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University of Iowa Museum Studies Program


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Museum Studies - Internships

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Instructions for 24:180 Museum Internship
Students are required to complete 3 s.h. of internship credit.  This can be completed at an institution of the student’s choosing, but first must be approved by the Director.  In the past, students have elected to complete internships at both museums in Iowa City and also off-campus and abroad (e.g., Old Capitol Museum, Johnson County Historical Society, The British Museum, The Jewish Museum of NY, The Field Museum). 

To arrange an internship, students may either contact a potential supervisor themselves or through their Museum Studies Internship Advisor. This advisor may be any Museum Studies Faculty. Students register for 024:180:IND (MUSM:4080:0IND) Museum Internship under the advisor's instructor number. You MUST register under this course to receive a grade for your internship and to count it towards the certificate. For assistance with setting up an internship, please contact Tiffany Adrain.

The Museum Studies Internship Package contains all the materials you need for your internship with instructions on reporting and assignments.

Download the Museum Studies Internship Package here.

: If you have completed your internship requirement for 24:180 but wish to do additional internships, visit the Pomerantz Career Center website for information on registering voluntary internships (no tuition, 0 credit, added to your transcript):
Make sure you read the Internship Agreement and Requirements.


Internships available for 2013

For a list of University of Iowa museums and research collections see University of Iowa Collections Coalition homepage.

Johnson County Historical Society

Herbert Hoover Presidental Library and Museum

UI Museum of Art

UI Pentacrest Museums: Museum of Natural History

UI Pentacrest Museums: Old Capitol Museum

UI Paleontology Repository

The University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame

UI Libraries Preservation Department

UI Libraries Special Collections

State Historical Society of Iowa

Johnson County Historical Society (added 2/6/2013)

: Submit the application form and cover letter along with your resume/CV and two professional references to or send to:
Johnson County Historical Society
P.O. Box 5081
Coralville, IA 52241

  • Your cover letter should include which internship you wish to be considered for.

Curatorial Assistant
Objective:   Assist the Curator with the cataloging of one or more accessioned but unprocessed collections in the Johnson County Historical Society museum collections.

  • Surveying and appraising unprocessed materials
  • Organizing, cataloging, numbering items in the collection. 
  • Identifying special storage considerations for items and developing storage plan for the collection.
  • Preparing cataloging sheets for objects and entering information into JCHS’ PastPerfect collections database.

Experience:  Some basic work with museum artifacts or collections care course. 
Possible Fields of Study:  Museum Studies, History, American Studies, Public History, Library Science

Collections Inventory Assistant
Objective:  With the supervision of the JCHS Curator, the Schoolhouse Inventory Assistant will inventory artifacts currently stored in the upstairs of the 1876 Coralville Schoolhouse Museum. 

  • Completing inventory sheets and condition reports
  • Photographing objects
  • Updating information about objects on the PastPerfect database
  • Conducting some artifact research. 

Experience:  Some basic work with museum artifacts or Collections Care course.  Knowledge of digital camera and basic research skills are helpful.  Must be detail-oriented and able to work independently.
Possible Fields of Study:  Museum Studies, History, American Studies

Exhibit  Assistant
Objective:  The Exhibits Assistant will work with the JCHS Curator and Education Coordinator on developing and installing exhibits.

  • Work with curator and education coordinator to select exhibit topics and work to design and install exhibits.
  • Identify JCHS artifacts and mount/display needs.
  • Research exhibit topic and artifacts.
  • Develop and implement design ideas.
  • Write exhibit text and artifact labels.
  • Set-up exhibits.

Experience: Some experience working with museum artifacts.  Collections Care for Museum Artifacts Course and beginning exhibit design class a plus.  Some design experience helpful.
Possible Majors of Interest:  Theater, Museum Studies, History, Art History

Emergency Collections Recovery Plan Developer
Objective: With the supervision of the JCHS Curator, work to develop a comprehensive disaster plan for JCHS collections.

