MUSM/CEP 300 – Tour Guiding for Palazzo Vecchio (Community Engagement Practicum)
Discipline(s): Art History, Communication & Journalism, Internships
Available: fall semester 2023, spring semester 2024
Instructor: Stefano Corazzini, M.A.
Course Type: Academic Internships, Internships
Formerly CEP 401 – Cultural Engagement Internship Tour Guide for the City Hall (Palazzo Vecchio) Museum
The goal of this internship is twofold. First, have students gain deeper knowledge of one of the most important Florentine monuments, rich in both art and history. Second, teach them to lead art history tours and communicate effectively.
This internship is designed for students with good communication skills, curiosity for history, ancient art and architecture, and willing to broaden their cultural perspectives. The practicum includes a seminar component, thus allowing students to reflect on and discuss their experience.
Like for all internships, students who commit to it should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible. This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Art History, Architecture, Museum Studies, History, and Communication.
The Association Mus.e Firenze is located inside the Palazzo Vecchio, one of the main and best-known Florentine monuments. Serving as Florence City Hall since 1299, the building offers a cross section, so to speak, of Florentine history from the late Middle Ages to the present. Mus.e Firenze develops approximately one hundred different and highly original kinds of tours. Students are involved in the Guided Tour of the Quartieri Monumentali, which provides a fresh approach to the building, revealing it to be not only a prestigious receptacle of artworks but also a place that brings together architecture, sculptures, and paintings to create a unique, rich, and complex whole.
Student Tasks and Duties
During the first part of the semester, students must study books on Renaissance Florentine history, focusing in particular on the Palazzo Vecchio and the Medici family. They will build this necessary historical background not only by studying the sources just mentioned (on average, 1 hour per week), but also by adding materials discussed in class (collaboration with their ISI Florence art history professor is very important) and participating in tours led by the other official guides of this Florentine palace.
Both the ISI Florence professor and the Mus.e Firenze tutor will support the selected student. Also, they will take care of the organizational aspects pertaining to the internship.
The ISI Florence professor will serve as reference point for historical and cultural feedback. He will show the student around the building, exploring all the museum rooms as well as the ones that are usually closed to the public. Furthermore, the ISI Florence professor will point out details, comment on materials, answer any questions the student may have and, finally, discuss all the assignments with him/her.
The aim of the first part of the semester is to prepare students to guide independently a tour of English speaking visitors through the Palazzo Vecchio. The tours run for approximately 1 hour, thus totaling 120 hours by the end of the semester. Students commit for 12 hours per week, including two weekends per month. During the second part of the semester, students will hone their critical thinking and develop skills to communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists.
The seminar includes 50-minute weekly meetings and is based on readings, interactive class discussions, lectures and examining communication and public speaking skills in culturally different settings, though always in the context of arts and history. Throughout the course, students complete weekly writing assignments (research papers) and prepare a final project under the supervision of their course instructor.
By the end of this internship, students will:
• Increase their knowledge of one of the most important Florentine monuments, learning how it developed from the late Middle Ages to the present
• Gain a deeper knowledge of the history, art history, and architecture of medieval and Renaissance Florence
• Improve public speaking skills in group contexts
• Develop skills to communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists
• Work autonomously with enthusiasm and confidence to lead their own group of tourists
• Improve their critical thinking and communication skills
• Become familiar with and benefit from being surrounded by masterpieces of Florentine art
• Experience the visual arts from within.
Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.
The internship is held in collaboration with The Umbra Institute.