Internships offer valuable opportunities for students to test out career options, gain valuable practical experience, and build relationships with professionals and organizations in their areas of interest. Internships often provide not only useful work experience, but also letters of recommendation, personal references, and sometimes even a job offer. Connecticut and New England are particularly rich in historical organizations providing internship opportunities during the semester and over the course of the summer. Descriptions of some opportunities are available from the links below. Most historical organizations are very receptive to working with interns, so if your favorite museum or historic site is not listed here, contact the organization’s director or education department and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring an internship.
Students can receive course credit for internships only by enrolling in History 3991 before beginning the internship. History 3991 is described in the course catalog as follows: “HIST 3991. Supervised Field Work – Internship in applied history. Credits and hours by arrangement. Prerequisite: Open only with consent of Department Head; open to juniors or higher. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 12 credits. No more than six credits will count toward the department’s major or minor requirements.” (The Undergraduate Academic Advisor can act as the Department Head in providing this consent).
The academic expectations of History 3991 typically include a research paper on a topic closely related to the work required at the internship site. In order to get 3 course credits, the student must perform what the faculty instructor considers to be the equivalent of 3 credits of academic work.
Students do not have to be history majors to undertake an internship for course credit.
By CLAS policy, “No credit may be given, retroactively, for internship work undertaken without being properly enrolled in advance.”
- Find an Internship. An internship can be considered for history credit only if it is related to the study of history. It is the student’s own responsibility to apply directly to institutions offering internships. The contact information for a number of New England historical organizations that might offer internship opportunities during the semester and over the course of the summer are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list. Each student must have an assigned internship supervisor at the work site. The internship supervisor must agree (by signing the learning contract described below) to supervise the work and to participate in the evaluation of the student’s performance at the end of the internship. Interns may not be supervised by undergraduate students.
- Find a Faculty Member to Work With. Before beginning the internship, the student should ask an appropriate faculty member to serve as the instructor of record for “History 3991: Supervised Field Work.” The instructor of record must be a faculty member in the History Department, except by special permission of the Department Head.
- Prepare a Learning Contract. The student and the faculty instructor should prepare a learning contract that clearly and specifically outlines the academic expectations for the internship. This is not the same as the job description for the internship, which is a matter to be handled by the internship supervisor. Each credit for internship work must entail at least forty-two (42) hours of work per semester or term, including the basic work expectations at the internship site, meetings with the instructor, and additional work on the academic component of the internship. The required number of hours must be stated clearly in the contract. For a three-credit course, the academic component should include a substantial historical project, such as 15-20 pages of writing in which the student might reflect on the internship experience in light of previous coursework or do additional research, maintain a journal, mount a visual exhibit, or construct a webpage. The internship supervisor must agree (by signing the learning contract) to assist the faculty instructor in the evaluation of the student’s performance at the end of the internship. The instructor will be responsible for assigning the grade, based largely on completed work submitted for the instructor’s review. The grade will be either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.
- Get Departmental Approval. The student then should submit the learning contract to the Undergraduate Academic Advisor for approval.
- Register for History 3991. The student then should get a Peoplesoft permission number from the instructor in order to register for “History 3991: Supervised Field Work.”
Year Round Opportunities
Valuable internship opportunities are listed by the UConn Department of Career Services (www.internships.uconn.edu). Others include:
Connecticut Historical Society
The Connecticut Historical Society, located about 30 minutes away in Hartford, is a non-profit museum, library, and education center. Established in Hartford in 1825, the museum collects a wide range of materials including more than 200,000 prints and photographs and 35,000 objects including colonial furniture, early clothing/textiles, paintings and other decorative arts, and tools. The library holds more than 100,000 volumes and nearly three million manuscripts. The CHS also mangaes the Old State House and is in the process of developing state-of-the-art interactive exhibitions and programs to complement the State House’s history and architectural features. Interns gain experience in communications, research, museum education, program evaluation, collections, or library methods. Internships are available Fall, Spring, or Summer.
