University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Summer Internships

The application for 2018 Summer Internships is closed.

Applicants may be contacted for interviews in person or by telephone, and accepted interns will be notified mid-March 2018.

The Penn Museum offers unpaid summer internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates from any college or university.

Interns participate in a 9-week Museum Practice Program, meeting each week to learn about the Penn Museum’s various departments, collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies. The Penn Museum strongly encourages applications from students who are members of groups underrepresented in careers related to museums and anthropology.

Internship projects for all Museum departments, except in Conservation, are listed below. To apply for an internship in Conservation, please email the Conservation Department directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Interested applicants should be pre-program students preparing to apply to a graduate-level training program in conservation

Application Deadline: Friday, February 9, 2018

How to apply

  • A 400-word maximum essay describing how your skills, interests, and experiences relate to the department (or departments) to which you are applying
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Transcripts (unofficial are preferred)
  • A 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 sent separately via email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the applicant’s full name in the subject line

Interns are assigned to 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 2018.


Enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates from any college or university. High-school students are not eligible, and instead should apply to the three-week Teen Summer Internship program.

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.

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.

Financial support

The Penn Museum does not offer paid internships. However, applicants are encouraged to inquire with their home universities about summer internship funding opportunities or with granting organizations. For example, Penn students in the College of Arts and Sciences may be eligible for CURF summer funding; eligible Penn students should complete the Penn Museum internship application and inform CURF of their application submission. Graduate student members of the AIA in the field of archaeology may be eligible for funding through the Elizabeth Bartman Museum Internship scholarship. Undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need--particularly those from diverse cultural backgrounds--who are a resident of Philadelphia or currently attend a college in Philadelphia, are encouraged to apply for funded opportunities through the Arts Intern program.


The Museum Practice Program runs from the first week of June – first week of August. Individual schedules vary based on placement, but should be between 150 hours (minimum) to 300 hours (maximum)


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.
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. The intern will be asked to present an overview of their work at the close of the summer.

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 Penn Museum collections span 11 curatorial sections representing a vast array of material culture from around the world and through time. 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, moving, cataloguing, photography, and collections database use. Collections research projects are assigned on a case-by-case basis, contingent 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, stooping, kneeling, lifting, and climbing ladders.

The Office of Public Program 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 Assistant 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.

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 at, 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.

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.

Anthropologists in the Making, Penn Museum’s summer day camp is designed for children ages 7-13, and has been in operation for almost 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, scavenger hunts, 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 25-August 17 from 11am-5pm (note: this internship does not fully coincide with the Intro to Museum Practice program).

Interns in Archaeological Ceramics Digitization work on a variety of digitization projects in support of archaeological ceramics research in the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Material. Interns will be introduced to data entry, scanning, basic image processing, basic database entry form design, digital photography, and other tasks associated with the creation and population of digital archaeological datasets. Attention to detail and an ability to work independently are very important. A strong interest in, or prior experience with, archaeological ceramics and digital methods in archaeology is a definite plus.

The Penn Museum’s Learning Programs Department 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. Applicants must have availability on most Wednesdays during the internship time.

Intentional destruction of cultural heritage sites is designed to erase the presence of a people in history and has become a feature of the devastation wrought by intrastate and ethnonationalist violence. Although considerable attention has been given to the collection of datasets about violations of civil and political rights during conflict, far less attention has been directed to the collection of data about the destruction of cultural heritage sites. The Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is seeking interns for assistance in coding intentional cultural heritage destruction into an event-level dataset. This dataset aims to quantify cultural heritage destruction during conflict, focusing on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Mali. The dataset will establish coding standards and definitions for studying and preventing intentional cultural heritage destruction in future conflict. This project provides an opportunity to learn how to conduct quantitative research in the humanities and to develop knowledge of the culture, history, and current conflict in Syria and/or Iraq. A successful candidate will have experience in: Microsoft excel; background studies in anthropology, history, political science, or archaeology; interest in cultural heritage destruction. A background in quantitative research and foreign language (Arabic) is helpful, but not necessary.

This internship in the Academic Engagement Department is intended to support instructional use of the Penn Museum’s galleries by university-level foreign language classes, with particular consideration going to interns who can support Chinese or Arabic language outreach. The intern will research opportunities for collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s language curriculum; identify objects in the galleries and teaching collections that articulate with those needs; and develop lesson plans and full documentation of these ‘micro-collections’ to support class visits. The intern will be supervised by the Director of Academic Engagement, and work actively with undergraduates, graduate students, and instructors in the target languages. A successful applicant can work independently, has an interest in foreign language pedagogy, and strong foreign language skills (Chinese or Arabic preferred, but any language may apply).

University students conduct research on Museum collections for coursework and uncover a tremendous amount of information that is helpful for the Museum and outside researchers. The Academic Engagement Department is overseeing a new initiative to make object-based research more accessible through the publication of student work in ScholarlyCommons, a resource and repository of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. The intern will work closely with the Research Liaison in the Academic Engagement Department to assist with tracking current and past student, scholar, and curatorial research. This is a unique opportunity to work with various types of archaeological and anthropological research taking place inside and outside the Museum. This project is well suited for students interested in digitization and understanding university-level research on museum collections.

The Academic Engagement Department supports university-level classes that utilize collections in their coursework and student research on collections. Interns assist with the management and care of collections used in classes and research, help facilitate visits to the Collections Study Room, and conduct research on objects and Object-Based pedagogy in preparation for classes that will be visiting the Museum during the academic year. Interns will learn collections management skills such as object handling, photography, and collections database use, and will have the opportunity to think creatively about how museum collections can be used for teaching and learning in higher education.

The Registrar’s Office intern will participate in a digitization project on select registrarial files. These files include loans and acquisitions, which are the core collections activities of the Penn Museum or any other museum. Interns will help digitize the key components of the files, create records in and link the images to the collections database. The interns will also help resolve some problems through research and communication with pertinent parties. These tasks require candidates who are responsible, willing to work independently with minimal supervision and pay attention to detail. This is a unique opportunity for those who are interested in learning the day-to-day duties of the Registrar’s Office, the major components of Museum’s collections activities or pursuing a Museum collections related career.

The Marketing and Communications Department works to raise public 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 public promotion of the Museum and 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: 1) 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); 2) Creation of new photos (focusing on special events, galleries, visitors; special projects as needed and occasional (infrequent) evening and weekend assignments required); 3) Editing and organization of existing photo assets; 4) Copy editing and proofreading; 5) Strategic promotion of special events; 6) Research on potential cross-promotional partners and outreach to those partners; and other research projects and duties as assigned.

More information about the Intro to Museum Practice Program (June 4-August 2)

  • Orientation Monday, June 4th
  • Weekly lectures about the Penn Museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, research, and methodologies
  • Field Trip to an area museum
  • Career Panel with Museum curators and staff
  • Write a blog entry on the Penn Museum blog
  • Presentation about your internship at the end of summer, August 2

For more information about internship positions and/or the seminar program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Academic Engagement Department


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