Jobs and Opportunities

Executive Director of Galleries

Reporting to the Williams Director of the Penn Museum, the Executive Director of Galleries is a key member of the Museum’s senior management team and is responsible for the Museum’s new initiative for a major reinstallation of its world-renowned archaeological permanent galleries. As one of three major areas of focus in its new strategic plan, the Museum is embarking on a multi-year reinstallation project that will be the most comprehensive renovation of its permanent galleries since the Museum’s founding over 125 years ago. The position is directly responsible for the implementation of this ambitious agenda, setting the academic and aesthetic standards for both temporary and permanent installations, creating short and long-term departmental goals and, in consultation with the Director, acting as the primary voice with an external design constituency from project conception to completion. The position also develops and implements a cohesive overall visual and narrative presentation of the Penn Museum’s collections embracing the high academic standards set by the University. This is a five-year renewable term position.

Help to develop and compose requests for proposals for a major renovation and reinstallation of the Museum galleries and their infrastructure presenting the preliminary project requirements and the short and long-term goals for reinstallation. Ensure that the benchmarks set in the RFPs are met throughout the project. Administer the bidding process associated with gallery deinstallation and reinstallation and review and critique proposals for discussion with Senior Management Team. Participate in the selection process for the renovation architectural team, as well as oversee the selection of the gallery design teams and negotiate terms of contracts with selected design firms. Oversee all reinstallation design development meetings, make critical decisions concerning overall plan of galleries including but not limited to specific gallery layout, overall lighting scheme, permanent and temporary casework, and gallery graphic presentation. Communicate these aesthetic and overall layout decisions to a broad constituency. Ensure that the desired aesthetic principles are rigorously and consistently adhered to throughout the entire design process. Create staffing plan for five-year project period; hire, train, and manage staff. Ensure that a schedule is developed that reflects the overall mission of the Penn Museum, highlighting its world renowned collection as well as the research that is being conducted by its curatorial groups. Ensure that the aesthetic and narrative standards of these exhibition projects align with the overall standards of the gallery renovations. Develop an overall narrative approach for each individual collection to be reinstalled that utilizes the rich holdings of the collection, archival material and semi-permanent or long-term loans from institutions with objects from the same excavated sites. Develop audio, digital and video complements where appropriate for new galleries. Help to develop and monitor an overall project budget and timeline.

Qualifications PhD in an ancient field, preferably ancient art, is a requisite. Minimum of 5-7 years’ experience at a museum or cultural institution working in exhibition design and installation and with managing a reporting staff. Excellent diplomatic and negotiating skills; ability to work with a broad and diverse constituency ranging from designers, to curators, as well as individual and institutional donors. This is a five-year renewable term position.

Applicants must apply through the Jobs@Penn website. The job posting can be found here. No phone calls will be accepted for the position.

Posted February 20, 2014

Mechanical Supervisor

Reporting to the Director of Building Operations, the Supervisor will help to monitor all mechanical and life safety systems (HVAC), help supervise outside contractors and vendors, assist with costing of projects and contracts, help to maintain a high quality of building operations standards, including assisting with the supervision of housekeeping and facilities staff at the Museum, maintaining oversight of contractors for projects within the building, and obtaining and assessing bids from and arranging scheduling for such contractors. The Supervisor will help to maintain a clean, safe and well-functioning museum environment, collaborating with housekeeping, facilities, and security as well as other Museum departments including visitor services, rentals, events, exhibits, and others. Housekeeping staff will be managed in conjunction with visitor services. Working with Building Operations Director, Supervisors, and the Building Operations Financial Administrative Coordinator, handle supplies purchasing as needed, assist with scheduling and payroll for Building Operations staff, interact with union representatives as needed, work with security supervisors to ensure smooth running of facilities. Assist with monitoring and maintenance of HVAC and other building systems. Respond to pressing maintenance issues (leaks, elevator issues, spills, etc.) report status and progress to appropriate Museum departments. The Supervisor will assist with event setups and supervision, will keep an inventory of supplies and tools, help to schedule and supervise housekeepers, and will do regular walkthroughs of the building to ensure cleanliness and functionality, perform or assist with repairs and maintenance, and develop and maintain a collaborate team environment between the housekeeping staff, the building operations staff, and various Museum departments, clients and visitors. Perform additional duties as assigned. This position is considered essential personnel.

