Archival Internships

Position title: Photographic Materials Intern

Duration: 10 weeks during Summer or Fall 2016 (specific dates negotiable)
Hours: 40 hours per week (Monday-Friday)
Stipend: $6,000 (based on $15/hour), to paid in two or three installments

Position Summary: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is one of the leading independent special collections libraries in the United States. HSP holds several hundred linear feet of photographic materials, including the oldest known photograph shot in North America. These holdings also include almost 100 linear feet of cellulose acetate and cellulose nitrate film (mostly negatives), much of which is significantly deteriorated and requires improved storage, digital reformatting, or proper disposal. All acetate and nitrate film in HSP’s holdings has previously been identified and its stage of deterioration has been assessed.

The Photographic Specialist, a member of the Library staff, will use this previously compiled data to determine appropriate next steps for the acetate and nitrate film and sort it accordingly. He or she will also plan for and possibly implement cold storage and appropriate disposal for specific materials where these measures are called for.



  • Identify film which should be immediately discarded
  • Identify film which should be digitized as soon as possible and then discarded
  • Identify film which should be digitized in the near future and advise about preservation of those images
  • Liaise with appropriate organizations to dispose of identified materials.
  • Research cold storage for identified materials.


  • Rehouse some materials to new archival housing.
  • Record additional information about film items, pairing negatives and positives where possible. 
  • Identify conservation issues and recommend follow-up tasks.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: This internship is open to current students in, and recent graduates from, master’s programs in photographic preservation or a closely related field. Candidates must be able to identify nitrate and cellulose negatives; have a good understanding of film deterioration and its symptoms; have strong organization, time management, and problem-solving skills; have the ability to work independently; be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; be authorized to work in the United States; be able to pass the background check; and be able to lift 40 pounds.

Preferred qualifications include: Familiarity and experience with photograph processes from early 20th century; experience rehousing photographic negatives; experience working in an archives or special collections library; digitization experience; familiarity with Archivists’ Toolkit software and Adobe Creative Suite; and the ability to assess conservation needs for photographic materials.

To apply: Submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references by April 22, 2016 to:

Tara O’Brien
Director of Preservation and Conservation Services
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA
215.732.6200 ext. 245

Position Title: Archival Intern

Due to staffing issues, HSP’s archival internship has been temporarily suspended, and we are not accepting applications at this time. Please check back for updates on when it will resume, or contact Cary Hutto at for further information.

Position Summary: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania seeks individuals who wish to gain practical experience in a professional archival setting. Internships are developed on an individual basis and every effort is made to match the intern’s interests and expectations with the tasks assigned. Projects may include organizing and describing archival materials, assisting with the preservation of collection items, working on a larger collection with a staff member, or assisting with overall collections management and care.

Position Requirements: For archival internships, HSP gives preference to candidates who are currently enrolled in or have recently completed a graduate-level program in archival management or a closely related field (usually an MLS, MLIS, or MA in public history). All prospective interns must have strong research, writing, and communication skills, as well as a willingness to learn. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references. They must also visit the HSP for an interview and pass a background check. Interns who are receiving class credit for the internship must meet the requirements of the home department and make sure HSP staff knows about the requirements as well. All interns should have at least eight hours per week to devote to their internship.

Term: Negotiable

Stipend: Currently, HSP does not have any archival internship stipends available.

Cary Hutto
Assistant Director of Archives
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-732-6200 x307