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Summer Internships

The Dumbarton Oaks internship program stands out for offering Harvard students stimulating and fulfilling paid internships in the humanities.

The summer internship program provides opportunities for Harvard undergraduate and graduate students to work on a variety of institutional projects ranging from online exhibits and garden excavations to preparation of publications and mounting of exhibitions.

The 2019 term of summer internship appointments is from June 3 to August 2. Summer internships carry a stipend of $16/hour for a 35-hour week. Housing and subsidized lunch in the refectory ($6/day) are provided. For more details, please write to Internships@doaks.org.

To apply for an internship, please send (1) your résumé, (2) a statement of interest describing any relevant experience and how this internship fits into your personal and professional development, and (3) the names of two referees familiar with your scholarly work, along with their titles and contact information (preferably as one PDF document) to Internships@doaks.org. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019.

2019 Internship Opportunities

Byzantine Seals and Coins: Cataloguing a Collection

The Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection contains one of the world’s largest holdings of Byzantine coins and lead seals. These objects are a fundamental resource for the study of economic history, the structure and government of the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine art history, prosopography, personal piety, and social history. Since 2010, Dumbarton Oaks has been building an online catalogue to present the seals to the widest possible audience. The online coins catalogue will be launched in the near future to provide systematic access to Dumbarton Oaks’ comprehensive Byzantine coins holdings. The intern will help with the next phase of the cataloguing project, adding and entering new data for seals with inscriptions in the form of poetry, which are among the most creative and interesting in the entire collection, and transferring data on Byzantine coins from the printed catalogues to the online platform. The intern will also have an opportunity to handle and work with the objects themselves while helping to rehouse and relocate the approximately 30,000 objects to new storage cabinets. The intern will learn how to read, date, and interpret Byzantine seals and coins, and will become familiar with the institution’s content management system and online cataloguing standards and conventions. We welcome applicants with reading knowledge of classical or Medieval Greek or Latin.

Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library

The Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (DOML), published by Harvard University Press, was launched in 2010 and encompasses more than 50 volumes. The four subseries of DOML include Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, Old English, and the Romance languages of medieval Iberia. The series makes the written achievements of medieval and Byzantine culture available to both scholars and general readers in the English-speaking world by presenting original texts with facing-page translations and limited commentary. Up to three summer interns will help prepare volumes for publication in the series. The internship offers both an opportunity for the rigorous exercise of interns’ language skills and an introduction to the process of academic publishing. Interns will be trained to identify and standardize Medieval Latin orthography, to copyedit and proofread Latin (or Old English) for DOML style, and to interact diplomatically with translators. They will also learn the process by which a proposal becomes a published volume, and observe firsthand how texts are translated into English, often for the first time. The internship requires strong knowledge of classical or Medieval Latin. Applicants with knowledge of classical or Byzantine Greek are welcome, as are applicants with knowledge of Old English.

Invasive Species in the Dumbarton Oaks Garden

Beatrix Farrand, the principal designer of Dumbarton Oaks’ extraordinary garden, used a combination of native and nonnative species in her design. As detailed in her Plant Book for Dumbarton Oaks, which was composed in the 1940s and explained her selections as well as her proposals for maintaining the garden into the future, she selected plants as much for visual variety and leaf texture as for ecological fitness. Some of the plants she used are now regarded as invasive; others were inspired by her work in Maine and are poorly adapted to the mid-Atlantic, especially as the climate warms. In the summer of 2018, we began a project to study her Plant Book and differentiate the invasive from noninvasive species that she used, as well as the ones that are well adapted from those that are less appropriate to a changing climate. A general inventory was completed, and detailed analysis was begun on limited sections of the garden. The intern will continue detailed surveying and mapping of the garden to identify which invasive species Farrand specified and which were introduced later, either purposefully or accidentally. The goal of this internship is to work with the garden staff to suggest similar but appropriate alternatives to the nonnative invasive plants, and to propose appropriate and adaptable species or cultivars that might thrive in the garden in the years to come. More broadly, the intern will be given the opportunity to explore the intersection of horticultural practice, design specifications, and the responsibilities of stewarding a historic landscape.

