The Penn Museum offers various opportunities for both Penn students and students from other colleges and universities. For example, our summer internship program, student exhibition internships, volunteer opportunities, and work-study opportunities provide hands-on experience in the museum field.
Penn Museum Summer Internships provide educational opportunities for students interested in museum professions, archaeology, anthropology, and related disciplines. Internships are an opportunity for students to learn about the Penn Museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies, and to meet professionals in the museum field.
Internship are open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent graduates from the University of Pennsylvania and outside colleges and universities. Interns must work at least 150 hours over the course of the summer. Penn students in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply for a limited number of paid internships, totaling 300 hours of work, provided by the Summer Humanities Internship Program (SHIP).
In addition to internship placements, the Museum offers a Intro to Museum Practice seminar program starting on Wednesday, June 8th, including a series of lectures, discussions, and field trips offered each week to enhance the educational experience of our interns. All summer interns are encouraged to attend this seminar program, as well as the internship orientation on Monday, June 6th.
At the Penn Museum Archives, we collect the stories behind the artifacts. The archives include records of the museum’s archaeological expeditions to every inhabited continent, the history of the Penn Museum, and the history of the fields of archaeology and anthropology. In addition to field notes and correspondence, we hold three-quarters of a million images and nearly one thousand reels of motion picture film.
The interns will assist with the archival care and management of documents (including letters, diaries, field notes, and plans and drawings) and photographs (prints, lantern slides, and glass and film negatives) from the Museum’s historic anthropological and archaeological investigations around the world. The interns will work closely with the institution’s archivist on all aspects of archival processing, arrangement, and description, including preparation of finding aids. Interns will also gain experience in basic preservation skills, cataloging, digitization, and assisting with archival reference requests.
We are looking for students with good organizational skills and attention to detail, basic research skills, and the ability to work independently. This is an excellent opportunity to learn and refine skills related to primary source research, synthesis, writing and editing.
The Museum’s Academic Engagement Department, which oversees the use of collections by Penn faculty and staff, seeks interns to work on collections-based projects. Interns will focus on the cataloguing of collections to be used for university class visits. This includes learning standard collections management skills such as object handling, object transportation, database entry, rehousing, photography, measuring, condition reporting, and research. The main collections to be worked on are historical objects from the Museum’s own site history and Wanamaker bronzes from the Mediterranean Section. Interns will be introduced to Object Based Learning in higher education and will need to think creatively about how these collections can be used pedagogically in both the physical and digital realms. Interns will help with summer class visits and the photography of capsule collections for the Online Database, among other collections-based duties. Some experience with artifact handling and DSLR cameras preferred but not required.American Section
The American Section is looking for two summer interns interested in indigenous American material culture and museum collections management. Interns will gain hands on experience involving the documentation, care, and management of anthropological museum collections, both archaeological and ethnographic, and will be introduced to our work related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) within the museum context. Preference will be given to applicants with a demonstrated interest in topics related to indigenous American cultural heritage and museums.
Public Programs is looking for a Summer Camp Intern who fosters a fun and positive learning environment by facilitating friendships and teamwork among campers. Reporting to the Summer Camp Director, the Summer Camp Intern assists with summer camp activities, including outdoor recreation time and after-camp time. The Intern will research, design, and lead outdoor games and team-building activities, plan and teach arts and crafts activities for after-camp attendees, and act as a mentor to camp participants.
An ideal candidate has enthusiasm and experience working with children, preferably in an educational setting; excellent communication, leadership, and teamwork skills; competence in teaching and administrative work; patience, creativity, initiative, and flexibility a must.
Interns must complete a three-point background check in order to participate: PA Criminal Record Check; PA Child Abuse Clearance; and FBI Clearance. Interns will be reimbursed for these clearances.
Preferred availability: June 27-August 19 from 12pm-5pm (note: this internship does not coincide with the Intro to Museum Practice program)
About Penn Museum’s summer camp: Anthropologists in the Making, Penn Museum’s summer day camp designed for children ages 7-13, has been in operation for almost twenty years. Through the scope of Penn Museum’s international collections, campers delight in topics such as mythology, dance, music, art, and customs from both long ago civilizations and modern cultures. Through gallery tours, scavenger hunts, art activities, games, and special guest performances, campers discover the diversity of humankind, past and present. For more information, visit: http://www.penn.museum/programs/kids-and-family/anthropologists-in-the-making-summer-camp
The Museum's Conservation Lab accepts pre-program interns. Pre-program interns are specifically those interested in pursuing a career in conservation who need to build up experience before applying to graduate school. Interns will be supervised in carrying out a variety of basic conservation and preventive conservation tasks. A successful candidate will have basic hand skills and manual dexterity, patience with repetitive tasks, ability to work in sometimes challenging environments, experience with digital photography; and have previous experience handling artifacts in a Museum setting. Applicants must be available for at least two full days (10 am- 4 pm; M-F) each week for at least a six-week period.
