Application Deadline: April 28, 2021
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.
50 Years of World Heritage
“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, creating an international framework for the protection of heritage with “outstanding universal value.” For the first time, natural and cultural heritage was considered a matter of global concern and, over the past five decades, 193 state parties have ratified this convention and over one thousand properties have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. But what does the “universal” in “outstanding universal value” mean? Whose heritage is included and whose is excluded? And who decides?
The Penn Museum is home to collections from many World Heritage sites, including textiles from the Andean pilgrimage center of Pachacamac, cuneiform tablets from the Mesopotamian city of Ur, and early metal work from the Bronze Age site of Ban Chiang in Thailand. Drawing from the Museum’s collections, we will explore the meaning of World Heritage for the past, present, and future.
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
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.
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 February 2022.
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 selected readings related to the exhibition theme in order 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
- 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)
- Memory Keepers (2019)
- Living with the Sea: Charting the Pacific (2020)
- Jazz Combos (2021)
Student Exhibition Blog Posts