Penn Museum logo

Summer Internship Program

June 5th-August 4th, 2023

Application Deadline Has Passed

The Penn Museum offers 300 hour, nine-week paid summer internship opportunities for undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students from any college or university. Internships include two parts: a project-based placement in a museum department and the Museum Practice Program, which includes orientation, weekly lectures, collections tours, and field trips to local museums. The internship concludes with final presentations shared by the interns.

Group photo of the 2022 Summer Interns Cohort in the Museum Archives.

About the Program

Internship Dates: June 5th-August 4th, 2023

Weekly practice program: Wednesdays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

We are currently planning for an in-person summer. Remote work may be possible for some projects.

The Penn Museum strongly encourages applications from students who are members of groups underrepresented in careers related to museums. We particularly encourage applicants from African American, Latinx, Native American, and other underrepresented minorities for positions in collections, conservation, registration, and curation. Frequently cited statistics show that applicants with disabilities, BIPOC candidates, women, and marginalized and/or systemically excluded groups only apply to internships if they feel that they meet 100% of the qualifications. As we work to increase representation in this program and the museum field generally, we encourage you to consider your own strengths and what you might bring to the internship beyond the stated qualifications.

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)*
  • 1 letter 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 emailed by your recommender 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. Letter can be addressed to the “Intern Hiring Committee.”
  • Optional: a statement (100 words maximum) describing skills not otherwise highlighted in your application*

* Please follow these file naming conventions: Last name, First name_document type. Example: “Doe, John_cover letter.pdf”

Finalists will be contacted for interviews. Offers will be made early April 2023.


All Penn Museum summer interns are paid. If you are selected for an internship, you will receive a Penn Museum Intern Stipend or must show that you have received a comparable allocation from an external funder (see below).

Penn Museum Intern Stipend

Interns are paid $15/hour ($4,500 for 300 hours) to cover the costs of living expenses. Interns receiving this stipend will become employees of the University of Pennsylvania and will need to complete an onboarding process before receiving their first paycheck.

Penn Summer Humanities Internship Program (SHIP) Stipend

Penn students in the College of Arts and Sciences may be eligible for funding through the Summer Humanities Internship Program, offered by the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships. Eligible Penn students should complete both the Penn Museum internship application and the SHIP application. Please check the SHIP website for more details. If you are eligible, please select the “I am SHIP eligible” box when filling out your Penn Museum internship application.


Penn and non-Penn students may be eligible for summer work-study through their home institutions. If you have applied for a summer work-study allocation, please select the “I am work-study eligible” box when filling out the Summer Internship Program application.

*Please not that summer work-study is separate from work-study funding received throughout the academic year. You will be asked to provide an award letter from your home institution by May 1.

Other Funding Opportunities

Applicants are encouraged to explore external funding through their home institutions, professional organizations, and other sources. In particular, there are a number of awards that provide opportunities to students from backgrounds underrepresented in anthropology, archaeology, and museum studies. Combining one of these awards with your Penn Museum internship is a great way to strengthen your resume.

Check with career services or undergraduate research office at your home institution for funding opportunities. For example, Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women, including gender non-conforming individuals, who are undergraduate or graduate students in the fields of archaeology and museum studies, may be eligible for the SAA’s Bertha Parker Cody Award for Native American Women. Graduate student members of the AIA in the field of archaeology may be eligible for funding through the Elizabeth Bartman Museum Internship scholarship.

Any external funding for your internship must be equal to or greater than $15/hour. If selected for an internship, you must provide an award letter confirming the amount of your award by May 1, or your stipend will be provided by the Penn Museum.

Travel Assistance

Travel assistance is available for interns who are not local to Philadelphia. Please fill out the request for additional travel funding on the application if you would like to be considered for funding towards the costs of travel to and from Philadelphia at the start and end of your internship.

Academic Credit

The Penn Museum welcomes the opportunity to work cooperatively with schools awarding 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.


  • COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn’s vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.
  • Current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates from any college or university are eligible to apply.
  • Must be either be a U.S. citizen or international student with visa authorization to work for off campus employment (if a non-Penn student).
  • Must be available on Wednesday mornings to attend the weekly Museum Practice Program.
  • High school students are not eligible and instead should apply to the Teen Summer Internship program.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes, we accept applications from international students enrolled in degree-granting programs. Non-Penn international students will need CPT or OPT authorization in order to paid by the University of Pennsylvania.