Qualifications High School Diploma or GED and 5 to 7 years of relevant experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience is required. The ability to lift 50 pounds utilizing the proper techniques and perform other tasks as needed. The ability to be flexible to work all three shifts and weekends as may be assigned due to Museum rentals and events as well as emergencies.

Applicants must apply through the Jobs@Penn website. The job posting can be found here. No phone calls will be accepted for the position.

Posted April 8, 2014

Administrative Assistant

Reporting to the Director of Learning Programs, the Administrative Assistant acts primarily as the group visit coordinator for visiting K-12 groups, as well as the primary assistant for the Director of Learning Programs. Essential duties include, but are not limited to: (1) scheduling all K-12 group visits including those with the Museum’s educational programming and self-guided visits; (2) greeting K-12 groups upon arrival, handling payment and coordinating the day’s logistics; (3) providing administrative support to the Director of Learning Programs; (4) providing general clerical assistance for the Department of Learning Programs and maintaining the master program calendar; (5) acting as the departmental contact for the Altru database and maintaining exceptional proficiency with the system for Group Sales purposes; and (6) when time permits, learning and teaching the Museum’s programs as well as assisting with their set up and break down.

Qualifications High School diploma required, BA/BS preferred plus two to three years of experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Must be organized, detail-oriented, and have excellent customer service skills. Background in an educational or museum setting helpful. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required. Ability to work well under pressure. Computer literate with high proficiency in MS Office desired. Some evening and weekend work may occasionally be required. Ability to lift up to 25 lbs.

Applicants must apply through the Jobs@Penn website. The job posting can be found here. No phone calls will be accepted for the position.

Posted April 9, 2014

For those interested in volunteering at the Penn Museum, please visit our Volunteer page.




Volunteer at the Penn Museum


Since 1887, the Museum has depended on volunteer help for many of its projects and much of its development. Today, more than 200 volunteers participate regularly, making important contributions to the Museum. Some volunteers come in daily, and many have served for 20 or more years!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Penn Museum, please review the volunteer opportunities listed below and then submit an application. For most volunteer positions the only requirement is an interest in archaeology, anthropology, and world cultures, a love of learning, and a willingness to make a regular time commitment, usually two to four hours, one or two days per week.

Volunteer Benefits
Volunteers may request VIP parking passes. They receive a 10% discount on purchases made in the Museum's shops and cafe. Volunteers are also encouraged to join the Museum as members, and new volunteers recieve a 10% discount on individual or family memberships.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Cartifacts Volunteer

Description: Cartifacts is an informal, in-gallery public program that provides hands-on experiences for Penn Museum visitors of all ages. Cartifact Volunteers set up displays of five to ten touchable artifacts at carts located in the Museum’s galleries and explain the function and history of each object. Each cart is focused on a gallery theme. Cartifact Volunteers engage visitors in short-term discussions utilizing open-ended questions.

Required Training: Volunteers will be interviewed and introduced to all available carts. Volunteers will study the training manual of the cart of his/her choice for up to two weeks. After two weeks, Cartifact Volunteers will be tested on their familiarity with the objects and their ability to facilitate discussions with visitors about the material.

Qualifications: This volunteer opportunity is open to mature high school students and adults. An ideal Cartifact Volunteer demonstrates good listening and conversational skills, has enthusiasm for the material, and has knowledge of the Penn Museum’s collections and floor plan.

