You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

LILAC Partner Internship: American Philosophical Society Curatorial Research

* Do not apply for this opportunity through handshake. Apply through the LILAC summer funding application below*

Summer Internship in Curatorial Research at the American Philosophical Society

Summer 2018

Philadelphia, PA


Application Deadline: April 2nd

The APS Museum seeks an intern whose interests include cultural history, history of science, art history, early American history, Philadelphia history, material culture, and/or museum studies. Curatorial interns work alongside staff curators in the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum. Interns will assist curators in researching and planning the Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Mapping the New Nation (working title), to open in April 2019. Interns will join a small, versatile staff and will have the opportunity to see all aspects of museum work in action. Research sources include the APS Library’s map collection (described in Realms of Gold: A Catalogue of Maps in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, available online at, and the wide range of archival and book collections of the APS Library, the APS Museum object collections, and outside scholarly sources. Interns will have the opportunity to assist curatorial staff on the preliminary stages of the exhibition—exploring APS Library’s collection of early American maps, conducting research on early American mapmakers and their wider context, studying the methods by which maps were created, printed, and used, and choosing papers and objects for exhibition. Interns will gain skills in archival research, collections research, exhibition development, and exhibition management, and will also have opportunities to observe conservation, education, outreach and collections management work at the Museum.

Examples of duties include the following activities:

·       Assist with scholarly historical research for use in Museum exhibitions, public programs, and publications using Museum, Library and outside sources

·       Identify potential collections and/or objects for exhibition

·       Determine the provenance of archival or object collections

·       Photograph, describe, and document artifacts

·       Create and maintain databases of the exhibition checklist

·       Review concept documents for exhibition development


About the Upcoming Exhibition

Mapping the New Nation (working title)

April – December 2019

The exhibition will display historical maps, surveying instruments, texts, and other objects to show how maps were used to create and extend the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while reinforcing and creating structural inequalities in the Early Republic. Mapping the New Nation will emphasize the processes that produced maps – surveying, drawing, engraving, and printing – as well as what maps produced.  It will also shed light on the way the people who created maps during the early national period functioned as political actors – and the way maps functioned as political and ideological tools – to express multiple, sometimes competing visions of what the new United States would be.

Mapping the New Nation will particularly highlight the way maps were used during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the way that use affects the preservation and conservation of those maps today. Among the many maps and other objects on display, it will showcase the APS Library’s 1757 “Mitchell Map,” widely considered to be one of the most important maps of the 18th century.

Drawing from the extensive APS Library collections of maps and related materials, as well as the APS Museum’s collections of objects, this exhibition will trace the creation and use of maps in the Early Republic to investigate the way maps, as both artwork and practical tool, took on political and social meaning.


About the APS Museum

The APS Museum, founded in 2001, develops original interdisciplinary exhibitions that take place in Philosophical Hall, adjacent to Independence Hall in Philadelphia’s historic district. Exhibitions explore the intersections of history, art, and science, and relate the historical materials on view to relevant issues today. Based on past attendance figures, it is anticipated that this exhibition will attract over 100,000 visitors.

APS Museum collections include approximately 3,000 artifacts, models, artworks, scientific instruments, and other objects dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Objects were acquired predominantly through past APS members and scientific activities of the APS. The collection reflects the central role of the APS and Philadelphia in the founding of the nation as well as the development of science and technology in the colonies and early Republic. The collection is strongest in objects relating to early American history (especially Benjamin Franklin, the APS’s founder) and scientific and technological instruments.


About the APS Library

The American Philosophical Society Library is a major national center for research in Early American history and the history of the sciences, medicine, and technology. With its roots extending back to the founding of the Society in 1743, it houses over thirteen million manuscripts, 350,000 volumes and bound periodicals, 250,000 images, and thousands of hours of audio tape.

Among the many extraordinary books in the collections of printed materials are first editions of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia, a presentation copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, the double elephant folio of Audubon’s Birds of North America, as well as a significant portion of Franklin’s personal library.

Manuscript collections range from eighteenth-century natural history, American Indian linguistics and culture, to nuclear physics, computer development, and medical science. The Library is among the premier institutions in the nation for documenting the history of genetics and eugenics, the study of natural history in the 18th and 19th centuries, quantum mechanics, and the development of cultural anthropology in America.




Dr. Erin M. Holmes


phone: 215-599-4286