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NMSU to partner with Smithsonian Latino Center for internships

NMSU’s Museum Conservation Program is the first in the country to partner with the Smithsonian Latino Center to provide students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at the center in Washington, D.C. Since 1997, the Smithsonian Latino Center has successfully ensured that the contributions of the Latino community are celebrated and represented throughout the Smithsonian. 

The center received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support four NMSU students per year with up to six-month internships over the next five years, including transportation, housing and a stipend. 

“The Smithsonian Latino Program and NMSU Museum Conservation Program created this internship to give our museum conservation students an opportunity to learn how one of the main institutions in the world applies preventive conservation, collections care and art conservation,” says Silvia Marinas-Feliner, program director. 

NMSU, which started its program in 2005, is one of only two universities nationwide that prepares students to be art conservators with hands-on experience. 

As program director at NMSU, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Marinas-Feliner worked closely with the Smithsonian to develop this rare opportunity for her students to work at one of the top museums in the world. 

“Museum conservation program students need to gain as much experience as possible in museums and collections to be accepted into graduate conservation programs or museum jobs,” she says. 

Marinas-Feliner has worked with the museum in the past, placing several NMSU students into other internships at the Smithsonian. Although many more students were interested in internships, they could not afford the cost. Now that this new program includes funding, more students will have the opportunity to attend the internship program. 

“This is an absolutely unique experience and it will be a privilege for the museum conservation students to be able to go to the museums of the Smithsonian Institute to gain experience in the museum world,” she says. 

As a graduate student, Gina Utman (left) worked with Silvia Marinas-Feliner, program director, to restore an antique retablo in the art conservation lab.