Labor History of the Dumbarton Oaks Estate

Dumbarton Oaks is situated on land that formerly was part of a 1702 land grant patented by Colonel Ninian Beall (1625–1717) as the Rock of Dumbarton. Throughout its long history, the property passed through a series of individuals who built and enlarged the house on the estate before it was acquired by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, collectors and patrons of art and scholarship in the humanities, and subsequently transferred to Harvard University. Under the guidance of the Program Director for Garden and Landscape Studies, the intern will conduct research into the history of the property, with a particular emphasis on the onsite and external labor and production that sustained the estate. The project will entail research in the Dumbarton Oaks and other city archives as well as in different published accounts and oral histories of the estate and its previous owners. The purpose of the internship is to illuminate the lives and stories of people who have worked at Dumbarton Oaks over the two centuries of the house’s existence and architectural transformation. We welcome applicants who are interested in history, art history, garden history, and cultural institutions. Applicants with previous archival research experience are encouraged to apply.

The Garden Archives: Preservation of Cultural Heritage

The Research Library, in collaboration with Garden and Landscape Studies, offers an internship to research, catalogue, and deliver online archival visual materials pertaining to the historical documentation of the Dumbarton Oaks Garden. The intern will be trained in standards and practices for the cataloguing and archival processing of visual materials by the library department, and will consult with staff for research questions and methodology. The intern will gain a firm understanding of the history and design of a landmark garden and will become familiar with the actions involved in the documentation and preservation of cultural heritage. He or she will also acquire significant experience in the field of digital humanities through planning for the online delivery of the physical collections.

Public Programming and Outreach

The Director’s Office is the administrative center of Dumbarton Oaks and handles institutional communications and outreach. The intern will work to develop educational programming relevant to Dumbarton Oaks and the general public. Under the guidance of the Executive Director and Communications and Outreach Fellow, the intern will gain extensive experience in planning, preparing, executing, and evaluating community programs related to Dumbarton Oaks’ collection and historic garden. The intern will maintain and update online educational materials for families and educators, including activity worksheets, and will contribute to Dumbarton Oaks’ social media platforms. The intern may also assist in preparing and evaluating term-time programming. We welcome applicants who are interested in learning about museum education outreach and marketing, as well as the inner workings of cultural institutions. Applicants who have experience working with different age groups and special events are desirable.

Sustainable Practices in a Historic Garden

Management practices in historic gardens are evolving quickly in response to changing climate, new plant pathogens and insect pests, and demands for more efficient stormwater management, energy consumption, and chemical use. In this project, the intern will inventory current management practices in the Dumbarton Oaks Garden, with particular attention to soil quality and compaction, irrigation and stormwater management, and fertilizer, insecticide, and pesticide use. The intern will also conduct a comparative study of other historic gardens to inventory common and best practices in such areas as soil improvement, composting, and integrated pest management, biological controls, and companion plants. The intern will work closely with garden staff to learn about new and more sustainable approaches to management of historic gardens. This project will provide the opportunity to explore the intersection of horticultural practice, design specifications, and the responsibilities of stewarding a historic landscape. We welcome applicants with a strong interest in garden history and design, botany, horticulture, ecology, and historic preservation.

Syria Documentation Project: Archival Image Cataloguing

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) offer an internship to research, catalogue, and deliver online archival visual materials pertaining to Roman and late antique Syria. The intern will be trained in standards and practices for the cataloguing and archival processing of visual materials by ICFA staff and will consult with ICFA’s academic fellows on research questions and methodology. The intern will gain a firm understanding of the architectural and topographical terrain of the Syrian region and will gain familiarity with the actions involved in the documentation and preservation of cultural heritage. He or she will also acquire significant experience in the field of digital humanities through planning for the online delivery of the physical collections.