Field Museum Internship
In cooperation with the Chicago Field Museum, Notre Dame's Department of Anthropology has established a summer internship program open to anthropology majors and minors. This internship is intended to help inspire more of our students to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology, and while planning to go to graduate school for anthropology is not a requirement for this internship, it will help your candidacy.
The internship takes place during the Notre Dame summer vacation. Students will be supported with a stipend to help defray costs associated with transportation, housing, and meals.
The students selected for the Field Museum internships in Chicago work with the Museum’s staff on their priceless collections, including tasks like helping with new acquisitions, and will get to see museum work from an insider's perspective.
Interns will report to Dr. William Parkinson, Curator of Anthropology in the Negaunee Integrative Research Center, and will have the opportunity to work with museum faculty and staff to process finds and data from archaeological field work at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois and to help organize and inventory materials from archaeological expeditions in Egypt and the Near East. To see the types of other projects on which curators are currently working, please review the Field Museum website.
Please see below to read about the experiences of previous interns.
Applicants should submit a complete application as attachments in an email with the subject line “Field Museum Internship” to Prof. Eric Haanstad at EJHaanstad@nd.edu. A complete application consists of:
a letter of application (describing why you would like to be an intern at the Field and your qualifications)
a curriculum vitae (not a resume)
full contact information for at least one recommender who could provide a letter of recommendation if requested by the committee
a transcript (a photocopy of an official transcript is acceptable)
The internship selection committee is unable to consider incomplete application packets and/or application packets submitted after the deadline. Graduating seniors are ineligible to apply.
Submission Deadline: March 15, 2024, 5 p.m.
Previous Intern Stories:
Julia Johnston — Field Museum Intern, Summer 2022
During my experience as an intern at the Field Museum this summer I was given the amazing opportunity to work with Dr. Bill Parkinson as well as Dr. Jim Phillips and their archaeological collections. Both myself and my coworker Caitlin Conly assisted in cataloging and inputting information into a database for different artifacts excavated from their respective sites of interest, starting with the Native American site of Midewin in Illinois which is currently in the process of being surveyed and excavated by Dr. Parkinson.
We cleaned, organized, and imputed information about artifacts from different shovel test pits taken from the site into a database for the first week to assist in zeroing in on the best location to begin the full excavation of the site. We were also given the chance to visit the site and learn how to use GPS technology to find the exact coordinates of significant locations within the area. Dr. Phillips has many artifacts from different sites in both Egypt and Africa that are now located in the museum from earlier excavations, focusing specifically on the paleolithic period, that we were able to organize, record, and input into a database during our internship. This allowed for all of the important information on lithics discovered from his research to be more easily accessible to the museum for future research opportunities.
Not only did this internship teach me more about the archaeological process beyond just the actual excavation, it also gave me an inside look into how a museum curates different information and eventually presents it in a way consumable by the general public, not just to academics. This has been an incredibly influential experience for me as a student in terms of both academic connections as well as information about possible future careers, and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work at such an important institution for the summer alongside such amazing people.
Claire Stanecki — Field Museum Intern, Summer 2019
I am extremely grateful to have worked at the Field Museum this past summer. I worked in the Anthropology Department as an Integrative Research Center intern. I worked with Dr. Mark Golitko on his research and was overseen by Dr. Lisa Niziolek, the Boone Research Scientist in Asian Anthropology at the museum.
I spent most of my days in an anthropology lab conducting compositional data analysis on obsidian from the Hopewell collection. I was trained on a pXRF and ran over 1,500 scans. 664 of those scans were conducted on obsidian from the Hopewell collection itself (blads, flakes, spears, etc). The other 898 scans were conducted on raw samples of obsidian from Idaho, Yellowstone, Arizona, and New Mexico that were collected by Dr. Mark Golitko to be used as a cross-reference to the Hopewell obsidian.
In addition to analyzing the obsidian, I photographed, labeled, and reorganized parts of the collection in order to easily pair an object with its scan. I also worked in the museum’s database and archives to learn as much as I could about the objects I was working with, many of which have been at the museum since its opening in 1893.
The opportunity to work with 2,000-year-old artifacts and get a glimpse at the inner workings of a world-class museum is absolutely invaluable to me. I learned so much and loved spending my summer at the Field Museum!
Clay Jaskowski - Field Museum Intern, Summer 2018
This summer I was extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to intern at The Field Museum in Chicago. While at the museum, I worked under Chris Philipp, Julia Kennedy, and Dr. Mark Golitko. Each of my respective supervisors offered incredible insight and taught me valuable lessons throughout the course of my time at the museum. Chris, the Pacific Collections Manager, has worked at the Field Museum for over 20 years, and seemingly knew every object of the tens of thousands in the Pacific Collection. Julia, the Assistant Collections Manager, was always super helpful and taught me both technical database skills, as well as how to catalog and scan information into archives. Dr. Golitko, whose research I was working on for the majority of my time at the museum, taught me how to use pXRF and introduced me to my first real research experience.
My main role while at the museum was to measure the chemical composition of obsidian tips on the end of daggers and spears through use of pXRF. Over my two months at the museum, I scanned and recorded information on over 600 spears and daggers. This data is now being used in further research. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity that was granted to me over the summer. I would like to especially thank all of my supervisors, as well as the Coss family, whose generous financial assistance made this possible.
For other students considering this opportunity, I don’t have much to say except that this experience has been absolutely fantastic, and I cannot think of many better ways to spend a summer.