Requirements: Commitment for at least one day a week is preferred, but not a requirement. Cartifact Volunteers may schedule themselves to work for any hours during the following times: Tuesday-Friday, 12pm-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm; or special evening events.

Conservation Volunteer - Pre-Program Intern

Description: The Museum’s Conservation Lab occasionally accepts Pre-Program Volunteer Interns who are specifically interested in pursuing a career in conservation and need to build experience before applying to graduate school. Interns will be supervised in carrying out a variety of basic conservation and preventive conservation tasks. Because such internships require a considerable time commitment on the part of Conservation Department staff we will be quite selective in accepting interns.

Required Training:

  • Preference will be given to those with previous conservation experience
  • Previous experience handling artifacts in a Museum setting
  • A background in chemistry, fine arts or art history, or archaeology is preferred


  • Basic hand skills and manual dexterity
  • A strong interest in pursuing conservation as a career
  • Patience with repetitive tasks
  • Willingness to work in sometimes challenging environments
  • Experience with digital photography and preferably familiarity with image editing software such as Adobe Creative Suite

Requirements: Candidates must be available for at least one full day (10 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday) each week for at least a six-week period. Experience has shown that shorter commitments do not benefit the intern and are too demanding for our staff. 

Oceanian Section Volunteer

Description: The Oceanian Section of the Penn Museum houses over 22,000 objects from the Pacific islands (Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia), Australia, and Insular Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines). The Museum has made its collections available on the Web, but a relatively small number of the Oceanian objects have images, and catalog information is often incomplete. The Oceanian Section is looking for a qualified volunteer to photograph objects, edit images, add them to the Museum’s collections database, and help improve the object records which, along with the images, are an important component of the Museum’s presence on the Web.  

Required Training: Training will be provided on the Museum’s collections database (KE EMu) and in safe object handling practices.

Qualifications: It is desirable that candidates be comfortable using a digital SLR camera (Olympus E-550) and, ideally, have experience photographing three-dimensional objects. A photographer will be available for consultation.

Requirements: A time commitment of at least four hours per week is desirable, and because of the supervisor’s schedule they must occur Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 10 am and 4 pm. The position is available immediately for the rest of the Spring term, and will be open again in the Summer of 2014.

Special Events Volunteer

Description: The Museum sponsors a wide variety of special events for members and the public on weekends and in the evening. Special Events Volunteers help with many aspects of special events including set-up, check-in, helping at kids’ craft tables, and more.

Required Training: None


  • Able to communicate and work comfortably with the public, including small children and adults
  • Ability to walk and stand for long periods of time
  • Responsible and punctual

Requirements: None

Volunteer Guide (Docent)

Description: Volunteer Guides (Docents) offer gallery tours and facilitate in-gallery experiences for school and adult groups, Tuesday through Friday, with occasional weekend tours for the public. Although it is helpful to have expertise in a particular culture or historic period, it is more important to be enthusiastic about sharing the Museum's galleries with visitors and getting them engaged with the objects on display.

Required Training: Training to lead a gallery tour takes between six to twelve months, depending on the amount of time a volunteer is available. Training includes lectures by Museum Staff and Researchers on the Museum’s collection and its history. Trainees will also learn best practices to successfully engage audiences from K-12 to adults. Trainees select an exhibition gallery on which to focus, and work with docents experienced in that area, as well as Museum Learning Programs Staff to develop a tour of that gallery. Once the Senior Guide passes them on content, their tour is evaluated by Museum Learning Programs Staff to ensure that proper engagement practices are present, particularly with school students.


  • Able to communicate and work comfortably with the public and K-12 students
  • Desire and ability to conduct independent research on the tour’s subject area
  • Responsible and punctual for scheduled tours


  • Availability to give at least one tour per week during the academic year (September-June)
  • Attendance at monthly meetings scheduled on Mondays
  • Participation in ongoing continuing education programs throughout the year

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(215) 898-4050


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University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology | Penn Logo
3260 South Street | Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 898-4000 | Contacts

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