Dodd Center Archives and Special Collections – University of Connecticut
The Dodd Center, located here on campus, offers several internship opportunities in the field of archives and special collections. The Center offers two (2) paid internship positions during the summer, which last ten weeks. The internships are full-time positions (approximately 35 hours per week) and include a stipend (amount changes from year-to-year). These internships allow students to gain significant experience in archival practices as well as familiarity with the Special Collections housed at the Dodd Center. The Dodd Center also offers a few unpaid internships throughout the year on a first-come, first-served basis. Students work closely with Dodd Center staff on a project in archives and special collections. Students may work with their History Department advisor and the Dodd Center staff to arrange for academic credit. Any degree of experience is acceptable for students wishing to do unpaid internships.
Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford
Located in the west end of Hartford, JHSGH is dedicated to collecting and preserving historical documents, photographs and memorabilia. Established in 1971, the Society’s main commitment is to reach the largest audience possible through publications, exhibitions, seminars and educational programs. Seeking intern(s) to assist with: archival processing work of collections, to be responsible for public relations and newsletter; to be responsible for exhibit research and displays; to conduct oral history interviews and transcribe tapes, and to assist with research for publications.
John F. Kennedy Library & Museum
Phone: (617) 514-1600
The JFK museum, located on Columbia Point on the southern edge of Boston, portrays the life, leadership, and legacy of President Kennedy. With over 34 million pages of manuscript holdings, 180000 photographs, 70000 volumes of printed material, and 15000 museum objects, the library is a premier resource for the study of the Kennedy presidency, the 1960s, the process of government, and the impact and legacy of public service. Internships are offered throughout the year as funds and positions become available, depending on the needs of the staff. The Library requires that interns make a minimum commitment of 12 hours per week. Interns are paid at the rate of $12.50 per hour. The Library will also consider proposals for unpaid internships, independent study projects, work-study employment, and internships undertaken for academic credit. Internships are available to United States citizens or resident aliens who have a Social Security number.
Mansfield Historical Society
Located 1.5 miles south of campus, the Mansfield Historical Societyhouses over 6000 artifacts, photographs, documents, and memorabilia representing 300 years of Mansfield history. The Society features permanent and changing exhibits, as well as a research library, housed in the museum building and the adjacent 1843 old town hall. Internship opportunities are available for Fall, Spring, and Summer. Fall internships generally focus on conservation, cataloguing, and archival projects, while Spring internships center on exhibit research, presentation, and installation. For a great, and very local, opportunity to gain some hands-on experience and earn academic credit, contact Ann Galonska by email or by phone on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Friday afternoons.
The Mark Twain House and Museum
The Twain House, located in the historic Nook Farm neighborhood on the western edge of Hartford, offers tours through the 19-room Tiffany-decorated mansion where Twain raised his family and worked from 1874-1891. In addition, a new museum center offers educational space, an orienttation video, and exhibits centered on Twain and his times. The Twain House is open year-round and is often in need of paid part-time tour guides. Academic credit may also be arranged for internships in the archival, curatorial, or education departments. Contact the museum for more information.
Mashantucket-Pequot Museum and Research Center
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center features innovative exhibits on Native histories and cultures, live performances and demonstrations, educational workshops and seminars as well as research resources, including a 45,000 volume research library. the Museum works with students to arrange projects for academic credit. Contact Kevin McBride for more information. Volunteer internships are available during Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters on several research projects involving minorites in colonial America, especially Native Americans and African-Americans.
Nathan Hale Homestead / Antiquarian and Landmarks Society
Jaime-Lynn Fontaine, Marketing & Development Associate
Phone: 860.247.8996 x 23
The Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, just a fifteen-minute drive from Uconn, is a Revolutionary era farm where the famous Connecticut hero and American spy, Nathan Hale, was raised. The Hale Homesteadd is open seasonally (mid-May through mid-October) and usually hires college students to do tours part-time during the summer. Students may also arrange internships for academic credit. The Hale site is run by Connecticut Landmarks, which is based in Hartford and operates 12 historic properties across the state. Students should contact Jaime-Lynn Fontaine for information on opportunities at the Homestead.
