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Summer Internship Program

Application Deadline: Friday, February 7th, 2020

The Penn Museum offers paid and unpaid summer internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates from any college or university. Please see below for more information about eligibility for funding. The internship is made up of two parts: interns are placed in a Museum department and work on a project under a departmental supervisor; each week interns come together for the Museum Practice Program overseen organized by the Summer Internship coordinator. The program includes orientation, weekly lectures, collections tours, a field trip to a local museum, and final presentations. The Penn Museum strongly encourages applications from students who are members of groups underrepresented in careers related to museums

group shot of the 2019 summer interns

How to Apply

Prior to completing the online application form, you should prepare the following

  • A 500-word maximum essay describing how your skills, interests, and experiences relate to the department (or departments) to which you are applying
  • A cover letter*
  • A resume or curriculum vitae*
  • Transcripts (unofficial are preferred)*
  • 2 letters 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

* Please follow these file naming conventions: last name, first name_document type. Example: “Lastname, Firstname_cover letter.pdf”

Interns are offered an internship in 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 interns will be notified mid-March 2020.


Arts Intern

Founded by Agnes Gund in 1999, Arts Intern provides opportunities for college undergraduates to learn about nonprofit arts professions through paid internships in museums and cultural institutions. The program seeks candidates with demonstrated financial need and encourages applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds. The Penn Museum is applying to host summer 2020 internship positions through the Arts Intern program. Please check the Arts Intern website for eligibility and opportunities. Arts Intern 2020 positions will be posted in January.

Penn Summer Humanities Internship (SHIP)

Each year the College of Arts and Sciences and Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships at Penn fund approximately twenty-five summer research internships for Penn undergraduates as part of a summer institute for University of Pennsylvania students in the humanities and social sciences. The Penn Museum will host 2 paid SHIP positions in summer 2020; eligible Penn students should complete both the Penn Museum internship application and the SHIP application. Paid SHIP interns are required to complete 300 hours for a stipend of $4,500. Students will participate in the Museum’s Summer Internship Program which runs for 9 weeks from the first week of June through the last week of July, which count toward SHIP completion hours. Please check the SHIP website for more details. Applicants who are eligible for a SHIP stipend may apply for any of the listed positions and should select the “SHIP” box when filling out the online application form.

Diversity Stipend

Recognizing the need to increase diversity in museums and provide career-enhancing opportunities for students from demographics under-represented in the museum field, the Penn Museum will provide stipends to support the participation of minority students in its summer internships. Applicants must be undergraduates enrolled in a full-time course of study (or graduating spring 2020); applications are not restricted to Penn students. Interns will be provided with a stipend, transportation, and housing. Students will participate in the Museum’s Summer Internship Program which runs for 9 weeks between June 1 and July 31, which count toward internship hours. Interns are expected to complete 300 hours (35 hours/week) for a stipend of $4,500 ($15/hr). Applicants who are eligible for a Diversity Stipend may apply for any of the listed positions and should select the “Diversity Stipend” box when filling out the online application form. All students are welcome to apply for a Diversity Stipend, though applications are particularly encouraged from African-Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, and other under­represented minorities (URMs).

The following criteria are weighed in selecting students for a Diversity Stipend

  • Interest in pursuing a museum career or academic career (interest in collections, conservation, registration, and curation will be weighted higher)
  • Race and ethnicity, in relation to their underrepresentation in museums
  • Demonstrated commitment to the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion in museums. Examples of such commitment might include serious undergraduate research into racial disparities in museums; working on arts or cultural organization projects to increase diverse community engagement with museums; service or leadership activities in campus or off-campus cultural organizations. Please include an explanation of your commitment in your application essay.
  • Status as a U.S. citizen or international student with visa authorization to work for off campus employment (if a non-Penn student)

Additional Financial Support

Applicants are encouraged to inquire with their home universities about summer internship funding opportunities or with granting organizations. Graduate student members of the AIA in the field of archaeology may be eligible for funding through the Elizabeth Bartman Museum Internship scholarship.

*Students receiving academic credit for their internship are not eligible to be paid.

Academic Credit

The Penn Museum welcomes the opportunity to work cooperatively with schools seeking to grant academic credit for internships. Applicants are encouraged to initiate arrangements for credit with their colleges or universities. The Penn Museum does not grant academic credit.


Enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates from any college or university are eligible to apply for unpaid internships. Unpaid internships have a minimum of 150 hours and a maximum of 300 hours. High-school students are not eligible, and instead should apply to the Teen Summer Internship program. For funded opportunities, please see the eligibility requirements.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes, we accept applications from international students enrolled in degree-granting programs. The Penn Museum will work with you on a visa, if necessary, after you are accepted into the program. International students are also eligible for funding if their visa allows it; to be paid by the Penn Museum, non-Penn students will need CPT or OPT authorization in order to work and be paid. Please check your visa and with your International Student office to confirm that you can accept payment from the Penn Museum before applying for funding.


Academic Engagement
The Academic Engagement department supports instructional use of the Penn Museum’s galleries and collections for university-level classes, student research on the collections, and extra-curricular programming for the Penn university audience. Internships in this department range from collections work with objects used for course objectives and student research, to research and writing on the Museum's own projects and programs, to marketing and event planning for the Penn student audience. Projects vary based on intern skills and interests, from collections work (object handling, photography, and collections database use), to archival research and writing about museum expeditions and research projects, or even class and event planning for an upcoming exhibition about clothing and identity, which will open fall 2020.
The Penn Museum’s Conservation Department is tasked with the long-term preservation and conservation of the Museum’s object collections. The Department’s regular duties include review, treatment, and setting exhibition parameters and travel requirements for all objects going on exhibition or out on loan, working with Collections staff to provide the best possible environment for the long-term preservation of collections in storage, and providing conservation consultation for Museum staff, researchers, students, and the general public. The Department also manages and staffs the public conservation lab “The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action” and is currently working on several major gallery reinstallation projects, including reviewing, documenting, and treating objects for the Mexico and Central American Gallery, the Africa Gallery, and the Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries. A summer internship in the Conservation Department will include opportunities to work on projects and tasks typically offered to conservation pre-program interns, as a chance to learn more about the education and training that is required to become a professional conservator. Projects may include assisting with gallery maintenance, re-housing artifacts for storage, examining and documenting artifacts in the collection, and interacting with the public in the Artifact Lab. Knowledge of the conservation field, experience working in museum collections, and/or coursework in fine arts, archaeology, anthropology, chemistry, and other sciences is a plus but not required. This internship is well-suited for applicants with high attention to detail, excellent organizational skills, and the ability to work independently.
Summer Camp
Anthropologists in the Making, Penn Museum’s summer day camp is designed for children ages 7-13, and has been in operation for over 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, art activities, games, and special guest performances, campers discover the diversity of humankind, past and present. Summer Camp Interns 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 the camp’s Showcase preparations. The Intern will research, design, and lead art-making activities and act as a mentor to camp participants. She/he will communicate with parents and enforce camper pick-up protocol at the camp’s sign-out table. 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 15-August 14 from 11am-5pm (note: this internship does not fully coincide with the Intro to Museum Practice program).
Public Engagement
The Office of Public Engagement develops a wide range of programs for all audiences throughout the year, the intern will assistant with the planning and implementation of these programs. Interns wills be supervised by Associate Director of Public Programs, Tena Thomason. Interns will assist with the summer program “PM Summer Nights” which are held every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm. A successful applicant will have customer service skills and be willing to work with visitors of all ages. Internship hours are flexible but must include Wednesday evenings from 4:00pm-8:00pm.
The Penn Museum collections span 11 curatorial sections representing a vast array of material culture from around the world. Projects vary from section to section and year to year, but in general, interns working with collections learn basic collections management skills such as object handling, cataloguing, photography, and collections database use. Collections research projects are assigned on a case-by-case basis, depending upon applicant skill sets and interests, such as language proficiency, area studies, material studies, and photography, etc. These projects are well suited for interns with a high attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and the ability to work alone or in a pair. These positions may require physical effort such as standing, kneeling, lifting, and climbing ladders.
NAGPRA (Repatriation Office)
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.
Cultural Heritage Center
The Penn Cultural Heritage Center is working on a research project about cultural heritage destruction during conflict and political violence. Although recent examples of cultural heritage destruction are notorious—the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001, the Timbuktu mausoleums in 2012, the ancient city of Palmyra in 2015, to name only a few—we lack a fundamental understanding about why cultural heritage is targeted. To address this pressing social concern, the University of Pennsylvania Museum's Penn Cultural Heritage Center is seeking interns to collect, analyze, and code reported instances of cultural destruction. This internship is open to anyone, but those with knowledge of Arabic, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, or Slovenian are especially encouraged to apply.
Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary
