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Museum Studies Internship Program

June 6–August 5, 2016
Applications due by Friday, January 29, 2016

The Museum Studies Internship Program is an unpaid volunteer internship opportunity that provides interns with exposure to the inner-workings of a major metropolitan museum, promoting an awareness of careers in the field through experiences not available in most academic settings. An internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an invaluable cultural, professional, and personal experience. The Museum selects a diverse group of talented undergraduate and graduate students from a highly competitive international pool of candidates.

The Museum Studies Internship Program runs Monday through Friday for nine weeks. The internship is made up of two parts: interns work for three-and-one-half days per week in a specific placement within a Museum department; one-and-one-half days per week they participate in a Museum Studies group colloquium (on Mondays and Thursday afternoons). Interns are placed according to departmental needs that vary from year to year.

Highlights of the Museum Studies group colloquia >>

  • Private gallery talks with Museum curators
  • Open discussions with top-level administrators including the Director and Chief Executive Officer, the President and Chief Operating Officer, and Museum Trustees
  • Conversations with directors and staff of Development; Editorial and Graphic Design; Executive Offices; Exhibitions; Facilities and Operations; Finance; Human Resources; Information and Interpretive Technologies; Installations and Packing; Library and Archives; Marketing and Communications; Membership and Visitor Services; Protection Services; Publishing; Registrar; and Special Events
  • Behind-the-scenes tours with Museum staff
  • Discussions with Museum Educators about Community Engagement and Access, Public Programs, and School and Teacher Programs
  • Tours and demonstrations from the Museum’s Conservation Department
  • Conversations with former Museum interns
  • Lectures on the history and formation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Panel discussions on interpretation at the Museum and the use of technology in museums today
  • Field trips to the Museum’s historic houses and other sites

Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students >>

The Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students is intended to encourage participation in the Museum Studies Internship Program by college students from diverse backgrounds who live or attend school in Philadelphia and who would otherwise not be able to participate in an unpaid summer internship experience.

Three stipends of $2,500 each are available for the summer of 2016.

To be eligible, candidates must:
  1. meet all regular eligibility requirements for the Museum Studies Internship Program;
  2. be a permanent resident of the city of Philadelphia, or a current student or 2016 graduate at a college or university located in Philadelphia;
  3. submit documentation from his or her college or university confirming that the applicant receives or has received financial aid.

To apply for the Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students, students must submit all required materials for application to the Museum Studies Summer Internship Program as well as:
  1. a separate letter stating why you believe you are qualified to be considered for a Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students;
  2. documentation from your college or university confirming that you receive or have received financial aid.

These must be attached to the single document that you upload with your application. All materials must be submitted by January 29, 2016. We will make our selection among qualified stipend candidates based on the strength of application materials.


The Museum Studies Internship Program offers unpaid volunteer internships each summer to applicants who:
  • are currently-enrolled undergraduate or graduate students, or have graduated within the same calendar year as the Internship Program;
  • have completed at least their sophomore year of college by the end of the spring 2016 semester;
  • have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Descriptions of Past Intern Placements

Intern assignments, projects, and the departments in which they are placed vary significantly from year to year. The following descriptions of past placements are offered to help applicants understand the kinds of experiences they might expect. These do not necessarily represent actual opportunities for the summer of 2016.

The Museum’s Internship Coordinators will outline a specific placement when contacting each finalist with a firm offer for acceptance into the program. The candidate will then have the opportunity to ask questions before accepting or rejecting the position.

Descriptions of Past Intern Placements >>

Business Administration

This intern works in the Executive Offices directly with the Museum’s Director and Chief Executive Officer on a museum-related project. The applicant must be an MBA student.

Collections Information

The intern may edit and input website content, help standardize and enhance content in the Museum’s collections information database, or assist with other technology-related projects. Interns leave with a good understanding of the predominate software for managing museum collections and information.