This Archaeobotany Summer Internship in will contribute toward creating a digital archaeobotany database accessible to students, researchers, and academics. Interns will be essential for the initial stages of this project and will assist in photographing plant specimens using a state-of-the-art digital microscope. In addition to photography, interns will also carry out seed carbonization experiments for comparative purposes. We currently possess thousands of plant specimens from around the world (with a focus on the Near East) housed in the CAAM archaeobotanical reference collection. We plan to make photos of our growing collection of seeds, nuts, and other plant materials accessible through a searchable database next fall.
The Penn Museum’s Learning Programs Department seeks 1-2 interns to assist with their K-12 and Group Sales offerings, which include tours, workshops, and hands-on activities and presentations for schools and adults.
Interns would assist in general department upkeep, supply inventory, classroom preparation for programs, organization and maintenance of teaching materials, and general hands-on and organizational support to the department. He/she would particularly assist with Homeschool Days, Teacher Professional Developments, and could assist with larger department initiatives, such as the International Student Reception, our summer Storytime Expeditions reading program, and the Discovering the Museum program for Chinese study-abroad students.
Ideal candidates would have familiarity in education in formal and/or informal settings, and interest in object-based learning, and museum studies. He/she would have excellent organizational and communication skills and the ability to work independently, as well as in team settings. Applicants must have availability on most Wednesdays during the internship time.
The intern for this project will gain research experience as well as insight into the issues of digital preservation of cultural heritage. The student will examine data concerning one of the most important ancient cities in Mesopotamia and increase the interconnections among that data. In the process they will conduct their own mini-research project on some aspect of the ancient city.
The Ur Project is digitizing and making available all records from the 1922-1934 Penn Museum and British Museum excavations of the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq. The project has released a beta website at www.ur-online.org but there is much work still to be done in adding archaeological and archival information as well as improving existing information through quality control. The intern will work closely with the project manager to examine records, artifacts, images and architectural plans with a focus on increasing the connections among these data--such as searching for all artifacts found in one house or for all mentions of one building in letters and reports. In addition, the intern will take on a small-scale research project in order to utilize and test the website and its data.
The intern should first and foremost be interested in the history and archaeology of the near and middle east. Much of the work will be computer oriented, entering and editing data and creating tags for imagery and document scans to connect them with other data. The intern will design their own small research project with assistance from the project manager. It may be either historical/archives or archaeological/artifacts, but will work primarily with the digital data collected on Ur. The intern will be expected to write up and present the results of this research at the end of the internship.
† If all SHIP positions are not filled, this internship will be opened to non-Penn applicants.
How to apply
All applications must be submitted by January 30, 2016. Prior to completing the online application form, you should prepare the following:
- A 400 word maximum essay describing how your skills, interests, and experiences relate to the department (or departments) to which you are applying;
- A resume or curriculum vitae;
- Academic transcripts
All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by January 30, 2016. Interns are assigned to a department based on their academic background, professional skills, interests, and career goals. Finalists may be contacted for interviews in person or by telephone, and accepted SHIP applicants will be notified by March 7, all other applicants will be notified in April 2016.
More information about completing the Intro to Museum Practice Program
- Orientation Monday, June 6th
- June 8th, 2016 – August 3rd
- 8 lectures about the Penn Museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, research, and methodologies
- 4 discussions on topics relevant to Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage
- 1 Field Trip to an area museum
- 1 Career Panel with Museum curators and staff
- 1 blog entry on the Penn Museum blog
- Presentation of your work at the end of the program
Student Exhibition Internships
The Penn Museum offers a paid undergraduate internship for three interns from the University of Pennsylvania who will work with museum staff to create a small exhibition. Interns will learn first-hand about the curatorial, content development, administrative, and design aspects of staging an exhibition in a large museum. The year-long internship focuses on the planning, development, design, fabrication and installation of a small exhibition featured in the Penn Museum. After the exhibition’s opening, students will implement educational programs and events for the museum's public and academic audiences.
Student Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers help make the Penn Museum and its programs a success! Volunteer positions at the Museum vary from working in one of the 11 collections areas to helping with craft activities during public programs to promoting the Penn Museum at community events.
Penn Museum has a number of work study positions available to students who qualify. For work-study opportunities, visit Penn's Student Employment Office for more information.
Academic Engagement Department