George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Undergraduate Summer Internships

Undergraduate Summer Internships

Do you have an interest in preserving our nation’s history and sharing it with the public? Do you want to put your knowledge of history to good use this summer?

The Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State invites applications from qualified Penn State undergraduate students for four paid positions at National Park Service historic sites during the summer of 2020: two at Gettysburg National Military Park and two at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The internships provide students hands-on experience in the work of public history. These non-credit internships come with a $3,500 stipend and free housing at the national parks.

Gettysburg National Military Park

  • Interpretive operations: The interpretive operations intern designs historical presentations for the public and puts on programs for park visitors that interpret the history of the town and the battle, highlighting the experiences of civilians and soldiers alike. This intern also periodically designs and participates in living history programs that educate the public on life in the nineteenth century.
  • Museum services: The museum services intern will learn 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 and banners, uniforms and weapons, and paintings and prints, among other items.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

  • Education division: The education division intern develops and leads a living history program for middle school students, centered on John Brown’s Raid and the conflict over slavery that led to the Civil War. The intern uses the outdoor environment at Harpers Ferry as their classroom. Other duties include educating visitors about different aspects of Harpers Ferry’s long history.
  • Visitor services: The visitor services intern develops public presentations and walking tours on a variety of topics, including but not limited to, Thomas Jefferson’s survey of the area, John Brown’s Raid, the founding of Storer College (one of the nation’s first HBCUs), and the birth of the Niagara Movement, the forerunner to the NAACP. The internship involves working at the park’s visitor center, the John Brown Museum, and other locations throughout Harpers Ferry.

Each year, Richards Center interns play a crucial role in the National Park Service’s mission to preserve the nation’s history and help connect Americans to their shared past. If you would like the opportunity to support this mission and gain valuable skills in historical interpretation and public education, we encourage you to apply, 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 should submit a one-page statement of interest detailing why they would like to work at one of these national parks and how they think the experience will further their education. They 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, Jan. 27, 2020. Letters of recommendation can follow.

Direct all application materials to Matt Isham, Richards Center Managing Director, at For more information, visit the Richards Center website at, or contact Dr. Isham directly.

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