40 Winks with the Sphinx Sleepover Program at the Penn Museum

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.

Academic Year Internship Program

WhoUniversity of Pennsylvania sophomores and juniors who are interested in archaeology, ancient history, or museums.
WhatA year-long, two-part internship program that exposes you to the different kinds of work being done at the Penn Museum, and gives you the tools to conduct your own research project on an object in the collection.
WhenFall seminars on Monday afternoons from 3:30-5:00.
WhereThe Penn Museum’s world-renowned galleries, collections, archives, and laboratories.
WhyThe Penn Museum wants to increase the breadth and depth of student research and training within the Museum, expose students to museum practice, and provide them with the tools to conduct independent, senior-level research in the collections. If you are interested in what objects tell us about the lives of people across the globe and throughout time, and you are considering a senior thesis or other capstone project, this is the internship for you!
How Interested applicants should submit the following to Anne Tiballi, Curricular Facilitator, by Monday, May 16th:
  • A 400 word maximum essay describing how the Academic Year Internship Program would further your academic goals at Penn and beyond;
  • Copy of academic transcript;
  • Current resume or CV;
  • A letter of recommendation from a Penn professor, addressing your qualifications for this internship, sent separately via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the applicants full name in the subject line;

Full Description of the Academic Year Internship Program

Successful applicants will be notified via email by July 1st.

Penn Museum Fellows

The Penn Museum Fellows program is a new initiative that aims to support and promote advanced undergraduate research at the museum. Over the course of the academic year, the fellows will work with museum curators, staff, or associated faculty on a significant project in the collections, laboratories, or galleries. In support of this research, students will receive a stipend, as well as access to necessary collections, labs, and archival materials. Penn Museum Fellows will meet regularly as a group and will gain experience presenting their research both within the museum, via blog posts or at museum events, and on campus at undergraduate conferences and poster sessions. The Penn Museum Fellows program is an excellent opportunity for the completion of a senior thesis or other capstone academic experience.

“This past summer I excavated at the Smith Creek in Mississippi with Dr. Megan Kassabaum and I have spent this semester working on the paleobotanical remains from the site, which has just been synthesized in my senior honors thesis, Ritual and Subsistence: Paleobotany at the Smith Creek Site (22Wk526). In doing this work I have extensively utilized many of the museum's resources including support of the Penn Museum Fellows and the facilities in the CAAM laboratories. As a Penn Museum Fellow I have been exposed to advice from mentors and support from peers. Having a structure in place to support me has been invaluable as I peruse my own research. I hope to take these new skills with me to graduate school, where I plan to focus on paleobotany and archaeology.”

Ally Mitchem, College ’16 (Anthropology with a Linguistics minor)

“As a Fellow, I have worked to complete my senior thesis and create an archival museum exhibit. Both of these projects look closely at archival materials concerning early archeology in ancient Sumer. My thesis examined how the division of finds between countries effected archaeological processes in the early 20th century, looking at the Joint Expedition to Ur of the Chaldees as a case study. My exhibit explores the many faces, stories, and legacies of the work at Ur and Nippur through eyes of those who pioneered these projects. I am senior in the college majoring in Classical Studies with a concentration in Mediterranean Archaeology. Next year I plan on attending the University of Virginia Law School.”

Kamillia Scott, College ’16 (Classics)

“As a Penn Museum Fellow, I have been privileged to work on a subsidiary project relating to the reinstallation of the Middle Eastern Galleries. For my project, titled In Their Own Words, I have compiled a repository of excerpts from Sumerian literature in translation. Some of these quotes will be selected and incorporated into the reinstalled galleries. Not only will these quotes supplement the museum’s stunning artifacts, but they will lend the voices of ancient Near Eastern peoples to the themes of galleries. By including them, we allow the ancient Sumerians themselves to describe their culture and society to the visitors. As a junior majoring in ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, I have also used my compiled repository to aid my research for classes and presentations. I am also interested in going to graduate school for philology so the importance of writing and how we reconstruct the ancient past from written material lies at the heart of my passion. With a second major in South Asian Studies and a minor in Linguistics, I hope to continue working with ancient texts from across Asia in the future, and, if I can manage it, in their original languages and scripts.”

