Museum Studies - Internships

Instructions for MUSM:4080 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 Certificate Coordinator, Heidi Lung.  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 should first review the MUSM4080 PDF iconcourse syllabus and meet with the Museum Internship Faculty Advisor, Heidi Lung to discuss the internship no later than the semester before they plan to start.  During this meeting Dr. Lung will explain and share internship procedures and forms.  Some internships may require more time, so getting an early start is always best advice. Once students have met with Dr. Lung they should contact the potential museum supervisor themselves. Students register for MUSM:4080:0IND Museum Internship under Dr. Lung's advising 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 Heidi Lung.

ADDITIONAL INTERNSHIPS OVER AND ABOVE CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS: If you have completed your internship requirement for MUSM:4080 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.

Current and ongoing internship opportunities

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

On Campus Opportunities:


Off Campus Opportunities:

UI Museum Studies Program

Contact: Heidi Lung, Lecturer of Museum Studies

Prof. Heidi Lung is looking for 1-2 museum studies students to assist with a variety of museum studies research projects. Contact Prof. Lung at for more information.

UI Pentacrest Museums (Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum)

Various internship opportunities are available for 1, 2, or 3 s.h., or non-credit volunteer work.  Not all internships are listed here, and we encourage you to contact staff members in your field of interest.

UI Museum of Natural History, Collection Department

Contact: Cindy Opitz, Collections Manager

Open Projects: 1. Bird reorganization project, involving physically and virtually moving bird specimens into new storage cabinets. 2. Glass slide digitization of historic images—scan images and record associated data into a FileMaker database. 

Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum: Educational Programming

Contact: Museum of Natural History, Julia DeSpain; Old Capitol Museum, Kathrine Moermond

Education, outreach, public programming: Assist with planning and implementation of education programs and outreach opportunities for children, teens, and adults. Specific program and event opportunties change from semester to semester.

Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum: Communications and Publicity

Contact: Liz Crooks, Communications Coordinator

Assist in communicating and publicizing the museums’ activities to visitors and the public through social media, advertising, website updates, poster distribution, and other channels.  Projects vary from semester to semester and might emphasize writing, video production, graphic design, or other areas, depending on your skills and interests.  

Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum: Membership & Fundraising

Assist in developing and maintaining a membership program and in fundraising for museum programming and projects.  The intern will work with the director and UI Foundation staff on donor relations and local business development opportunities.  Good writing and communication skills are required, but no previous experience in fundraising is necessary.  Contact: Trina Roberts, Director, Pentacrest Museums

Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum: Digital Interactives and Online Exhibits

Develop digital content for online exhibits or for use in the museum's permanent galleries, using platforms such as Intuiface and Omeka.  Potential projects include creating a digital exhibit based on the current "Hawkeyes in Space" exhibition, creating digital touchscreen content for the Museum of Natural History, and recreating Old Capitol Museum education content in touchscreen form.  Graphic design or exhibition design experience is preferred but not required.  Contact: Trina Roberts, Director, Pentacrest Museums 

UI Mobile Museum

Contact: JC Gillett

Assist with Mobile Museum events and operations; might include scheduling, publicity, logistical support, exhibit maintenance, docenting, digital exhibit design, or other tasks, based on the projects’ needs and the intern’s areas of interest

UI Office of the State Archaeologist

Education and outreach internships

The University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist is a UI research unit and state agency that conducts research, fieldwork, and education statewide and serves the people of Iowa as the statutorily mandated repository for the State’s archaeological collections with over 4 million objects from more than 11,000 archaeological sites. An education and outreach intern would assist with the development of new archaeology-related teaching resources and programs that utilize authentic and replica objects highlighting our collections and research, and help us to upgrade our existing resources. Learn to use technology and digital humanities including websites, apps, and social media to engage the public. Contact Elizabeth Reetz (, UI-OSA Education and Outreach Director.

UIHC Project Art and Medical Museum

Contact: Bruce Scherting, Director

Development projects: 1) Work with Project Art staff to continue research and development of a 5-year exhibition program for Gallery B of the UIHC Medical Museum that focuses on artists who make art about their personal or family healthcare issues as a major focus of their art practice, 2) Work collaboratively with Project Art staff and UISFCH marketing and communications department to write interpretative captions for an online gallery of the children’s hospital art collection that encourage/guide a deeper engagement with the works of art for patients and families, 3) Work collaboratively with Project Art staff and IT to develop and improve Project Art’s Website content, organization and visual presence.

