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2016 Summer Internships for Harvard Students

Museum Internship

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

We will welcome applications for the 2016 internships beginning in December 2015. 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.

2015 Summer Internships

Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report

The publications department is seeking a summer intern to assist with the production of the 2014–2015 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: Byzantine Collection Catalogues

The Dumbarton Oaks Museum has world-class collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian objects, as well as a House Collection of Medieval and Renaissance art. The galleries are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. The museum also hosts a program of in-house temporary exhibitions, gallery talks, and other events. The intern will work on two specific projects:

The intern will assist with establishing an electronic database as well as with the rotation and installation of coin displays in the museum’s galleries. The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is home to one of the world’s greatest collection of Byzantine coins. The approx. 12,000 coins span the duration of the Byzantine empire and afford unique insight into its sociopolitical and economic history. In addition to gaining knowledge about Byzantine numismatics, the intern will acquire experience in collection database management procedures.

The second project will support the preparation of the online catalogue of the museum’s Byzantine/early Islamic textile collection. The intern will assist with standardizing the project’s shared bibliography compiled in Zotero (an open source reference management tool), including checking for consistency in data entry; following up incomplete entries by checking online record with resources in library; and editing/adding bibliographic entries.

Through these two projects the intern will participate in collection catalogue work, engage in research and development of exhibition concepts, and acquire skills related to curation and exhibition preparation.

Dumbarton Oaks Seals

Dumbarton Oaks is home to the world¹s largest collection of Byzantine seals. These are a fascinating source for Byzantine administrative, military, ecclesiastical, social, and art history.  Since 2010 Dumbarton Oaks has been creating an online catalogue of its 17,000 seals, published online. The intern will work with the seals team to catalogue seals, input data and add images. During the internship the student will learn much about the field of sigillography and how to date, read, and identify Byzantine seals, as well as have a chance to examine the objects themselves, and how to develop content in the Plone content management system.

No prior knowledge of Byzantine seals is necessary, but a reading knowledge of French and/or Greek is desirable.

Dumbarton Oaks Oral History Project

The Oral History Project at Dumbarton Oaks began in 2008 with the mission of interviewing and recording individuals who are or have been significantly associated with Dumbarton Oaks. By the conclusion of the internship, the intern will have (1) researched the biographies of potential interviewees, employing the Dumbarton Oaks Archives, Library, and online resources; (2) conducted several hour-long audiovisual interviews; (3) transcribed these and any outstanding interviews from the audiovisual discs; and (4) prepared and published the transcribed interviews on the Dumbarton Oaks website. The intern will also have authored and published several creative blog posts. From this work, Dumbarton Oaks will have obtained and disseminated important information about its founders, its history, and its fellowship and other programs.

Although no prior experience with either oral history interviewing or social media posting is required, the intern will gain or improve skills in (1) identifying resources and undertaking research; (2) conducting an insightful and relevant interview; (3) understanding Dumbarton Oaks’ cultural history, especially as it pertains to its founders and academic programs; (4) honing computer and web publication skills; and (5) developing writing skills in the authoring and publication of blog posts.

75th Anniversary Social Media

The intern will assist with the research and creation of social media postings related to the 75th anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks, to be celebrated between September 2015 and May 2016. Activities and responsibilities will include (1) researching the institute’s personnel, programs, and activities during its first period of significance, from 1940 to 1974, using the resources of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives and Library as well as online resources; (2) preparing from this research short illustrated postings for (a) the Dumbarton Oaks website, including an illustrated timeline slider, (b) possibly a stand-alone blog to be initiated and designed by the intern, and (c) various established blog and Facebook pages; and (3) composing posts on the institute’s history to be published through Twitter. No HTML or other coding experience or publication experience is required, although some familiarity with social media and web/blog posting is desirable. Demonstrated research and creative writing skills would be an advantage.

Orientation Gallery Exhibition: Stephens and Catherwood Revisited

The Pre-Columbian Studies department is preparing an exhibition in the Orientation Gallery entitled “Maya Ruins and the Passage of Time: Stephens and Catherwood Revisited,” featuring the work of photographer Professor Jay Frogel. The intern will manage the exhibition installation process; tasks will include coordinating directly with the photographer, planning and designing the exhibition layout, writing and editing both print and online exhibition materials, executing the installation, and planning an artist’s talk. The intern will document the entire exhibition process with regular blog entries for the Dumbarton Oaks website.