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 here, but this will be superseded by a new version 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.
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. Interns 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. Interns 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. A successful applicant has 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.
The Exhibitions department is divided into three sections: interpretive planning, exhibition design, and exhibition preparation. An interpretive planning intern will assist in researching and organizing upcoming exhibitions, including the development of timelines and checklists; produces exhibition text panels and labels; closely collaborates with curators, scholars, researchers, designers, and preparators as exhibition ideas become realized. Interns in the exhibition design will be exposed to and assist with the design of 2D and 3D exhibition elements, including case design, display, and fabrication. Exhibition preparation interns aid in the planning and fabrication of exhibition architectural elements and multimedia. All interns will be involved with gallery maintenance, exhibition installation and de-installations, and aspects of the fabrication process. Applicants should be ready to think creatively and be prepared for a hands-on experience. The internship offers the opportunity to become involved with the day-to-day running of various exhibition departments and to gain a practical working knowledge of creating exhibitions within an internationally renowned museum. Duties vary per internship, needs of individual departments and projects. A successful candidate will have excellent written and verbal communication skills with administrative and organization abilities; solid computer skills with Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Docs, and design program (Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign) experience desirable.
Group Sales
The Penn Museum’s Group Sales Department seeks an intern to work directly with the Group Sales Manager on data collection and research that will help determine group sales strategy. Projects will include creating marketing and pre-visit materials for college groups, managing a database of prospective customers in accordance with sales and marketing efforts, research specific group customer segments, assist with promotional campaigns, and develop innovative strategies to reach targeted museum visitors. Group Sales frequently interfaces with other departments within the museum such as the Learning and Public Engagement department, Facility Rentals department, and Academic Engagement department; therefore, an ability to work both independently as well as in a team setting is crucial. Ideal candidates would have a background in marketing and sales, comfortability using databases, and an interest in hospitality. They should have excellent organizational and communication skills and possess the ability to think strategically.
Registrar's Office
The Registrar’s Office at the Penn Museum is the central hub for coordinating the Museum’s collections-related activities across the various Curatorial Sections. An intern in the Registrar’s Office will learn about, and participate in, cross-sectional collections activities. These activities include inventorying, integrated pest management, object photography, condition reporting, digitization, and records research, among others. Many of these tasks require attention to detail and organizational skills. This is a unique opportunity for someone who is interested in learning about the day-to-day duties of the Registrar’s Office.
Learning & Public Engagement
The Penn Museum’s Learning & Public Engagement 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.
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; assistance for summer programming and events; database maintenance and clean up; and Membership research and reporting. 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.
Marketing & Communications Department
The Marketing and Communications Department works to raise awareness of the Penn Museum, and to promote its exhibitions, special events, research, scholarship, and other endeavors. An intern in our department will assist with social media, photography, and other duties related to promoting the Museum, its exhibitions, and programs. We are seeking an energetic, organized individual with excellent writing skills who wishes to build on their résumé, and to gain hands-on experience working at a non-profit cultural institution.
Primary duties include
  • Creation of new photos (focusing on special events, galleries, visitors; special projects as needed and occasional (infrequent) evening and weekend assignments required)
  • Editing and organization of existing photo assets
  • Copy editing and proofreading
  • Strategic promotion of special events
  • Contribution to the Museum’s social media output (e.g. writing copy for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; brainstorming ideas for upcoming content; organizing and contributing to short- and long-term content calendars; identifying appropriate tie-ins between trending topics and Museum objects or initiatives; creating content for the Penn Museum blog)
  • Research on potential cross-promotional partners and outreach to those partners; and other research projects and duties as assigned.
Visitor Services
The Penn Museum's Visitor Services Department constantly strives to create a welcoming atmosphere and an enjoyable experience to all visitors coming to the Museum. The Department works to provide our guests with the information, resources and services necessary for them to gain the most from their time in the building. Visitor Services supervises the welcome desk operations, Museum admissions, Museum parking, and continuously seeks new and inventive ways to provide the best visitor experience possible. Interns in Visitor Services will gain a thorough knowledge of what it takes to provide an outstanding guest experience. In addition to working directly with the Museum's guests, interns will assist with the collection, processing and analysis of visitor data and create drafts of Museum gardens self-guided brochures. Interns whose first language is not English may also assist with the creation of a foreign language Museum Map. Ideal candidates will be comfortable in engaging and working with a wide variety of people. Successful interns will have excellent organizational and communication skills and the ability to work independently, as well as in team settings. Applicants must be available to work weekend days during the internship time.


Academic Engagement Department