Noah Webster House and Museum of West Hartford History
Located in West Hartford, about 45 minutes from campus, the house is the birthplace and childhood home of the author of the first American dictionary. The museum conducts tours of the house, as well as hands-on activities for visitors and school groups. Volunteer internships are available in historic interpretation, exhibit research, historic gardening, photography, and administrative support.
Old Sturbridge Village
Located just across the border in Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village is the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, portraying everyday life in an 1830s New England village through costumed interpretation and more than 40 restored historical buildings. The Village’s interpretation of New England’s past is based on decades of award-winning historical research, including work in archaeology, material culture studies, and the examination of hundreds of letters, diaries, and account books. Volunteer internships for academic credit are available in three areas of the museum: the research center, the education department and activities/development. See the website for contact link and a downloadable application.
Springfield Armory National Historic Site
The Springfield Armory is a National Park Service site located in Springfield, Massachusetts, about an hour from the Storrs campus. Located on the site of the first national armory (1794), the original 1840s arsenal houses the world’s largest collecion of American military firearms. 120-hour internships are offered in preservation/conservation and interpretation in the Fall and Spring. An 8-week full-time internship program is also available in the summer months. Contact the museum for details.
Stanton-Davis Homestead, Stonington, CT
The Stanton-Davis house is run by a non-profit corporation seeking to create a historic house museum and educational center. The house was built c. 1660 and has remained under the ownership of just two families since. Thomas Stanton, the builder of the house and one of the founders of Stonington,was an interpreter for the English during the Pequot War,and ran a West Indies trading business in the 17th century from the west bank of the Pawcatuck River.
Students interested in archival and material culture projects could help organize materials contained in several dozen boxes and trunks in the attic that have not been opened in over 150 years. There are also many pieces of furniture, quilts, photographs, and other items of material culture. There may be documents that relate to the West Indies trade, relationships with Native Americans, slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries in Stonington, and farming over the three-hundred year period that the farm has been active. UConn interns would assist with organizing the collection, e.g., recording the specific location of each item, creating the accession documents for each item,photographing them,entering the information on computer,conservation, and researching where necessary to establish the identity of some of the items.
Founded in 1842, the museum is known internationally for its fine arts collection, especially its 19th century American art, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and the Nutting collection of early American furniture. Located in downtown Hartford, the Atheneum offers intensive internships in which students mirror the day-to-day jobs of the staff mentors who guide them.: Interns attend a weekly seminar addressing key issues for museum work, discussions of relevant readings about museums and art history, and the roles of various museum departments. Internships are on a volunteer basis anre usually available year-round, but students should contact the museum to be sure. Internship placements are accepted in several departments, most of which will work with students who wish to earn academic credit- administration, curatorial, design/installation, education, and registrar/photographic services. For details, call or email Charlene Miller.
Connecticut Firemen’s Historical Society
Wayne Crossman, President
Phone: (203) 268-0603
The Fire Museum is located in the Cheney National Historic District in Manchester- just twenty minutes away from Storrs. The museum building is an actual 1901 firehouse where hand- and horse-drawn fire vehicles were used early in the 20th-century. The collections of the museum include a Gamewell Fire Alarm System, a range of antique fire engines, a 1911 horse-drawn water tower, and hundreds of fire-related objects, including glassware, lighting, badges, photographs, textiles, paintings, and Currier & Ives lithographs. Summer internships for academic credit available.
Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program
Historic Deerfield, located about one hour from the UConn campus in a beautiful 330 year old Massachusetts village, has hosted students for summer fellowships since 1956. The prestigious nine-week program allows students hands-on study of manuscripts and early New England material life, using Historic Deerfield’s extensive collections (more than 25,000 objects made between 1650-1850) and 14 eighteenth and nineteenth century houses. Students will gain experience not only in museum studies and material culture, but will also develop their research skills and learn about interpreting New England history to the public. All admitted students will receive a $7500 fellowship which covers tuition, books, field trip expenses, and room and board for nine weeks. In addition, a limited number of monetary grants ranging from $500 to $2000 are awarded to students with demonstrated need to help cover lost summer income. Deadline for application is the first week in February. Visit the Historic Deerfield website for more information!
Litchfield Historical Society
The Litchfield Historical Society, founded in 1856, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Litchfield County through its museum, research library, and historic house. The Ingraham Memorial Research Library houses local archives, reference books, and genealogical material. The Tapping Reeve House, built in 1774, and the 1784 Law School interpret the family and home life of Tapping R eeve and his role in the development of American legal training. The Museum features seven galleries highlighting family life and work during the 50 years after the American Revolution. The Society offers separate internships in collections, education, and archives. Interns are required to work a minimum of 20 hours/week for 4 weeks, generally in the summer. Interns may have the opportunity to work as paid guides on the weekends and some housing is available. Internship placements are competitve and require an interview, writing sample, and two letters of recommendation.
Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society
The Vineyard has a rich and unique heritage due to its geological, maritime, political and agrarian history. The collections of the Society reflect the geological record and natural history of the island and the broad spectrum of the lives of its inhabitants from 10,000 years ago to present.
The Society operates the Gale Huntington Library; the Francis Foster Maritime Gallery; the 18th century Cooke House; the 1845 Captain Francis Pease House; the Gay Head Lens Tower with its 1856 Fresnel lens; the Carriage Shed exhibit of vessels and vehicles and a tryworks replica. It also has stewardship of the Edgartown, East Chop and Gay Head lighthouses.
To all applicants: Assistance with housing is available.
Mystic Seaport Summer Internship in Museum Studies
James T. Carlton, Director, Williams-Mystic Program
Phone: (860) 572-5359 x3
Christopher Dobbs, Program Director, Summer Internship
(860) 572-0711 x5035
Located about 45 minutes away on the Southeast coast of Connecticut, Mystic Seaport is a re-creation of a 19th century coastal village and is touted as the nation’s leading maritime museum. Interns use Mystic Seaport as a laboratory in museum education, historic interpretation, and museum practice. Summer internships are usually available in education, archives, conservation and curatorial, membership development, communications, and exhibits. The program is 10 weeks program and requires a full-time commitment (room rentals near museum are available). Stipends to help with cost of living are available (from $500 to $1,400). In the Fall and Spring, the Seaport also offers a semester-long program centered around history, literature, policy, and science of the sea through its Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies program. Admission to the program is competitive and open to undergraduates in good academic standing.
Newport Historical Society – Buchanan/Burnham Internship
At the NHS, interns have the opportunity to research and interpret three historic Rhode Island houses: the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House (circa 1675), the Great Friends Meeting House (1699), and the Newport Colony House (1739). Interns will regularly lead tours through these houses, while also executing a research project to contribute to the understanding and explanation of the site. Students will ultimately present their work through either a lecture or an educational program, and are eligible for publication in Newport History . Five positions are available and admission to the program is very competitive. Successful applicants receive a $3,000 stipend for approximately 10 weeks. Furnished rooms may be available for rent. The deadline for application is March 1.