  • Research existing material on disaster plans for small museums.
  • Develop response teams and organize a mock recovery.
  • Develop a plan of action for the JCHS collections in the event of a natural disaster.

Experience:  Strong writing and communication skills. Some basic knowledge of museum collections policy is helpful.
Possible Fields of Study: Museum Studies, Communications

Oral History Transcriber
Objective:  The Oral History Transcriber will transcribe oral histories in the JCHS oral history collection on a variety of different subjects following JCHS procedures and transcription templates. 

  • Create printed transcription for each oral history following established template.
  • Complete oral history subject index worksheet.
  • Enter information about interview into JCHS PastPerfect database.

Experience:  Must be proficient keyboardist, basic experience with Microsoft Word.
Possible Majors of Interest:  History, Public History, Journalism, Museum Studies

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum ( added 2/6/2013.

Curatorial Department
Title:  Curatorial Intern
Number of positions:  2
Compensation:  Unpaid; No housing provided.
Time Commitment:  ongoing and flexible during the hours of 8:00am- 4:00pm, Monday-Friday
Note: we prefer 200+ Hours (10 weeks, 20 hrs per week) but we will adjust to student schedules 

The museum internship program at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library – Museum offers real world museum experience to students interested in pursuing a career within the field. The internship is restricted to upper level undergraduate and graduate students. We assign a variety of collections and exhibits related projects to our interns. Within the sphere of collections, interns work on a variety of tasks, such as data-entry, cataloging, assessing storage conditions, cleaning, inventorying and condition reporting; geared to impart knowledge on proper collections management practices. Our interns also spend some time on exhibit related projects, such as exhibit installation, label writing, mount-making, lighting, environmental monitoring, and assisting with artifact loans.

Summer interns are encouraged to participate in Hoover's Hometown Days the first weekend of August.

Supervision:  Melanie Wier, Assistant Curator (Marcus Eckhardt, Curator and Jennifer Pedersen, Registrar)


  • Interest in working with museum collections.
  • Intern should be detail oriented, organized, and able to work independently. 
  • Must be able to work as a team and accept constructive criticism.
  • Must be able to climb stairs and ladders.
  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Average or above average level of computer literacy (Skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel, Access, and a collection database would be an advantage but is not required).
  • Must be eager to learn and ask questions.


  • Dress code is business casual to smart casual.

  • Intern is responsible for own transportation and housing.

Application materials are due by: rolling application- but to secure a semester internship applications are due two months before the start of the semester.
 To apply, send cover letter, resume, and at least two references to
Melanie Wier, Assistant Curator, 210 Parkside Drive, P.O. Box 488, West Branch, IA 52358 OR e-mail the above information to

UI Museum of Art

UIMA School Programs Intern (opportunities for several students)
Intern will be trained in the content, care and handling of the collections. Intern will do presentations of UIMA School Programs Collections at area K-12 schools. The intern will also research, aid in the development of lesson plans, help with communication—both verbal and written—between the volunteer docents and UIMA staff, and document UIMA Docent-led presentations. This opportunity requires the ability to communicate effectively and good organization skills. Interested students should send a resume and writing sample to Dale Fisher (, UIMA Curator of Education.

UIMA School Programs Collections
Intern will create a database for the UIMA School Programs Collections. The duties will include the creation of a database and entering information. When the database is functional, the intern will be entering data into the database from existing condition reports. Intern may be required draft supplement materials on art works in the UIMA School Programs collections. Must have excellent writing skills. Interested students should send a resume and writing sample Josh Siefken (, UIMA School Programs Outreach Instructor.

UI Museum of Natural History      

Contact Cindy Opitz, Collections Manager,

Various internship opportunities are available for 1, 2, or 3 s.h., or non-credit volunteer work

1.  Insect Cataloging
Catalog insect specimens and enter specimen data into insect database.  Student will work at UIMNH and be trained in the use of database software.  Requires careful handling of pinned insect specimens and accurate work with attention to detail.  Experience with reading old handwritten script is a plus.