The intern will gain firsthand knowledge of the preparation and installation of a small exhibition, building skills in budgeting, artist management, art handling, installation, and event planning. In addition to writing exhibition materials for print and web, the intern will gain experience with professional blogging and website content management. Training will focus on the professional practices and procedures in an academic library and museum setting, and the intern will benefit from his/her role as a part of the scholarly community of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.

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.

Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives: Oral History Initiative

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at Dumbarton Oaks is the repository for the records produced by fieldwork projects sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks and the Byzantine Institute. From the 1930s through the 1980s, these projects were conducted at Byzantine sites and monuments throughout the Mediterranean. Over the past three years, ICFA staff have been processing these archival collections, which consist of fieldwork notebooks, drawings, photographs, etc., created by a variety of individuals. In some cases, ICFA staff have been able to contact participants to learn about their experiences, working methods, and techniques in the field. In addition, ICFA has collaborated with the Dumbarton Oaks Archives (DOA) to conduct 6 oral histories with individuals related to the fieldwork archives.

The intern will transcribe all available ICFA oral histories and further develop the web presence for ICFA’s fieldwork oral histories. The intern will transcribe the interviews following ICFA’s standards, edit the existing and new video files and transcriptions and upload them to Vimeo and Plone, and create individual pages for the new oral histories in Plone, including narrative descriptions and catalogue entries for the newly uploaded interviews.

During the internship, the student will acquire new skills and receive training for

  • transcribing oral history interviews, using ICFA’s Oral History Manual for Staff and Interns, Donald Ritchie’s Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide, and in consultation with James Carder, Dumbarton Oaks Archives;
  • developing content in the Plone content management system;
  • editing files with audio and video editing and playback software;
  • researching individuals and creating concise catalogue descriptions in Word and Plone; and
  • conducting biographical research on other potential interviewees and drafting questions for future interviews.

Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives: Photograph Study Collection

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at Dumbarton Oaks houses one of the most important photograph collections related to Byzantine art and architecture in the world.

As part of a comprehensive inventory of its holdings, ICFA seeks a summer intern to enhance the existing inventories for the Black-and-White Photograph study collection. Previous attempts to inventory the contents of the collection have resulted in site-level inventories. The intern will build upon these efforts by updating geographic and subject terms; correcting inaccuracies in the inventories, as well as in the box contents and labels; and identifying groups of materials created by individual photographers. ICFA’s new collection management system AtoM@DO provides the opportunity to present these physically separated materials as coherent photographers’ collections and make them more accessible online, while at the same time interlinking them with their physical location within the Black-and-White Photograph study collection. The summer intern’s inventory work will be incorporated into AtoM@DO and will enhance access to those invaluable photographs.

During the internship, the intern will learn about the importance of photographic archives for the study of art and architecture and become intimately acquainted with the contents of the collections and their contribution to the research of important Byzantine scholars. The intern will also learn about the importance of photographic documentation in the practice of conservation, archaeology, and scholarship. In the process, the intern will learn how to identify photographic techniques and formats and best practices for handling and preserving archival materials. Furthermore, by engaging with staff in the archival and visual resources professions, as well as a Byzantine subject specialist, the intern can explore a variety of career paths open to those with academic training in the humanities.

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.

Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship Archive and Exhibit

The Fellowship program is at the heart of the mission of Dumbarton Oaks, with former Fellows making their mark on the three core fields of study: Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Having a centralized record of their names, topics, and subsequent careers will help the institution better track its history and consolidate and expand its outreach.

The intern will utilize departmental lists, annual reports, and other electronic and hardcopy files to create a centralized, online catalogue of Dumbarton Oaks Fellows. The catalogue may incorporate photographs of Fellows past and present, along with images of museum objects they studied, a photograph or clip of a research report, or perhaps narrative memories from the historical record that includes handwritten or typed notes residing in different departments. Included in the catalogue will be a geographic representation of Fellows’ home institutions and their physical areas of research in order to visualize the ways in which the Fellowship body grew or changed over time.

In addition, the intern will research, interview, photograph, and record individual Summer Fellows to create short video clips, with a view to preparing an online exhibit of Summer Fellows for the institutional website. The individual video clips will feature the Fellows’ research projects and situate them in active engagement with the Dumbarton Oaks collections (library, rare books, museum) and spaces (gardens, refectory, new Fellowship House).

The exhibit will offer an intimate glimpse of a summer at Dumbarton Oaks from the perspective of the scholar, highlight the resources available, and serve to promote future academic programs. This internship would appeal to a wide array of interests (academic programming, institutional management, curatorial studies, outreach media). We encourage candidates with an interest in institutional history and academic administration, as well as graphic design and representation. Experience in video-recording and other online digital media is an advantage.

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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