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Student Exhibition Internship

Application Deadline: April 17, 2023 at 9:00 am

The Penn Museum offers paid internships to three undergraduate students at Penn to work with Museum staff and create a small exhibition. 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.

Song Dynasty Tomb

Unglazed, standing Daoist figure. He wears a head mantle fastened with three bands, and holds a long staff.
Unglazed standing Daoist figure with beard, possible 土地公 the Earth king.
Unglazed, standing female figure dressed in tunic and trousers. More crudely made than other in the set.

Among the most interesting and beautiful objects in the Museum’s Chinese collection are the objects from a Song dynasty tomb, including two tall ‘spirit jars’ (hunping 魂瓶), over thirty figurines, and several porcelain dishes. This tomb set is the earliest and most complete of its type and provides a window into the Buddhist and folk-religious practices of southern China nearly a thousand years ago.

How to apply

Submit the following to Sarah Linn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by April 17, 2023

  • A cover letter (1-2 pages) 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


Undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and in good academic standing are welcome to apply.


University of Pennsylvania undergraduates, preferably with some experience in archaeology, history, anthropology, art history, or other fields that explore issues related to heritage. 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.

Financial Support

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


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

Timeline and Program Description

The Student Exhibition Internship Program takes place over the course of the academic year and the exhibition opens in March of 2024.

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.

Previous Student Exhibitions

Student Exhibition Blog Posts


Academic Engagement Department