2.  Object Support Fabrication
Use a variety of archival and inert materials to create supportive storage mounts for museum objects. Student will work at UIMNH and be trained in object handling and mount-making techniques, including making boxes/trays, foam and bean-bag supports, padded boards, and more. Requires careful handling of museum objects and some hand-sewing.

3.  Egg Collection Cataloging
Match egg sets with historic records and catalog egg collection. Enter specimen data into specimen database. Photograph collector labels and specimens and resize photos for inclusion in database. Student will work at UIMNH and be trained in the use of database software and photo resizing. Requires careful handling of fragile egg specimens and attention to detail.

4.  Paper Archive Cataloging
Archive paper materials from UIMNH historic files. Sort documents into existing archives and enter document information into the museum’s archive database. Student will work at UIMNH and receive training in archiving and databasing. Requires attention to detail.

5.  Historic Collection Research
Explore the history of an assigned UIMNH collection or collector. Student will work at UIMNH and local archives, search archival and on-line sources for information, and prepare a report. Project might include related collection cataloging and/or databasing.

Paleontology Repository

Contact Tiffany Adrain

A variety of projects is available continuously for 1, 2, or 3 s.h., including cataloguing and organizing fossils, preserving labels, archive processing and management, website design and creation, photography, outreach and public engagement, grant writing, policy and procedure development, and historical research relating to the collection. The UI Paleontology Repository is the 5th largest university fossil collection in the U.S.

Iowa's Ice Age Giants Exhibit
Interns are welcome to assist with the development and installation of a Spring 2013 exhibit on ice age mammals (mammoth, mastodon, giant ground sloth, etc.) at the Pentacrest Museums. The project involves research and writing, specimen handling, specimen selection, photography, and condition reporting. Interns may assist in any aspect.

Iowa's Greatest Fossil Finds
In collaboration with the Cedar Valley Rocks and Minerals Society, the Paleontology Repository will be helping develop an exhibit for the Spring Break 2013 CVRMS show at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. The project involves tracking down information about exceptional fossils and fossil hunters from Iowa and creating written and photogrsphic features for the public, as well as helping put together a display of selected fossils.

UI Pentacrest Museums

Media Relations Intern:
The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums, the Old Capitol Museum and the UI Museum of Natural History, are seeking a Media Relations Intern for the Spring 2012 semester. The Pentacrest Museums Media Relations Intern will report to the Media Relations and Marketing Specialist and assist in both day to day Media Relations responsibilities as well as tasks listed below:

  • Sending museum event information to various media
  • Assist with the ongoing development & maintenance of the Pentacrest Museums websites
  • Maintain the Pentacrest Museums social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

The Pentacrest Museums are looking for energetic, professional and responsible interns who can work a scheduled 10 hours a week in the museum office with some flexibility on nights and weekends.  This internship is open to all Museum Studies, Business, and Communications Majors of Junior standing or higher.  The internship is not paid however there are many opportunities to receive practical experience. An application and writing sample will be required.  For more information contact or call 319-335-3591.

Development Intern:
The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums, the Old Capitol Museum and the UI Museum of Natural History, are seeking a Fund Raising Intern for the Spring 2012 semester. The Pentacrest Museums Development Intern will report to the Media Relations and Marketing Specialist and assist in both day to day Development responsibilities as well as tasks listed below:

  • Assist with creating a development campaign to kick off summer 2012
  • Conduct investigative research on development opportunities in the area
  • Work with the Pentacrest Museums graphic designer to develop sponsorship pamphlets
  • Travel with the Media Relations and Marketing Specialist to meet with potential sponsors

The Pentacrest Museums are looking for energetic, professional and responsible interns who can work a scheduled 10 hours a week in the museum office with some flexibility on nights and weekends.  This internship is open to all Museum Studies, Business, and Communications Majors of Junior standing or higher.  The internship is not paid however there are many opportunities to receive practical experience. An application and possible interview will be required.  For more information contact or call 319-335-3591.