Academic Engagement

The Academic Engagement department supports Penn faculty and student engagement with the galleries and collections. Internships in this department range from working directly with collections, 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 upcoming exhibitions.


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 will have 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.

Collections (African Section, American Section, and Mediterranean Section)

The Museum’s Collections Division spans 11 curatorial sections representing a vast array of material culture from around the world. The Museum’s varied collections are in active service to the University of Pennsylvania community and researchers from all over the world. An intern working with three different sections (African, American, Mediterranean) will learn collections stewardship and curatorial skills. The intern will have a chance to learn basic collections management skills such as object handling, cataloguing, photography, rehousing, and using the collections database to support exhibitions, academic engagement, repatriation research, loans, and work related to museum policies and assessments. This type of work supports the care and stewardship of the collections, which is at the core of our mission. 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.

Collections & DRAP (Asian Section, Registrar's Office, and Digital Records, Archives, and Publications)

The Museum’s Collections Division consists of the Conservation Department, the Registrar’s Office, and 11 Curatorial Sections. The Collections Division works closely with the Digital Records, Archives, and Publications (DRAP) Department, particularly in relation to the Collections Database, EMu. An intern working with Collections and DRAP will learn about and participate in a variety of collections stewardship activities, such as object handling, condition reporting, processing collections, rehousing collections, and database entry. The goal of this internship includes gaining familiarity and practical experience with Penn Museum collections care practices.

Primary Duties Include

  • Working with a collection of Asian Section archaeological materials from the bronze age site of Ban Chiang, in present-day Thailand, including physically numbering, condition reporting, conducting data entry, and object movement.
  • Processing a batch of objects in the Building Collection, including creating a catalogue record for each object in EMu, physically numbering each object, photographing each object, and bagging/housing each object to prepare for storage.
  • Condition reporting objects in preparation for upcoming loans.
  • Reviewing records to confirm that they meet minimum cataloging requirements, standardizing thesaurus terminology, and helping to clean up legacy data.

Conservation & Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM)


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 is currently working on several major gallery reinstallation projects, including reviewing, documenting, and treating objects for the Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries, as well as material for loans and other projects. A summer internship in the Conservation Department will include opportunities to learn more about the education and training that is required to become a professional conservator, including documenting artifacts in the collection. 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.

Conservation’s main summer project will be rehousing the Museum’s Egyptian papyrus collection, which was the subject of a recent conservation survey. Other rehousing projects are likely, as are opportunities to work on digitizing legacy records.


The Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) is a joint endeavor between the Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). CAAM offers laboratory and classroom facilities, materials, equipment, and expert personnel to teach and mentor Penn students in a range of scientific techniques crucial to archaeologists and other scholars as they seek to interpret the past in an interdisciplinary context that links the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

CAAM is seeking an intern who will mostly work in the Ceramics Laboratory, and who will assist in database entry, research on archaeological, modern, and experimental samples, label thin sections and hand specimens, organize reference and teaching materials (clay, rocks, ceramics), and other assignments. We are looking for an interns interested in archaeological science, with a high attention to detail, and who can work independently.

Cultural Heritage Center

The Penn Cultural Heritage Center is seeking interns to work on oral history transcription and archival projects related to the Tribal Recognition Initiative. Only Federally recognized Indian tribes are permitted to participate in Indian programs such as housing and healthcare. Two laws, one in 1958 and the second in 1964, terminated the legal existence of California’s Indian tribes. Most have now regained their Federal status through litigation or Act of Congress. Twelve tribes have not for a variety of idiosyncratic reasons. As an intern, you will be gathering evidence and analyzing already-collected archival documents that may be used to assist in tribal restoration efforts.


