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Museum Studies Internship Program

June 9–August 8, 2014

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. 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 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 2014 semester;
  • have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average.

About the Program

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 Museum department; one-and-one-half days per week they participate in a Museum Studies colloquium. Interns are placed according to departmental needs that vary from year to year.
  • Past placements >>

    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 but do not necessarily represent actual opportunities for summer 2014.

    The Museum’s Manager of Internships and Fellowship Programs 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.


    The Museum Archivist will supervise all interns for the Archives. These interns may be assigned to any Museum department for their day to day work. The process of archiving involves reviewing, sorting, organizing, and preparing materials for storage in the Museum Archives.

    Collections Information

    The intern may edit and input Website content or assist with other technology-related projects.


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


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

    Curatorial Departments

    Depending on the specific curatorial department, an intern may assist with library and archival research, participate in departmental meetings or help with general office work. An intern 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
    • Costumes and Textiles
    • East Asian Art
    • European Painting before 1900
    • European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
    • Indian and Himalayan Art
    • Modern and Contemporary Art
    • Prints, Drawings, and Photographs


    The Development Department is responsible for fundraising at the Museum. Interns are included in general department staff meetings and will be 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, Associate Level Members, and Young Friends.


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

    Education: Community Outreach

    Two interns will design and implement a program that reaches out to children and families in all neighborhoods in Philadelphia through the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer Reading Program under the direction of the Community Programs staff.

    Education: Family Programs

    The intern will assist in planning and implementing Sunday gallery programs and studio activities for families.

    Education: Public Programs (College & Adult)

    The intern will assist with a variety of projects including research for updating object files, planning and marketing for the annual College Day on the Parkway, attending cross departmental meetings on events, lectures, concert planning, etc.

    Education: Summer Camp Group Program

    Six interns will work together to plan the theme based program for visiting Summer Camp Groups. This program is designed for six to twelve year old children. It will include teaching the camp children about art in the Museum galleries and leading them through the making of a corresponding craft project in the Museum studios.

    Government Affairs

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

    Graphic Design

    The intern will work collaboratively with four designers on the design, production, and other tasks relating to Museum exhibitions, signage, and collateral materials. Facility in Adobe programs required.


    Interns participate in many library functions such as cataloguing and assisting Museum staff.


    Interns work on Membership campaigns to grow this important audience.

    Office of 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 (e.g., 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.


    The intern will assist 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.

    Rights and Reproductions

    The Rights and Reproduction intern will participate in scanning and archiving images of objects and past exhibitions. He or she will work with related photographic files and materials.

    Wholesale and Retail Operations

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

  • Museum Studies element of the Internship >>

    An internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an invaluable cultural, professional, and personal experience. In addition to working in a specific placement within a Museum department, each intern will participate in group colloquia on Mondays and Thursday afternoons. Highlights may include:
    • 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; Facilities and Operations; Finance; Human Resources; Information and Interpretive Technologies; Library, Slide Library and Archives; Marketing and Communications; Membership and Visitor Services; Protection Services; Publishing; Registrar; Rights and Reproductions; Special Events; Special Exhibitions; and Wholesale and Retail Operations
    • Discussions with Museum Educators about Family and Community Learning, Public Programs, School and Teacher Programs, and Volunteer Services
    • Tours and demonstrations from the Museum’s Conservation Department
    • Lectures on the history and formation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
    • Workshops, including an Accessible Programs workshop
    • Behind-the-scenes tours with Installation Designers
    • Lunch discussions with other interns and Museum staff
    • Conversations on the use of technology in museums today

How to Apply

All applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2014. Applicants must submit:
  • the application form (see the link below);
  • an official, sealed academic transcript;
  • two letters of recommendation from current or former college professors, academic advisors, or current or recent employers;
  • a résumé or curriculum vitae;
  • two short essays describing the skills, abilities, and experiences that the candidate brings to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the position he/she desires (see the application form for essays).

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.

Two stipends of $2,500 each are available for the Summer of 2014.

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 2014 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.

All materials must be postmarked by January 31, 2014. We will make our selection among qualified stipend candidates based on the strength of application materials.

Please send all materials in one envelope. If this is not possible, notify the Museum’s Manager of Internships and Fellowship Programs so alternative arrangements may be made. All materials must be postmarked by January 31, 2014. Finalists will be invited for interviews in person or by telephone. Accepted interns will be notified in April 2014.

Frequently Asked Questions >>

Frequently Asked Questions

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 3.0.

Q: Where can I find the application form?
A: The application form is available by following this link.

Q: What should be included as part of my application package?
A: Your application should include the application form; your official, sealed academic transcript; two letters of recommendation from current or former college professors, academic advisors, or current or recent employers; your résumé or curriculum vitae; and two short essays describing the skills, abilities, and experiences that you bring to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the position you desire (see the application form for essays). Additional materials will not be considered. We strongly recommend that students mail all of their application materials in one envelope. We understand that this is not always possible, but please make every effort to send all of your materials at once.

Q: Where should I send my application?
A: Your completed application packet should be sent to:
Education, Museum Studies Internship Program
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2500 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Q: When is the application due?
A: Your complete application package must be postmarked by January 31, 2014. Applications postmarked thereafter will not be considered.

Q: Does the Museum accept international students?
A: Yes, the Museum does accept international students. When necessary, we will work with international applicants to secure a visa.

Q: Will I receive notification on whether my application materials have been received?
A: To receive confirmation of receipt, applicants should include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with their application.

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 will I know whether I’ve been selected for an interview?
A: Applicants who have been selected for an interview will be contacted 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 for interns 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 phone, e-mail, or – in some cases – by post. 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 interns in April 2014 as to whether or not they have been selected for an internship.

Q: How long is the Museum Studies Internship?
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 9–August 8, 2014 .

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.

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 summer 2014, a donor has made available two stipends for interns of diverse backgrounds. Learn more about the The Honickman Diversity Internship Stipend for Philadelphia Students.

Download a Copy of the Application

View and print the Museum Studies Internship application form.

If you are unable to download the application, contact and request that it be sent to you via regular mail.

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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