Interns observe a wide variety of conservation techniques in furniture, objects, painting, paper, or textile conservation. Depending on the applicant’s specialization, s/he may be placed in a singular department or may be shared between two. Interns with a science background may participate in chemical analysis of materials, etc.


Depending on the specific curatorial department, interns may assist with updating the Museum’s database and object files, conducting research, working on inventory projects, caring for the collection, reorganizing storage, and assisting with general department work. Interns may be assigned to work on a single project or a series of smaller projects. The Museum’s curatorial departments are:
  • American Art
  • Arms and Armor
  • Contemporary Art
  • Costumes and Textiles
  • East Asian Art
  • European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
  • European Painting
  • Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
  • South Asian Art


The Development Department is responsible for fundraising at the Museum. Interns are included in general department staff meetings and are expected to work as part of the Development team for events involving any of their targeted groups. Interns may do research on granting agencies, foundations, and individuals. In addition, they may assist with various donor programs, such as Corporate Partners, Associates, and Young Friends.


The intern may assist with copyediting and proofreading exhibition-related texts and labels as well as printed materials such as newsletters, brochures, invitations, calendars, and signs. Interns should be comfortable working in Microsoft Word, possess strong writing skills, and be attentive to detail.

Education: Family and Community Audiences

Ten interns work together to play a key role in the summer’s Art Splash program. Interns learn about the collection, gallery teaching strategies, and studio teaching. After a training period, interns teach camp groups and community groups in the galleries, work in teams to lead outreach workshops at select Philadelphia libraries, and assist family groups in the Splash Studio.

Education: Interpretation

Interns work with the Museum’s interpretation team to do evaluation and prototyping for the Museum’s collections and exhibitions.

Education: Public Programs

Interns assist with a variety of projects which may include researching and assessing public programs, updating object files, and attending cross-departmental planning meetings. Evening availability is required.

Education: Teacher Programs

Supervised by School and Teacher Programs staff, this intern works to prepare for and implement our week-long summer teacher seminar for 80 pre-K–12th grade teachers in July. Additional projects, ranging from conducting research for upcoming teacher materials to updating contact lists for schools and teachers, round out the intern’s summer.


This intern supports the Museum’s Finance Department, which is responsible for the maintenance of all books and records and the financial statements of the Museum.

General Counsel

An internship in the Office of General Counsel might include: analyzing proposed legislation or regulations affecting the Museum, assisting with legal issues related to proposed acquisitions, reviewing past gift agreements to determine rights and responsibilities with respect to certain gifts, researching court decisions regarding interpretation of charitable bequests and gifts, preparing initial drafts of contracts between the Museum and third parties (i.e. exhibition agreements, sponsor agreements, art purchase agreements, supplier agreements, etc.), reviewing existing contracts and preparing summaries of the Museum’s contractual rights and responsibilities, analyzing tax regulations affecting charitable organizations, and assisting the General Counsel in connection with matters of corporate governance.

Government Affairs

Working directly with the Director of Government and External Affairs, the intern provides departmental support and may interact with government officials.

Graphic Design

The intern works collaboratively with Museum designers on the design, production, and other tasks relating to print and exhibition graphics. Projects may include marketing collateral, brochures, invitations, e-blasts, and day-to-day signage. Interns should be familiar with Adobe Creative Suite programs in a Mac-based environment.

Human Resources

The intern assists the Museum’s Human Resources team through a variety of projects which may include reviewing and updating recruitment materials, working on data storage, and assisting with Museum-wide initiatives.

Interactive Technology

Interns assist with the development of exciting interactive applications for the Museum’s exhibitions, installations, and website. Projects range from gathering images, text, and video elements; working up prototype screens; writing content; and helping produce media content. No specific experience in media production is needed, but some knowledge and interest in the field is required.

Library and Archives

Interns participate in many library functions such as cataloguing archival images, working on collection maintenance and development, and assisting Museum staff. Some background in museum information science or librarianship is desired.

Marketing and Communications

Interns may work in marketing, which develops and maintains outlets for paid advertising in various media, or in the press office, where the staff promotes Museum programs to the press and other local media.