The University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame: Exhibits

The University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum is the home of Hawkeye athletic history.  Housing many trophies and memorabilia from Iowa’s rich athletics history, the Hall of Fame also serves as the venue for many University and community events.  The Trademark Licensing Program manages licensee use of University of Iowa Trademarks.  The University of Iowa is one of the only Big Ten Universities that fully independently manages its own trademark. The University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum and Trademark Licensing Program both offer a variety of internships that apply to many different majors.  Housed in the same building and under the same management, both Hall of Fame and Trademark Licensing Program positions offer interns a chance to develop crucial business skills such as event management, customer relations, business communication, and project management, among others.  Applicants for the Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum and Trademark Licensing program internships should possess these six characteristics: Be a lifelong learner, be self-motivated, be responsible, be thoughtful, be an independent decision maker, and be a team player.

The Exhibit internship involves the following:
- Organizing all artifacts in storage that are not on display
- Gathering information and pieces from Hawkeye Sports History to build exhibits
- Keeping exhibits updated/assist in large project renovations
In addition to:
- Working in a team for basic facility operations (hours, responsibilities, etc.)
- General event management
- Supervision of the facility during operation hours
- Event set-up
- Continuous correspondence with our volunteers (Hall of Fame Ambassadors)

Click here for general Hall of Fame internship information. Hours for the unpaid Exhibits Internship for Museum Studies students are negotiable depending on registered semester hours.

Contact: Dale Arens, Trademark Licensing Director. Email: Phone: 319 384 2000

UI Libraries Preservation Department

The UI Libraries Preservation Department is seeking a Museum Studies Program student intern to assist in cleaning objects for the African American Museum of Iowa and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library compromised by the 2008 flood.  This three-credit, 135 hour intern will assist with the following: writing blog posts about flood recovery related happenings, maintaining and updating databases, preparing book and object returns to museums, cleaning books and flatwork for the museums. A one or two semester hour internship can be arranged if necessary.

Contact: Nancy Kraft ( or Kathleen Tandy (

UI Libraries Special Collections

Contact Greg Prickman

Internship goals and objectives

To become familiar with Special Collections storage areas and strategies;
To experience several operational routines and to repeat them sufficiently to develop comfortable and efficient skills; examples may include: shelf reading books collections; removing materials from scrapbooks; organizing pamphlets or correspondence alphabetically or chronologically; creating bibliographic lists or folder inventories;  
To gain a sense of the variety of materials and activities characteristic of larger Special Collections departments.   

Strategy for achieving goals (anticipated activities)

Interns will be assigned a number of specific tasks over time and will have general discussions with staff.  Interns are encouraged to ask questions and prompt discussions:  “Why am I doing this?”  “What should I learn from this task?”

Means of evaluation

Evaluation will vary with tasks.  Some tasks are easily checked for completeness and thoroughness, others may be reviewed more generally.  Interns will be judged in part on their ability to ask relevant and penetrating questions.

State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City

Contact Mary Bennett

  • Archival processing of historical manuscripts and photographs relating to certain topics or individuals (photographer Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret, Iowa City Airport Commission, labor union records, Knights of Columbus newsletters, etc.)
  • Inventory and organization of artifacts and manuscripts relating to Emily Gillespie (farm wife who kept a diary, 1858-1888)
  • Intergrating new maps into existing collection and identifying in database
  • Inventories on the WWW – assist in getting html format inventories posted on SHSI website by creating *.pdf files or typing inventories
  • Meskwaki Museum – various grant projects to set up tribal museum in new facility by July 2012; student could assist in various ways including: Preparation of space by cleaning, assembling shelving, organizing materials; artifact collection care and documentation; scanning historical images,  proofread exhibit script and captions, or attending a workshop held by visiting ethnographic conservator (Jan. 2012)
  • Assisting paper conservator with mending and preservation of Civil War muster rolls
  • Preview and assemble historical 16 mm news film using flat-bed editing table
  • Create a small exhibit in the case in our lobby 4’ x 4’ x 18”.
  • Assist with reference duties using primary source collections of manuscripts, photographs, maps, oral histories, film, etc.



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