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2016 Summer Internships for Harvard Students


Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in Washington, D.C., is an institute of Harvard University that supports scholarship in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Located in the historic district of Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks includes a museum with outstanding collections of Byzantine, Pre-Colombian, and European art; a state-of-the-art research library; and beautiful gardens designed by renowned landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, which are open to the public.

The summer internship program for Harvard students at Dumbarton Oaks has met with great success in recent years. Harvard undergraduate and graduate students have worked on a variety of institutional projects ranging from online exhibits and garden excavations to preparation of publications and the mounting of exhibitions.

The 2016 term of summer internship appointments is from June 6 to August 5. Summer internships carry a stipend of $15/hour for a 35-hour week. Housing and subsidized lunch in the refectory ($5/day) are provided. For more details, please write to

To apply for an internship, please send (1) your résumé, (2) a statement of interest describing any relevant experience and how this internship fits into your personal and professional development, and (3) a separate sheet with the names of two referees familiar with your scholarly work, along with their titles and contact information (preferably as one PDF document) to The deadline for applications is February 19, 2016.

The deadline for the Seals Collection Catalogue and Byzantine Manuscripts on Microfilm application has been extended until March 4, 2016. If you have any questions about applications, please contact 

2016 Summer Internships

Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report

The publications department is seeking a summer intern to assist with the production of the 2015–2016 Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report, the official record of the institution’s programs and activities.

The summer intern will be responsible for gathering text and images from several departments across Dumbarton Oaks; copyediting for house style and consistency using the Chicago Manual of Style; choosing and editing images for, and preparing the layout of, the annual report; and managing the proofreading process. 

The intern will learn basic copyediting, image editing, and design skills; develop project management skills; gain an understanding of project schedules and workflows; and hone his/her communication skills. To view selected issues of Dumbarton Oaks Annual Reports, please see here.

Museum Deinstallation and Reinstallation Project 

The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is famous for its world-class collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian objects as well as for its small collection of important Western Medieval and Renaissance art. The museum department hosts a program of temporary exhibitions, gallery talks, and other events. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In May of 2016 the museum staff will focus on the deinstallation of the majority of objects on permanent display in the galleries in order to prepare for a major interior lighting and architectural upgrade project, followed by reinstallation in the fall. The intern will gain unique insight into the behind-the- scenes activities, tasks, and challenges of the curation and management of collections. Questions of object handling, preservation, and storage, as well as research and development of new exhibition concepts will be addressed. 

Besides this major and special project, the intern will assist with data entry in conjunction with two running catalogue projects—the Online Catalogue of Byzantine Coins and the Online Catalogue of the Byzantine and early Islamic Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections. In addition to gaining knowledge about the specific fields of media and collections, the intern will acquire experience with electronic database management, the Plone content management system, and online publication procedures and workflows. 

Central America and Colombia Catalogue Project

The intern will compile and edit the bibliography for the Dumbarton Oaks Central America and Colombia catalogue. The project will entail proofreading and revising current citations within the catalogue text for style and consistency and using Endnote or similar software to create and finalize the catalogue bibliography. The bibliography will build on recent revisions of the publication histories of individual objects in the collection and focus primarily on citations integrated in the collaborative essays that, with the object descriptions, form the foundation of the catalogue.

The intern will work closely with the Director of Pre-Columbian Studies and the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies. Some research will be required to verify particular sources or identify additional works that should be referenced. The applicant should be conversant in Spanish, have a background in Pre-Columbian anthropology, archaeology, or art history, and have familiarity with Microsoft Office and Endnote, Zotero, or similar bibliographic software. Training will focus on the professional practices and procedures in an academic library and museum setting, and the intern will benefit from his or her role as a part of the Pre-Columbian Studies scholarly community at Dumbarton Oaks. 

Byzantine Manuscripts on Microfilm

The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library holds almost 2,000 microfilm rolls that are reproductions of medieval and early modern Greek manuscripts,
the originals of which are held in institutions around the world. The summer intern will review microfilm from the Istanbul Patriarchate Library, conduct limited research on the contents of the manuscripts, and enter information in a database that allows researchers to search for specific manuscripts represented within the collection.

In addition to receiving training in bibliographic description and metadata entry in the content management system, the intern will develop deeper knowledge of Greek manuscript studies and research tools. The internship requires strong knowledge of Byzantine Greek, reading knowledge of French, and some knowledge of Greek paleography. Reading knowledge of modern Greek preferred. 

Dumbarton Oaks Outreach Media

The outreach media intern will pitch, storyboard, shoot, and edit short videos and create outreach materials showcasing Dumbarton Oaks collections, programming, and community. These materials will be distributed online and in the institutional newsletter. The intern will also be responsible for surveying the landscape of outreach media made available by other cultural and academic institutions and establishing a plan for future directions that Dumbarton Oaks may take.