Photography Studio

Interns assist Museum photographers with preparing images for use in publications, interactives, and the web. Interns capture, edit, distribute, and archive photographs of special events and a variety of other Museum activities. Projects may include photographing events, covering behind-the-scenes installations and activities, assisting Museum photographers at publicity photo shoots, and labeling and uploading images to the Museum’s existing photography archive. Interns should have photography experience, and knowledge of Photoshop/Lightroom is desired.

Protection Services

The intern works with Museum staff on various studies to identify appropriate assignment of officers throughout the galleries.


The intern assists the Registrar and staff in knowing the whereabouts and condition of every art object in the Museum’s collection whether at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or on loan to another institution. The intern may assist with object inventories, resolve old loan issues (reviewing and updating registrar files), work on TMS museum database data entry for deaccession records, and review and update acquisition files.


Interns learn about buying and merchandising for the Museum’s retail outlets and wholesale operations. Interns may also be involved in creating marketing strategies for selling the store’s products.

Rights and Reproductions

Interns actively engage in the operations of a fast-paced, varied, and historic photo studio and its archive. Interns may assist in maintaining the Museum’s image archive, conducting archive research, applying metadata, and scanning and retouching archival images. Applicants should be comfortable with Mac and PC computers and Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

Social Media

Interns are responsible for creating and managing a social media campaign for summer programs. Interns should be tech savvy, possess excellent communication skills, and be a creative self-starter. Proficiency with online social media platforms is a must.

Special Events

The Special Events team is responsible for the coordination and execution of all events for internal and external clients at the Museum. The intern assists the team through a variety of projects which may include organizing and coordinating electronic marketing efforts, formatting the master events marketing calendar, and updating promotional materials and marketing distribution lists.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted by January 29, 2016. Prior to completing the online application form, you should prepare the following:
  • Create a single Word document or PDF that contains your résumé, essay, transcript(s), and any other required documents (if applicable) to upload with your application. Please name this file as follows: LastName_FirstName.
  • Identify up to four areas of interest for internship placement (see the “Description of Past Intern Placements” section for placement descriptions).
  • Complete this required essay (400 words maximum): Describe how your specific interests, skill sets, and experiences might relate to the department(s) you have selected on your application, and explain your broader interest in the museum/art field and what led you to apply for the Philadelphia Museum of Art ‘s Museum Studies Internship Program.
  • Elicit two letters of recommendation from current or former college professors, academic advisors, or current or recent employers which must be sent separately via email to with the applicant’s full name in the subject line. Please ask for the files to be named as follows: YourLastName_YourFirstName.
  • If you’re applying for the Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students, also attach the required documents to the single document with your résumé, essay, and transcript(s).

When completing the online application, the following must be completed per instructed to be considered for the program. Note that all materials must be submitted together in ONE document in the “Résumé” section of the application. There is no need to fill out information in the “Additional Information” step of the application. Before applying, please be sure the web browser you will be using is up-to-date.
  • Applicants must complete and submit the application (click the “Apply Now” link at the bottom of this page).
  • Provide the names of the two individuals who will write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Note to recommenders: Your letter must be sent separately via email to with the applicant’s full name in the subject line. Please name the file as follows: YourLastName_YourFirstName.
  • As this is an unpaid internship, please put “0” (“zero”) in the salary section.
  • On the second to last page of the application, applicants must upload a single document. Please name this file as follows: LastName_FirstName. This document must contain all of the following:
    • Résumé or curriculum vitae;
    • Essay (see prompt above in the “How to Apply” section)
    • Academic transcript(s), both undergraduate and graduate (if applicable)
    • Required documents for the Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students (if applicable)
  • Candidates without a Social Security Number should decline the background check section. This does not impact the status of your application.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section for further information. Additional materials will not be considered. All materials must be submitted by January 29, 2016. Finalists will be invited for interviews in person or by telephone, and accepted interns will be notified in April 2016.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for the Museum Studies Internship Program?
A: The Museum accepts applications from undergraduates who have completed at least their sophomore year prior to the start of the internship as well as from students currently enrolled in a graduate program. The Museum also accepts recent graduates, provided they have graduated within the same calendar year as the Internship Program. All students must maintain or have maintained a grade point average of at least a 3.0.

