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2017 Summer Internships for Harvard Students

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., is an institute of Harvard University that supports scholarship in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape studies. Located in the historic district of Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks includes a museum with outstanding collections of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European art; a state-of-the-art research library; and beautiful gardens designed by renowned landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, which are open to the public.

The summer internship program is an exceptional opportunity for Harvard students. In recent years, undergraduate and graduate students have worked on a variety of institutional projects ranging from online exhibits and garden excavations to preparation of publications and mounting of exhibitions.

The 2017 term of summer internship appointments is from June 5 to August 4. Summer internships carry a stipend of $15/hour for a thirty-five-hour week. Housing and lunch in the refectory ($5/day) are provided. For more details, please write to .

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) a separate sheet with the names of two referees familiar with your scholarly work, along with their titles and contact information (preferably as one PDF document) to The deadline for applications is February 13, 2017.

2017 Summer Internships

Archival Image Cataloguing: Syria Documentation Project

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) is seeking an intern 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. The intern will also acquire significant experience in the field of digital humanities through planning the online delivery of the physical collections.


Dumbarton Oaks Text Archive

The Publications department is seeking a summer intern to help begin the creation of a digital corpus of Byzantine Greek texts, based upon previously published editions. The intern will be responsible for processing scanned and digitized images with Gamera, an advanced open-source optical character recognition (OCR) program that is highly configurable and ideal for non-Latin alphabets. By training the software and proofreading the output against the original publications, the intern will create the foundation of what will eventually become an online archive of Greek medieval texts. In this experimental and creative project, the intern will learn advanced OCR skills and proofreading; the intern will also learn or solidify fundamentals of the technology that drives the digital humanities, including Unicode, XML, and program configuration.


Biological Complexity in the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

Dumbarton Oaks is seeking an intern with enthusiasm and aptitude for biology, including the ability to identify animal and plant species. Three days per week, the intern’s work will include field study of plant and animal communities, including plant-pollinator interactions, soil dynamics, and measurements of ecological diversity. As part of this study, the intern will maintain, collect data on, and interpret a pollinator habitat created in the gardens in the spring of 2016. Two days per week, the intern will work alongside the garden staff learning historic garden management. The intern will also research additional opportunities for improving biodiversity in the gardens, including collaborations with plant conservation organizations and comparison of the relative ecosystem contributions of native and introduced plant species. The intern will acquire knowledge of ecological relationships in Piedmont and Coastal Plain habitats, with a particular focus on pollinators, soil ecology, and the use of native and nonnative plants in historic garden design.


Gender in Byzantium Project

The bibliography on gender in Byzantium is a long-standing institutional project that is made available on the Dumbarton Oaks website for the use of the scholarly community. The intern, working under the guidance of the Director of Byzantine Studies, will update the online bibliography by reviewing publications in 2013 to the present. The intern will identify appropriate scholarly contributions, provide short bibliographic citations, differentiate between primary and secondary sources, and provide key search words for each entry. The intern will also be asked to identify and compile a list of journals from which most of the publications derive. In the final stage of the project, the intern will use the library collection and online resources in HOLLIS and other databases to check for any blind spots that may be present in the bibliography.


Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library

The Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (DOML), published by Harvard University Press, was launched in 2010 and already encompasses more than forty volumes. The four subseries of DOML include Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, Old English, and the Romance languages of medieval Iberia. The standard format of the series presents original texts with facing-page translations and limited commentary. DOML aims to make the written achievements of medieval and Byzantine culture available to both scholars and general readers in the English-speaking world.

Dumbarton Oaks is seeking three summer interns to help prepare volumes for publication. They will read, edit, and comment on the Medieval Latin (and potentially Old English and Byzantine Greek) submissions. Their work will help to ensure that editions, translations, notes, and all other parts of the submissions adhere to DOML style guidelines. As model readers, interns will make sure that books in the series align with our mission of making both the texts and the English accessible to scholars and educated nonspecialists alike. Interns will be trained to identify and standardize Medieval Latin orthography, to copyedit and proofread for DOML style, and to interact diplomatically with translators. They will also learn how a proposal becomes a published volume and observe firsthand how texts are translated into English. This summer they will again have the opportunity to bolster DOML’s social media presence. 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. The Medieval Iberia subseries does not yet have volumes in production.


Survey of Inca Metal Figurines

A summer intern, working closely with the Pre-Columbian Studies and Museum staff, will undertake a comprehensive survey of catalogues of auction houses, private collections, and museums to identify Inca metal figurines in gold, silver, and bronze. This compilation will build upon what we already know about the Inca figurines that feature among the iconic Andean objects in the Pre-Columbian Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. Only a small number of these figurines have been studied and published. The intern will incorporate this research into a database, with the aim of carefully documenting an expanded corpus of figurines and identifying patterns in fabrication, composition, form, and iconography. The intern will work closely with the Director of Pre-Columbian Studies and the Assistant Curator for the Pre-Columbian Collection to evaluate the literature and determine the types of information that should be included in the database. The applicant should be conversant in Spanish, have a general background in anthropology, archaeology, or art history, and a particular interest in Central American and/or Andean media such as ceramics, metals, textiles, or shell. Competence with FileMaker Pro and/or Microsoft Office strongly desired.


Mapping the History of Cultural Philanthropy in the Nation’s Capital

The landscape of the nation’s capital is dotted with world-class cultural organizations, including the Smithsonian and a host of distinguished collections and foundations. The history and networks that led to the congregation of all these cultural organizations in one city is worth documenting and sharing. Over the past three years, Dumbarton Oaks has piloted a project of mapping cultural philanthropy in Washington, D.C., first through a wintersession course, and more recently through an ongoing digital map. This summer, we invite applications to participate in a team of Harvard interns that will continue to work on the digital map by researching and documenting the history and mission of major institutions in the area. The interns will write case studies of important cultural organizations, museums, and collections, describing their trajectories through text, images, associated timelines, and relevant contextual materials. The digital map will be hosted on the Dumbarton Oaks website; its intended audience includes scholars but also the general public interested in visiting and learning more about these institutions. While engaging in research and digital publication, the interns will blog about the changing missions, successes, and challenges of these organizations. Interns may also conduct interviews with professionals and administrators and will visit local museums and cultural organizations.


Public Programming and Outreach

The Director’s Office is the administrative center of Dumbarton Oaks and handles institutional communications and outreach. The intern will help with a variety of community outreach projects. Under the guidance of the Executive Director and the Communications and Outreach Fellow, the intern will gain extensive experience in preparing and delivering workshops and activities related to the Dumbarton Oaks collections and historic gardens. The intern will assist with summer program preparation, execution, and evaluation, and will maintain and update online educational materials, including activity worksheets, for families and educators. The intern may also assist in evaluating past programming and preparing garden programming for the fall and spring terms. In addition, the intern will contribute to Dumbarton Oaks’ social media platforms. We welcome applicants who are interested in learning about museum education outreach and the inner workings of cultural institutions. Experience working with different age groups and advanced knowledge of Spanish are desirable.