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Student Exhibition Internship

Application Deadline Passed
Stripes of color containing different objects.

The Penn Museum offers a paid internship for three Penn undergraduates to create a small exhibition with Museum staff.

The year-long internship focuses on the planning, development, design, fabrication, and installation of a small exhibition featured in the Penn Museum. Interns will learn first-hand about the curatorial, content development, administrative, and design aspects of staging an exhibition in a large museum. After the exhibition’s opening, students will implement educational programs and events for the Museum’s public and academic audiences.

Egyptian blue. Royal purple. Ochre red.

From the very first cave paintings, humans have used colors derived from nature to illuminate real and imagined worlds.

The 2024–25 Student Exhibition will explore how colors are sourced, created, used, and made meaningful through the rainbow of the Penn Museum Collections.

Prepare the following and submit:

  • A 500-word essay describing the skills, abilities, and experiences that you bring to the Penn Museum, with specific reference to the exhibition theme
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • A letter of recommendation from a University of Pennsylvania professor who can speak to your qualifications for this internship

Apply Here

Undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, in good academic standing, preferably with some experience in archaeology, history, anthropology, art history, or other fields that explore issues related to the exhibition topic, are welcome to apply. Interns are selected based on their academic background, research and writing skills, and ability to collaborate with peers and Museum departments.

Candidates should be enthusiastic, organized, self-motivated, and able to work both individually and collaboratively as part of a diverse team. Successful candidates will have experience conducting research and should be able to work on a variety of tasks as priorities require, demonstrate excellent communication and writing skills, and be extremely detail oriented. Candidates must be able to interact in a professional manner with Museum visitors, patrons and supporters, researchers, and other staff.

The Student Exhibition Internship Program takes place over the course of the academic year and the exhibition opens in March.

The internship requires an average of five hours per week, including two hours of curatorial and exhibition meetings. Interns are expected to conduct research, select objects, and write exhibition text outside of these meetings.

After candidates are selected, interns will meet with Penn Museum staff and the academic advisor to discuss the program and exhibition theme. Over the summer, interns are expected to read and respond to a small number of selected readings related to the exhibition theme to prepare for curatorial research beginning in the Fall semester.

Over the course of the academic year, interns will meet weekly as a curatorial team and with the Exhibitions Department of the Penn Museum to plan, develop, design, and fabricate the exhibition, as well as design and implement programming related to the exhibition. Interns will work closely with the curatorial team, the Exhibitions Department, collections staff, and conservators. In the Fall semester, interns will develop the exhibition theme, select and research objects, and write exhibition text. In the Spring semester, interns will focus on the design and fabrication of the exhibition, as well as creating and implementing programming related to the exhibition for the Museum’s public and academic audiences.

The Student Exhibition Internship Program is a paid opportunity. Interns are awarded a stipend of $1,400 ($700 per semester).

2023-2024 Student Exhibition
Student curators examining an artifact.

Looking to the Stars, Listening to the Earth

A Song Dynasty Tomb

What does the archaeological evidence tell us about life and death in Song Dynasty China?

View Exhibit