Desired skills: Strong organizational and communication skills; Collaborative but capable of working independently, is resourceful and productive; Possess strong research, writing and editing skills to produce concise and communicative interpretative communications in a variety of contexts through an iterative review process; Have an intermediate level of familiarity with Photoshop, Illustrator and graphic design.

A few things to note: Interns must work during regular business hours (M-F between 8a – 5p). We prefer to have people who are able to commit to blocks of time (3-4 consecutive hours or more) on a given day because this is a more productive use of everyone’s time. Preferred internship appointments—3 semester hours (135 work hrs.).

Onboarding requirements: Before a student can start work at the UIHC, he/she must fill out a background check form, a personal data sheet, and have a pre-employment health screening. Once these have been completed, the student must then complete all required Hospital compliancies. Completing compliancies can take 3-6 hours of online training and testing. Interested student should begin application process 3 weeks prior to internship start date. Human Resources Coordinator for UIHC, Project Art/Medical Museum, Jayne Nelson,, 319-467-8079, C116A GH


    Johnson County Historical Society (ongoing)

    Contact: Alexandra Drehman

    Open positions include: Curatorial Assistants, Collections Inventory Assistants, Exhibit Assistants, Marketing/Outreach Assistants, and Oral History Transcribers. Send application form and cover letter (indicating choice of internship) with resume/CV and two professional references to Alexandra Drehman,

    The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum (

    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.

    Note: 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.

    Paleontology Repository

    Contact Tiffany Adrain

    1. Paleobotany Curation Project. Come and help us rehouse and catalogue the fossil plant collection! Tasks involve labelling and cataloguing fossil plant specimens, organizing colections, helping us move to new storage space, historic research, photography, investigating new methods of collection care and management, and possible scientific investigation of some specimens.

    2. Iowa's Fossil Hunters: Preserve and digitize historic collection labels and investigate the history of fossil collecting in Iowa. Contribute to our website.

    3: Card catalogue Preservation: There is no back-up for our 70,000+ catalogue cards! Help us preserve and digitize the collection catalogue by scanning cards, digitizing data, and locating specimens.

    The University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame: Exhibits

    Contact: Dale Aren

    UI Athletic Hall of Fame has opportunities in exhibit design and development, archiving incoming artifacts, organizing activities, developing programming for school groups, and event management of hosted events. Contact Dale Arens (

    UI Libraries Preservation and Conservation Department

    Contact: Vitalina A. Nova

    Project includes rehousing the Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs Theatre sub-series as part of a project to digitize the collection. The Kent Theatre photographs were layered vertically, adhered to black cardstock using heavy-duty tape. Photographs not requiring more than basic conservation intervention are being sliced away from the mounting paper and lightly dry cleaned. The images are then mounted onto Mohawk paper using a template and photo corners. Vitalina Nova will provide training and supervision and Candida Pagan will provide conservation oversight. If interested, please contact Vitalina A. Nova |Preservation Projects Librarian,

    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.

    UI Libraries--Communications & Exhibits

    Title: Exhibit Intern
    Number of positions:  1
    Compensation:  Unpaid; No housing provided.
    Time Commitment:  Flexible during the hours of 8:00am- 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. Internships are renewable at the discretion of the intern’s supervisors at the Libraries.
    Semester: Applications are taken on an ongoing basis, currently taking applications for spring 2017 and fall 2017 interns..
    Supervision: Jennifer Masada, Strategic Communication Manager and Giselle Simon, Head Conservator

    The University of Iowa Libraries offers a rich internship experience to students. This internship is specially designed for upper level undergraduates and graduate students. The Libraries seeks a self-directed, communications-oriented intern to assist in the coordination and production of our in-house exhibits. The intern will assist the Gallery Team, exhibit curators, Strategic Communication Manager, and Graphic Designer to facilitate exhibit development, planning, and implementation.

    The intern will:

    Coordinate the exhibition production process—A key responsibility for this intern will be to monitor and facilitate the exhibit production process by communicating with members of the production team. The intern will use the production timeline to send reminders, gather and document exhibit information as it is created, and keep the process moving forward.
    Help organize content
    Assist Team in developing the exhibit layout concept and map of the gallery space
    Assist with exhibit installation
    Enhance the visitor experience by creating online and interactive content
    Assist with promotional material, including writing exhibit descriptions for press releases and posting content online
    Assist with exhibit events

    Possible Majors of Interest:  Communication Studies, History, Public History, Journalism, Library and Information Science, Museum Studies
    Applications are taken on an ongoing basis.
    To apply, send cover letter, resume, and two references to Jennifer Masada, Strategic Communication Manager, Main Library, 215 W. Washington Street, Iowa City, IA 52242 OR e-mail

    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)
    Integrating 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
    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.

