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.
Year of Data
How do archaeologists know what we know?
How old is it? Where was it made? Who used it? What more can we learn?
These are the kinds of questions that archaeologists ask about the objects we find. The answers help us to more deeply understand the past, and to ask new questions. The 2019-2020 Student Exhibition Internship will draw from the Penn Museum’s extensive archival, ethnographic and archaeological collections from the Solomon Islands, off the eastern coast of Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. The Museum holds nearly 1500 objects from the Solomon Islands, as well as extensive excavation records from the 1969 excavations, including correspondence, field notebooks, plans and sections, and photographs, preserved in Museum Archives. Using these sources, the internship program will apply archaeological science methods to uncover new data and present their findings to the Penn Museum’s audiences.
Application Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2019
How to apply
- 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
Finalists may be contacted for interviews in person or by telephone, and accepted interns will be notified in April 2019.
Undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and in good academic standing 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.
Interns will ideally have some experience in anthropology, art history, history, philosophy, or other disciplines that explore the relationships between materiality and human experience. 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 be extremely detail-oriented; able to work on a variety of tasks as priorities require; and demonstrate excellent communication and writing skills. 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 is a paid opportunity. Interns are awarded a stipend of $1400 ($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 will open in March of 2020.
After candidates are selected in April of 2019, the interns will meet with Penn Museum staff and the academic advisor to discuss the program and the exhibition theme. Over the summer, interns are expected to read and respond to selected readings related to the exhibition theme, in order to prepare for curatorial research beginning in the Fall semester of 2019.
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.
Currently On Display
Previous Student Exhibitions
- Corn: From Ancient Crop to Soda Pop (2015)
- Kourion at the Crossroads: Exploring Ancient Cyprus (2016)
- Object Speak: Media Through Time (2017)
- And So the Story Goes...Innovations in Storytelling (2018)
Student Exhibition Blog Posts