit and the Rise of Machine Music, grounded in Detroit’s legacy, highlights the importance of the city and its people in creating and defining early Afrofuturism and capturing the experiences of Black communities in the city. Afrofuturism, a movement that combines African diaspora culture with futuristic elements, has always had a strong connection to sound. Sound serves as a powerful tool for Afrofuturists, allowing them to reshape the universe and create new possibilities. MSU is home to one of the foremost experts on Afrofuturism in the nation, Julian Chambliss. Interdisciplinary teacher, scholar and curator at the MSU Museum, Chambliss will open the exhibition Detroit and the Rise of Machine Music in February 2025.

When asked about their aspirations for the internship, the interns provided insightful responses:

Randy Pierre from Pomona College in Claremont California studying African Studies, shared, “My expectations for personal and professional growth during this internship are ambitious. I hope to refine my skills, expand my knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of how impactful projects are conceptualized and executed. I am confident that the Smithsonian, with its rich resources and collaborative ideology, will provide the ideal canvas.”

Chemutai Ruto from Oberlin College majoring in Africana Studies, Politics, and Musical Studies stated, “I hope to learn about how a museum can best serve and connect with the public through teaching and preserving oral histories of marginalized groups often overlooked.”

This is the second consecutive year the MSU Museum has partnered with the Smithsonian to host Leadership for Change Interns. By hosting interns dedicated to community service and innovation, the Museum not only enhances its own initiatives but also contributes significantly to the professional and personal growth of these young leaders.

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