    American Gothic House Center, Eldon, IA

    Contact: Sarah Camp, Administrator, American Gothic House Center, 300 American Gothic St. Eldon, IA 52554, 641-652-3352

    Several opportunities (both on and off site) including event assistant, exhibit planning, gift shop merchandise research, gardener, collections.  

    Ames Historical Society, Ames, IA

    Contact: Hannah Frederick

    Ames HS is undergoing an entire collections inventory and looking for students who are passionate about the museum field to assist the collections manager in all aspects of this project. Interns would assist with locating all appropriate paperwork for an object, numbering objects (as needed), taking photos of objects, filling out condition reports, appropriately housing objects, and cataloging objects. Interns will be trained in proper museum object handling, acquisition paperwork, condition reporting, and the museum software PastPerfect. Interns will also serve on the Collections Committee and assist the committee in acquisition and deaccession decisions. If objects are deaccessioned, interns will assist in all appropriate paperwork in the deaccession process. Contact Hannah Frederick,

    Buffalo Bill Museum Le Claire, IA

    Contact: Beth Peters

    Buffalo Bill Museum, Le Claire IA, is looking for an archival/exhibit intern to help archive donated items including photos, artifacts, and books, and updating artifact labels on display. Contact Beth Peters,

    Des Moines County Historical Society, Burlington (updated 9/30/2015)

    Contact Lindsey Schier, registrar

    DMCHS manages three facilities and a collection of historic artifacts.  Sample projects include cataloguing collections, photographic artifacts, catalogue digitization, document digitization, preservation needs assessment, and historic housekeeping.  In order to get Museum Studies internship credit, you must have approval of your proposed project from a Museum Studies faculty internship supervisor before registering.

    Photographing the Hat Collection 
    For this project, the student would photograph the hat collection within the guidelines of DMCHS staff. Training on how to handle artifacts and all of the necessary equipment will be provided.

    Catalogue Digitization and Artifact Location
    For this project, the student would take a portion of our hand-written/typed catalogue and create a digital record for it.  In addition to transferring the information from the index cards to Excel, they would also confirm if the location information on the index card is correct. Training on how to handle artifacts will be provided.

    Cataloging Photographs
    This internship will require the student to catalog part of our photograph collection within the guidelines set out by DMCHS staff.   Training on how to handle artifacts will be provided.

    Oral History Transcriber
    This internship will require the student to create transcripts of oral histories in our collection on a number of different topics.  These will be transcribed according to guidelines laid out by the DMCHS staff. 

    Inventory of the Elaine Baxter Papers
    This internship will require the student to create an inventory of the papers Iowa’s first female Secretary of State, Elaine Baxter.

    German American Museum, Library and Family History Center, St. Lucas IA

    Contact: Clair Blong

    German American Museum, Library and Family History Center, St. Lucas IA, could use two interns to catalog the collection of over 10,000 artifacts, books and materials, using PastPerfect software. Assistance available for students needing a place to stay. Contact Clair Blong,

    Heartland Museum, Clarion IA

    Contact: Mary Tesdahl

    ​Heartland Museum, Clarion IA, is an ag history museum in Northcentral Iowa started, built, and run by volunteers. Heartland has regular hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is open year round by appointment. Possibilities for intern involvement: For the summer of 2017, Heartland will be developing a display of souvenir items from old businesses in Clarion; plan a day camp for elementary age students featuring items in the museum; plan fund-raising events. Contact Mary Tesdahl,

    Henry County Heritage Trust, Mt. Pleasant, IA

    Contact: Ken Vandevoort

    Henry County Heritage Trust, Mt. Pleasant IA, oversees two buildings: the former Saunders elementary school covering all of Henry County, and the Van Allen house—the birthplace and boyhood home of Dr. James Van Allen (UI physics) and Dr. Maurice Van Allen (UI Hospital) as well as two other Van Allen brothers. HCHT is doing the finishing touches inside the home and will soon be moving Van Allen family items back in. HCHT has no specific projects in mind, but can easily come up with something in either building, probably designing and building a museum display, establishing a research library in Saunders, or cataloging objects, developing forms, etc. Contact Ken Vandevoort,