The Exhibitions department is divided into three sections: interpretive planning, exhibition design, and exhibition preparation. The Exhibitions intern may assist in a variety of ways, including subject matter research, exhibit evaluation/visitor surveys, and preparation of exhibition elements or designs. The intern will closely collaborate with curators, scholars, researchers, designers, and preparators as exhibition ideas become realized. All interns may be involved with gallery maintenance, exhibition installation and de-installations, and aspects of the fabrication process as needed. 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 an exhibition department, and to gain a practical working knowledge of creating exhibitions. Duties vary per internship, based on the needs of individual departments and projects. A successful candidate will have excellent written and verbal communication skills with administrative and organizational abilities; solid computer skills with Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Docs, and design program (Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign) experience desirable.

Learning & Community Engagement

Visitor Programming

The Office of Community Engagement develops a wide range of programs for all audiences throughout the year. The intern will assist with the planning and implementation of these programs. Interns will be supervised by Associate Director of Community Engagement Tena Thomason. Interns will assist with PM Summer Nights, which are held every Wednesday in July from 5 to 8 pm. 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 to 9 pm.

Visitor Resource Development

The Office of Learning and Community Engagement intern assists with school offerings, which include tours, workshops, and hands-on activities. We are seeking a creative and proactive intern to help our Learning and Community Engagement team develop a suite of fun and engaging activities for visitors to utilize within the galleries, including scavenger hunts, gallery games, and more, which encourage close looking and personal connections with objects. Candidates should be able to both create the content for these materials and design them to be engaging for visitors of all ages. These materials will be provided to private groups, the general public, and community visitors. Candidates with the ability to translate these materials into other languages is not required but would be a plus.

Marketing & Communications

The Marketing and Communications Department builds overall brand awareness while supporting visitation and audience engagement across exhibitions, Learning and Public Engagement programs, research, scholarship, and many other exciting initiatives at the Penn Museum. The department intern will assist in the execution and logistical operations of communications media and marketing campaigns to help grow and diversify the Museum’s various audiences.

Ideal candidates will have excellent communication and project management skills and experience or familiarity with marketing, social media, and public relations. Proficiency with Microsoft Office and social media platforms preferred, and familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite and content scheduling tools a plus. This role is an excellent fit for someone who wants to gain experience strategically balancing mission and business-based goals for a nonprofit organization, while strengthening inclusive and accessible communications.

Primary Duties Include

  • Supporting strategic promotions to expand awareness and grow Museum visitation and Public Program registration
  • Content contribution and scheduling across the Museum’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn). Creative brainstorming and copywriting for social media campaigns, updating the social media editorial calendar, and engaging social followers.
  • Assisting with media and community outreach.
  • Asset coordination for the Marketing and Communications monthly Analytics dashboard.
  • Asset management of Museum photography, including editing and organization of images, focusing on special events, galleries, visitors, and special projects as needed.
  • Research and outreach related to potential cross-promotional partnerships and other research projects and duties as assigned.
  • Identifying ways to streamline and organize department operations and project management systems
  • Contribute to identifying ways to streamline and organize department operations and project management systems.

Summer Camp

Penn Museum Anthropology Camp is a summer day camp designed for children ages 6-13, and has been in operation for over 20 years. Using the full scope of the Museum’s international collections, campers delight in topics such as mythology, dance, music, art, and customs from both ancient and modern civilizations and cultures. Through gallery tours, art activities, games, and special guest performances, campers learn about the diversity of humankind from the past and to the present. The Summer Camp Intern fosters a fun and positive learning environment by facilitating friendships and teamwork among campers. Reporting to the Assistant Director, Family & Camp Programs, the Summer Camp Intern assists with summer camp activities, including outdoor recreation time and weekly workshops. The Intern will research and lead art-making activities and act as a mentor to camp participants. They will communicate with parents and enforce camper pickup protocol at the camp’s sign-out station. Additionally, the Summer Camp Intern will assist with summer family programming as needed. This includes facilitated art-making activities in museum galleries, cart experiences, and Daily Digs.

An ideal candidate has enthusiasm and experience working with children, preferably in an educational setting; excellent communication, leadership, and teamwork skills; and competence in teaching and administrative work. Patience, creativity, initiative, and flexibility is 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. Camp will run from June 26-August 18, 2023. Camp staff training week will be June 20-24, 2023. (note: this internship does not fully coincide with the Intro to Museum Practice program).

Visitor Services

The Penn Museum's Visitor Services Department strives to create a welcoming atmosphere and an enjoyable experience for 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 the 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