The intern will have the opportunity to gain skills in research, reporting, and video editing, and to build a portfolio of media work that demonstrates these abilities. Through interviews and the preparation of newsletter features, the intern will gain insight into the activities and organization of diverse departments: historic gardens, research library, photographic archive, museum, and fellowship program. By researching and contributing to scholarly and public programming, the intern will be introduced to several aspects of nonprofit management, communications, and outreach in the stimulating environment of Georgetown and Washington, D.C. This is a great opportunity for a student with video and communication skills who is interested in the workings of cultural and academic institutions.

Garden Biodiversity Enrichment

Dumbarton Oaks is seeking an intern with enthusiasm and aptitude for design and native plants and insects, including species identification. The intern will be responsible for maintaining a pollinator habitat created in the gardens in the spring of 2016 that features indigenous trees, shrubs, and forbs, as well as collecting and interpreting data. In addition, the intern will plan and implement a water garden of native aquatic plants similar in design to one drawn by Beatrix Farrand in about 1930.

The intern will research other opportunities for improving biodiversity in the gardens, including possible collaborations with plant conservation organizations. The intern will acquire knowledge of ecological relationships in Piedmont and Coastal Plain habitats, with a particular focus on pollinators, host plants, and native aquatic species, and the use of native plants in historic garden design. The intern will be supervised by the Director of Gardens and the Director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. 

Public Programming and Outreach

The Director’s Office is the administrative center of Dumbarton Oaks and handles institutional communications and outreach. The intern will help with a variety of outreach projects involving scholarly communities that are relevant to Dumbarton Oaks as well as the general public.

Under the guidance of the Executive Director and the Communications and Outreach Fellow, the Public Programming and Outreach intern will focus
largely on institutional outreach to Spanish-speaking visitors to the museum, particularly those from Spanish-speaking communities in D.C., and visitors from Central and South America. This intern will work to translate institutional outreach materials into Spanish and prepare programming for students, teachers, and families that make use of our museum and library collections related to Pre-Columbian Studies.

In addition, the intern will contribute to the monthly electronic newsletter by researching potential topics, conducting interviews with staff members and visiting scholars, and/or preparing images and text. Newsletter material will initially be suggested, but it is hoped that through learning about the institution, its departments and ongoing projects, the intern will come to contribute his or her own ideas for appropriate material. Through interviews and article preparations, the intern will gain insight into the activities and organization of the diverse resources of the institution—historic gardens, research library, photographic archive, museum, and fellowship program.

We welcome applicants who are interested in learning about nonprofit management and the inner-workings of cultural institutions. Applicants should be native speakers or have advanced knowledge of Spanish. Previous translation experience is also desirable. 

Dumbarton Oaks Ephemera Acquisitions

The acquisition intern will research, purchase, and catalogue historic postcards and ephemera that are relevant to Dumbarton Oaks and to the three institutional areas of study (Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies). The intern will record the rationale for each purchase, along with annotations on the item and its relation to the history, holdings, or mission of Dumbarton Oaks. The resulting collection will serve as a resource for scholars and, via digital publication, the general public. The ideal candidate has a demonstrated interest and expertise in one of the three areas of study.

The intern will have the opportunity to familiarize him- or herself with the areas of study, the institutional history, acquisition and cataloging procedures, and archival practices. This internship will allow the intern to develop research skills and to work independently to establish a new collection at Dumbarton Oaks.

Seals Collection Catalogue

Dumbarton Oaks houses the world’s largest collection of Byzantine seals. These objects are a fundamental resource for the study of the structure and government of the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine art history, personal piety, prosopography, and social history. Since 2010 Dumbarton Oaks has been building an online catalogue to present the seals to the widest possible audience.

The seals team is looking for a summer intern to help with the next phase of this catalogue—entering additional seals into the online content management system (Plone). These seals have inscriptions in the form of poetry and are among the most creative and interesting in the entire collection. The intern will learn how to read, date, and interpret Byzantine seals and have the opportunity to handle and work with the objects themselves.

Applicants should have knowledge of classical or medieval Greek. 

Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library

The Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (DOML), published by Harvard University Press, was launched in 2010 and already includes more than 25 volumes. The three subseries of DOML include Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, and Old English. The standard format of the series presents original texts with facing-page translations and limited commentary, and is designed to make the written achievements of medieval and Byzantine culture available to both scholars and general readers in the English-speaking world.

Up to three summer interns will help prepare volumes for publication in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. They will read, edit, and comment on the medieval Latin subseries submissions, ensuring that texts, translations, notes, and all other parts of the submission adhere to DOML style guidelines. As model readers, interns make sure that submissions are in line with our mission of making texts and translations accessible to scholars and educated nonspecialists alike.

Interns will be trained to identify and standardize medieval Latin orthography, to copyedit and proofread for DOML style, and to interact diplomatically with translators. They will also learn the process by which a proposal becomes a published volume and observe firsthand how texts are translated into English, often for the first time. This summer they will again have the opportunity to bolster DOML’s social media presence.

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