George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Undergraduate Summer Internships

Undergraduate Summer Internships

Do you have an interest in preserving U.S. history and sharing it with the public? Do you
want to put your knowledge of history and your research skills to good use this summer?
The Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State invites applications from qualified Penn
State undergraduate students for two paid positions at Harpers Ferry National Historical
Park, and three paid positions at the National Park Service’s Gettysburg National Military
Park during the summer of 2024. The internships provide students with hands-on public
history and archeology work experience. These noncredit internships come with a $3,500
stipend and free housing at the national parks.

Gettysburg National Military Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Deadline: Monday, January 15, 2024

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is looking for:

Interpretation intern: Are you interested in presenting engaging history content to the
public? This in-person internship is an opportunity to work in Public History with National
Park Service rangers in the Harpers Ferry’s Interpretation, Education, and
Partnerships team. This intern will develop public presentations and walking tours on a
variety of topics, including but not limited to, the United States Armory and industry at
Harpers Ferry, American slavery, John Brown’s raid, the Civil War, Storer College (one of
the nation’s first HBCUs), and the genesis of the Civil Rights movement including the
Niagara Movement and the National League of Colored Women. They will have additional
opportunities to learn and present third-person Living History programs such as historic
weapons demonstrations. The staff will provide each intern time to research and develop
their programs. 

This intern will work in the park’s Visitor Contact Station, greeting and orienting visitors to
the park. They may also staff exhibits in the Historic Harpers Ferry Lower Town such as
the John Brown Museum. Interns will be expected to hike the park’s trails to familiarize
themselves with the routes and difficulties, and to rove high-trafficked outdoor areas of the
park such as the Lower Town sidewalks to assist visitors. They will also experience digital
interpretation as a part of the Park’s social media team for the summer. 

Housing will be provided in the Historic Harpers Ferry Lower Town, with internet access.
Interns will work a full-time, forty-hour per week schedule. Summer temperatures in
Harpers Ferry often exceed ninety degrees with high humidity. Park hiking trails range from
short, easy walks, to strenuous hikes of six to eight miles. Interns may be asked to lift
objects up to thirty pounds, such as plastic tables or boxes of park brochures. 

Gettysburg National Military Park is looking for interns in:

Interpretive operations: Are you interested in education, public facing history, and
storytelling? As interpretive operations intern you will do research, design historical
presentations for the public, and put on programs for park visitors (particularly
families) that interpret the history of the town, the battle, and their broader historical
significance, highlighting the experiences of civilians and soldiers alike. The intern
will also work in Visitor Services, ensuring that visitors to Gettysburg make the most
of their time at the park. Ideal applicants are those enthusiastic and engaging in
public-facing roles and interested in working with families and children.

Museum services: Are you interested in experience in museum and archival
studies? As museum services intern you will learn the fundamental skills of archival
and museum management. Interns help to install museum exhibits and to inventory
and conserve the park’s vast historical collections. These collections include diaries
and letter collections from soldiers and civilians, as well as material objects, such
as flags, banners, uniforms, weapons, paintings, and prints, among other items.

Cultural resource history: Are you interested in conducting historical research
about Gettysburg, or the African American families residing in the area? As cultural
resource history intern you will work with the physical resources of Gettysburg
National Military Park. Since 1999, Gettysburg was subject to an aggressive
treatment and management program to rehabilitate the battlefield landscape. The
intern will contribute to historical research in support of this program. The research
will involve primary and secondary sources in local archives. Document examples
include cultural landscape reports, historic structure reports, and background
material for compliance documentation. The selected intern will have the
opportunity to participate in applied history projects and discussions with other
park staff— including the management team, regional office staff, as well as staff
from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Some fieldwork on the
battlefield may be required.  

Archeological intern: Are you interested in participating in archeological
fieldwork? As archeological intern you will assist the park archeologist in the
excavation and identification of archeological sites within the park. The intern will
also assist in the care and curation of archeological collections and the
development and presentation of archeological findings through public programs
and written reports. The intern will develop practical skills through planning and
conducting archeological research—including field methods, collections
management, satellite mapping, archeological documentation, and archival
research. The work will provide real-world experiences alongside practicing
professionals. Interested candidates should be aware that fieldwork occurs
outdoors in various environmental conditions and summer temperature extremes.
Successful candidates must be able to bend, kneel, and lift at least twenty pounds.
Office work, including archival research and collections care and curation will be
sedentary in nature. The candidate should have a current driver’s license in good

Each year, Richards Center interns play a crucial role in the National Park Service’s mission
to preserve U.S. history and help visitors make sense of the nation’s past. If you would like
the opportunity to support this mission and gain valuable skills in historical interpretation,
communication, research, preservation, and public education, we encourage you to apply
by following the directions below.

Application process: Applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average at Penn
State University Park and have not graduated by the time of the internship. Applicants
must: 1) submit a one-page statement of interest detailing why they would like to work at
Gettysburg National Military Park and how they think the experience will further their
education. In this statement, applicants should also specify which internship(s) they are
most interested in. 2) Applicants must also provide a résumé, one letter of
recommendation from a faculty member (email is acceptable), and an unofficial transcript
(it is not necessary to provide a certified official Penn State transcript). Statements of
interest and transcripts must be received by Monday, January 15, 2024. Letters of
recommendation can follow.

Direct all application materials to Abena Boakyewa-Ansah, associate director of the
Richards Center, at

Funding is made possible through the generous support of Larry and Lynne Brown,
Matthew Isham, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.