    Historical Society of Marshall County, Marshalltown, IA

    Contact: Michelle Roseburrough

    Historical Society of Marshall County, Marshalltown IA, is a small historical society consisting of a small museum, historic home, and diverse archive and library, with lots to do and limited volunteers, so happy to tailor a project to a student’s particular interest, in educational programming, archive maintenance, display setting, inventory (using PastPerfect database), or planning a Victorian garden. Contact Michelle Roseburrough,

    Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines, IA

    Contact: Robert Warren 

    Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines IA, Intern opportunities: 1. Educational Tours: Develop a plan for children’s tours of the mansion, art gallery, and theater, outlining curriculum and identifying interactive artifacts for children to examine. Elementary or middle school level. 2. Collections Scanning: Sort and scan files with information on items in the mansion’s collections, save as searchable pdf files. 3. Tour Script or Brochure: Update tour script for docents (guides) or develop a self-guided tour brochure for visitors to the mansion. Contact Robert Warren,

    Iowa Jewish Historical Society, Waukee, IA

    Contact: Sandi Yoder

    Iowa Jewish Historical Society, Waukee IA, has numerous projects related to collections and exhibits, with the potential for some research or oral history projects available off-site as well. Contact Sandi Yoder,

    Iowa Museum Association

    Contact: Executive Director: Cynthia Sweet, (319) 239-2236

    The mission of the Iowa Museum Association (IMA) is to work in the interest of Iowa museums to build organizational capacity, advocate to heighten awareness of the field, and foster community.  Students looking to gain experience in marketing, project management, and leadership have the opportunity to work on projects that support Iowa Museums. 

    Marion Historical Society, Marion, IA

    Contact: Lynette Brenzel

    The Marion Historical Society will open an exhibition Marion's Veterans: Korea & Vietnam Wars on Veterans Day Nov. 11, and could use student help with related projects. The Veterans History Video Project will collect and preserve digitally the experiences of veterans of the Korean War (1950–1953) and the Vietnam War (1965–1975), and those who supported them from home. Effort is currently underway to compile a complete database of local veterans with biographical sketches and photos, building on a similar database compiled in 2001/2002 of WWII veterans. They'll have a photo gallery display of the veterans who served and died for our country. Two platforms of artifacts will also be displayed, including a large button display of peace signs collected by a local individual for a number of years. Students can help now to collect and design the platforms for the artifacts and the button collection. Of course all of the areas of Museum Studies will come into play. Contact Lynette Brenzel,

    Masonic Library and Museums, Cedar Rapids, IA

    Contact: Bill Kreuger

    Masonic Library and Museums, Cedar Rapids IA, has both a Masonic and a non-Masonic museum collection of 3-dimensional artifacts, and an invenotry has been completed. However, very little cataloging has been done in either collection, which includes WWI posters and firearms. Contact Bill Kreuger,, who would be happy to teach a prospective student the basics of museum cataloging, including research, photography, and basic registration work.

    McGregor Historical Museum, McGregor, IA

     Contact: Diane Malcom

    McGregor Historical Museum, McGregor IA, would like an intern for a project that can be designed to emphasize a student’s personal interest/expertise. Contact Diane Malcom,

    National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library

    Contact: Lindsay Erhardt-Hansen, Director of Visitor & Volunteer Services, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library,, 319*362*8500x203​

    Fall, spring and summer internships in areas including collections, exhibitions, marketing, programming and more. All internship descriptions can be found at the museum website,

    National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium/Dubuque County Historical Society, Dubuque, IA 

    Contact: Vicky Sutter

    National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium/Dubuque County Historical Society, Dubuque IA, is seeking interns to provide support to the Curatorial Services Department for an object inventory project or cataloging/reorganizing the library, including verifying object location and information, tagging, and photographing objects; contact Vicky Sutter, Spring and summer only this year (fall full).

    St. Ambrose University Archive, Davenport, IA

    Contact: Onnica Marquez

    St. Ambrose University Archive, Davenport IA, has projects including appraising, arranging and describing archival material from the Athletic and Theater Department. The Howard Snyder and George McDaniel collections need to have inventories created and artifacts cataloged. There are also some over-sized photographs that need custom folders created and labeled. And there are always some digitization projects to be completed as well. Contact Onnica Marquez,

    West Bend Historical Society, West Bend, IA 

    Contact: Irene Banwart

    West Bend Historical Society in West Bend IA would welcome interns to help with the bar coding of artifacts. They have just started the process of bar coding so it will take a great deal of time. The artifacts have all been recorded in PastPerfect software, so this is the next step. Contact Irene Banwart at