Q: How can I apply?
A: Click the “Apply Now” link at the bottom of this page.

Q: What should be included as part of my application package?
A: See the “How to Apply” section above. Note that you may only upload one document with your application, so it must contain all additional materials together in that single document.

Q: If I submitted my application but forgot to attach a document, can I add it to my application later?
A: No; once you submit your application, you will not be able to add any components at a later time. You must make sure you have all materials together before you submit your application.

Q: When is the application due?
A: Your complete application must be submitted by January 29, 2016.

Q: Will I receive notification on whether my application materials have been received?
A: Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt via email once you have accurately submitted the online application and uploaded your material.

Q: What happens once my application has been received?
A: Each application is read by a committee comprising employees from nearly every department in the Museum to determine those applicants who will receive an interview.

Q: How and when will I know whether I’ve been selected for an interview?
A: Applicants who have been selected for an interview will be contacted in the beginning of March by e-mail or phone to schedule a date with one of the Museum’s Internship Coordinators. Interviews may be conducted in person for those in close proximity to the Museum or over the phone or Skype for applicants outside the Philadelphia area.

Q: Will I be notified if I am not selected for an interview or an internship position?
A: Yes, all applicants will be contacted by e-mail or phone if their application is no longer being considered.

Q: How will I receive correspondence from the Museum?
A: You will be contacted by e-mail or by phone. Please be aware that certain e-mail providers filter e-mails from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Often, these e-mails will be sent to a “spam” or “junk” folder; please look for e-mail addresses ending in “” and, when possible, mark them as being “not spam.”

Q: When will I know if I have been selected for an internship?
A: The Museum will notify applicants in April 2016 as to whether or not they have been selected for an internship.

Q: How long is the Museum Studies Internship Program?
A: The Internship Program lasts nine weeks. Interns will report to the Museum from 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, from June 6–August 5, 2016. Interns are required to be present for the entire duration of the program.

Q: Do I need to submit an official transcript?
A: No; the Museum accepts both official and unofficial transcripts.

Q: Does the Museum accept international students?
A: Yes, the Museum does accept international students. International applicants will be reviewed on an individual basis and must have applicable visa eligibility to participate in a US internship. The visa process could take sixty to ninety days. International students are responsible for obtaining appropriate work authorization during the internship period.

Q: I don’t have a Social Security Number. How can I complete the background check section of the application?
A: Candidates without a Social Security Number should decline the background check section. This does not impact the status of your application.

Q: Are Museum Studies Internship Program interns compensated?
A: No; the Museum Studies Internship Program is unpaid. Some colleges and universities offer assistance to students taking unpaid internships. Students should contact their college or university directly to determine if such funds are available. In addition, for the summer of 2016, a donor has made available three stipends for interns of diverse backgrounds. Learn more about this opportunity in the “Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students” section.

Q: When filling out the application, it asks me to indicate my desired salary. Does this mean I’ll be compensated?
A: No; the Museum Studies Internship Program is unpaid. There is no need to fill out the salary section.

Q: If I am selected, may I receive course credit for my participation?
A: Yes, interns can receive course credit so long as they make arrangements with their respective colleges and universities.

Q: Is housing available for interns?
A: No; interns are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. If you have been selected for an internship and have questions about where you might live, you may contact one of the Museum’s Internship Coordinators.


To apply, please create a single Word document or PDF that contains your résumé, essay, transcript(s), and any other required documents (if applicable) to upload with your application. See the “How to Apply” section for further information.

Apply Now

For more information, please contact the Museum Studies Internship Program by phone at 215-684-7580, by fax at 215-236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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