Julia Chatterjee, College ’17 (NELC)

How to Apply

Nominations for Penn Museum Fellows are accepted from Penn faculty in the spring semester. If you are interested in becoming a Fellow, please talk to your academic advisor or other supervising professor and have them contact Anne Tiballi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details on the nomination process.

Summer Internships

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.


Over the next five years, the Penn Museum will be making significant changes to its permanent galleries, including the execution of new Middle East and Writing galleries, and redesigned and reinstalled Egyptian and Asian galleries, as well as smaller ongoing projects. We welcome undergraduate participation in this transformation through four paid, 300-hour summer internships. Interns will be supervised by a project lead, but will have the opportunity to work with many Museum departments, from Marketing to Collections to Exhibitions to Archives. Applicants should have completed coursework in anthropology, archaeology, or ancient history, and be prepared to work independently and with various project teams across the Museum.
The Intern will work closely with the NAGPRA Coordinator and assist with the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) through guided work and research experiences. NAGPRA, which passed into federal law in 1990, mandates a process for the return of human remains, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to Native Americans. Projects may include working with archaeological, ethnographic, and physical collections, assisting with consultation meetings, assisting with the repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural items, or administrative tasks. In addition, the intern will be introduced to the broader issues related to the fields of museums and anthropology, museum collections management and artifact conservation. This project is well suited for students with interest in the fields of Federal Indian Law, Anthropology, Native American Studies, and Historic Preservation. The intern will be asked to present an overview of their work at the close of the summer.

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.

Academic Engagement

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 Babylonian Section of Penn Museum is home to the electronic Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary (ePSD)--a project dedicated to creating a complete dictionary of the Sumerian language, which was used in ancient Iraq from about 3000 BCE to about 100 BCE. The current online version of the dictionary is available at http://psd.museum.upenn.edu, but this will be superseded by a new version in 2016 which will be part of Oracc, the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus. Oracc forms an umbrella for a number of different online projects dedicated to the cuneiform world. The intern will contribute to the natural language processing of the corpus of cuneiform texts. A successful candidate will have some experience of linguistics (at least an introductory linguistics class; an interest in semantics preferable) and who are well-organized, strongly motivated and comfortable working with computers. While some knowledge of Sumerian or Akkadian would be useful, it is neither expected nor necessary.
Development interns will assist with prospect research in support of the Museum’s major gift efforts, while also gaining some experience in the areas of membership, special events, prospect management, and more. The position will include training in Altru, Blackbaud’s latest state-of-the-art industry software, as well as opportunities to assist in the development of new donor programs and funding sources. In addition to learning the daily operations of a development office, the summer intern has the potential to make major contributions to a number of special projects. Possible special projects include: identification, screening, and research of potential donors for the Penn Museum’s major gallery renovation plans; PM @ Penn Museum summer programming and events; database maintenance and clean up; and Membership program surveys. The summer intern should be an enthusiastic learner, but does not need experience in archaeology or anthropology. A successful candidate will possess strong research and writing skills; experience with, or interest in learning about, databases and data analysis; and the availability to work some evenings and weekends as needed.

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.

*SHIP positions available

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 letter of recommendation from a current or former college professor, academic advisor, or employer who can speak to your qualifications for this internship. The letter must be sent separately via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the applicant’s full name in the subject line;
  • 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

For more information about internship positions and/or the seminar program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

To volunteer, fill out an online application.

Work-study Opportunities

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.

Teen Summer Internships

The Teen Summer Internships are a new opportunity open to current high school students who are interested in the museum profession, archaeology, anthropology, and related fields. The internship is designed to prepare teenagers for their career and educational goals beyond high school. During the internship, time will be split between working closely with a staff supervisor on their on-going projects and learning more about the Penn Museum’s work. Applications will be sent out in early 2016, if you are interested please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Academic Engagement Department

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