Old York Historical Society
The Society is located in York, on the Southern Maine Coast, and consists of 7 historic buildings open to the public, including the oldest public structure still standing in the English colonies, the Old Gaol. The impressive collections highlight tavern life in the 18th century, merchants and the shipping trade, farming and agriculture, crime and punishment, and the early 20th century colonial revival. Each year, the Society hosts the Elizabeth Perkins Fellowship Program in Museum Practice, an intensive 12-week program designed to familiarize fellows with museum operations, provide a venue for doing meaningful research and presenting it in a public forum, and provide experience in historical interpretation. The fellowship is open to upper level undergraduates and graduate students. Selection is competitive, with 4 fellowships offered each summer. Fellows are awarded a $7000 fellowship, which covers tuition, books, field trip expenses, and riverfront housing in one of the historic houses for the length of the program. In addition, fellows receive a $2700 stipend for the summer. Application deadline is usually March 1 of each year, but for the exact date and a downloadable application, see the Education page on their website.
Step back in time almost four centuries and become part of the living history experience at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Staff members, through painstaking research, period costumes and dialect, and authentically reproduced buildings and artifacts, re-create the people and places of 17th-century Plymouth. Plimoth Plantation offers paid internships, partially paid internships and volunteer internships. Academic credit is available. Although the majority of internships take place over the summer, some autumn, spring and winter internships may also be offered. Common departments/areas for internships include education, farm department, foodways, horticulture, museum collections, and public relations. Limited housing available.
Windsor Historical Society
Amber Degn, Curator
Phone: (860) 688-3813
The Windsor Historical Society usually offers a paid curatorial internship for the Spring-Summer of each year. The WHS, located in one of the oldest communities in Connecticut (1633), includes three exhibition galleries, a hands-on learning center, a large genealogical and research library, and two 18th century house museums on site. The internship offers the opportunity to participate in all aspects of museum operations, though the primary focus will be on cataloging museum collections, with a secondary focus on exhibit planning. Applicants should be college juniors, seniors, or graduate students. The internship will be full-time (35 hours/week) for eight weeks, or equivalent, and includes a stipend of $2,000. Complete applications will include a letter of interest, resume, writing sample, and one (1) letter of recommendation. Application deadline in March- check with museum for exact date and for more information.
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum Wethersfield, CT
The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum promotes understanding of colonial life and its enduring influence in the lower Connecticut River Valley through the preservation and interpretation of the Museum’s buildings, collections, and grounds. The Webb house, built in 1752, is where George Washington and French General Rochambeau planned the last campaign of the American Revolution, and the nearby Buttolph-Williams House is the setting of the young adult novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond . The Silas Deane house showcases the life and times of the Revolutionary diplomat and statesman while the Isaac Stevens house offers a glimpse into the family life of an early 19th-century leatherworker.
The Marcia Wadhams Carleton Internship offers students the chance to learn the basics of museum operations, including museum education and research. The intern will complete a research project selected by the student and museum staff. Past interns have also gained experience in exhibit maintenance, processing archival materials, and museum education programs. The intern will work for 10-15 hours per week for approximately two months beginning in mid-June. After completion of the program, the intern will receive a stipend of $1000. Applications are usually due in April – check with the museum for this year’s deadline and project specifics.
Yale Center for British Art
The Yale Center for British Art houses the most comprehensive collection of British paintings, prints, drawings, rare books, and sculpture outside of Great Britain. The collection surveys the development of British art, thought, and life from the Elizabethan period onward. The Bartels Fellowship supports four museum interns each summer. The 8 week internship familiarizes students with all aspects of museum and curatorial operations. Stipends up to $2500 are available. Internships are competitive and applications require a transcript and two letters of recommendation, submitted by February 1. F
or other details, contact Beth Miller at the museum.
Additional Resources for History Internships
New England Museum Association Internship & Volunteer Portal
National Council for Public History
The National Council for Public History is the national professional organization for public historians and publishes the field’s journal The Public Historian. Their Resources page includes links to jobs and internships. The site, although useful, is not frequently updated.
The Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums
The Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums’ jobs and internships site is frequently updated and often includes opportunities in New England, although most are in the Midwest.
The Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association, although primarily focused on natural resource conservation, offers many internships and associate positions involving historic resource management and historic preservation. Click on “Conservation internships” for the main page, with opportunities searchable by location, length and type of job, and interests.