curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships


Humanities Internships

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Summer 2014 Internships

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Office Supervised by Stacey Espenlaub, NAGPRA Coordinator

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.

Museum Archives Supervised by Alex Pezzati, Senior Archivist

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.

The interns will assist with the archival care and management of documents and photographs from the Museum’s historic anthropological and archaeological investigations around the world. The interns will 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, and assisting with archival reference requests.

We are looking for students with 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.

American Section (I) Supervised by Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams, Senior Keeper, American Section and Exhibit Curator

The 2014 CURF summer internship in Penn Museum’s American Section offers experience in exhibition curation and collections management.

In 2014 Penn Museum will open a new exhibition, Native American Voices: Celebrating Sovereign Nations. Featuring the voices of prominent North American artists, cultural heritage specialists, scholars, and activists, the exhibit explores Native American sovereignty, identity and cultural survival and raises awareness of issues of concern in American Indian communities today. Displaying Penn Museum’s collections, the exhibit will offer new curriculum and educational programs for Penn students, school children and families.

The 2014 summer intern will work closely with the exhibit Curator and exhibitions team on a variety of tasks associated with the final stages of development of this new exhibition. Projects may include research and writing about Native American peoples, issues, and objects in the Museum’s American collection, management of the exhibit collection, and the development of educational programs.

American Section (II) Supervised by Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams, Senior Keeper, American Section

The American Section welcomes applications from students interested in gaining hands-on experience in Museum Collections management. The Intern will work closely with the Keeper of the American Collections on a major inventory project of archaeological ceramics from Central America, gaining skills in conservation and object handling, inventory, digital photography, and the use of collections management software. In addition, the Intern will gain valuable supervisory experience as he or she learns to manage small teams of volunteers and work-study students on various aspects of collections management, care and preservation.

Skills required include careful attention to detail, manual dexterity, and good communication skills.

African Section Penn Museum Summer Internship 2014 Supervised by Dwaune Latimer, The Jean Friendly Keeper of African Collections

The Penn Museum’s African Section summer volunteer internship will focus on the inventory and photography of the sculpture and furniture collections in order to make it accessible to the public. This hands-on inventory project includes but is not limited to moving and reorganizing, labeling shelves and cabinets, and updating the Museum Collection Management database (KeEmu). This position requires a detail-oriented and organized individual; computer skills, record management skills, ability to work on projects as assigned and meet deadlines.

Applicants must be available to work at least two full work-days a week (Monday through Thursday).

START DATE: Wednesday, June 3, 2014
END DATE: Wednesday, August 15, 2014

Babylonian Section Supervised by Dr. Philip Jones, Executive Editor of ePSD and Associate Curator, Babylonian Section

The electronic Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary (ePSD) is 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 online at, but this will be superseded by a new version in early 2013 which will be part of Oracc, the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (

The intern will contribute to the creation of a new exploration interface for ePSD by carrying out the process of aligning ePSD with the WordNet classifications. WordNet ( is a structured approach to organizing senses of words which allows users to examine the word-relationships in a lexicon—synonyms and antonyms for example.

We are looking for students with 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.

Oceanian Section Supervised by Adria Katz, Keeper, Oceanian Section

The Oceanian Section of the Penn Museum houses over 22,000 objects from the Pacific islands (Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia), Australia, and Insular Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines). The Museum has made its collections available on the Web, but a relatively small number of the Oceanian Section objects have images, and catalogue information is often incomplete. In view of this, the Oceanian Section proposes a CURF project for the summer of 2014 consisting of photographing Oceanian Section objects and improving the presentation of those objects online.

Since the camera to be used for the project is a digital SLR (Olympus E-550) it is desirable that candidates be comfortable using a SLR camera and, ideally, have experience in photographing three-dimensional objects. A photographer who has worked in the Section will be available for consultation. Like all CURF interns working with Museum collections, this intern will be given training in KE EMu (the Museum’s collections managements software) and in the safe handling of objects.

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