Thursday, April 24, 2014

Research Assistant at Chicago History Museum

The Collections Department of the Chicago History Museum is looking for an unpaid research assistant to work on researching and processing in the Museum's archival collections. Over the course of internship, the intern will learn about inventorying, organizing, and processing archival collections. In doing so, she or he will build and develop an understanding of working with CHM's archives and manuscript collection.

  • Sending e-mails, contacting individuals via telephone, filing, writing up research findings, attending meetings. 
  • Intern will be given opportunities to attend organizational events such as staff meetings and other meetings such as brown bag lunches to gain a broader understanding of the workplace and its initiatives. In addition, opportunities for networking and informational interviews with staff will be available at the intern’s request. 
  • Other activities as assigned that will further the intern’s learning, knowledge, and experience.


The Intern’s activities help fulfill the Museum’s mission and purpose which is “To help people to make meaningful and personal connections to history” and will serve a civic, charitable, and humanitarian purpose consistent with our non-profit status.
  • This internship will provide training similar to that which would be given in an educational environment and which is primarily for the benefit of the intern;
  • This internship will also provide the intern with close supervision by regular employees qualified in the intern’s field of study.
  • CHM will cooperate with educational institutions to ensure that the internship is academically oriented for the benefit of students;

Contribute to and promote a positive culture at CHM by demonstrating the following values in their interactions with colleagues, external partners, and all audiences and through the products developed and services delivered:

Discovery: brings a sense of wonder and curiosity to their work, seeking new ideas and opportunities or approaches to advance the work of the museum. Makes connections to their colleagues and their work; with CHM audiences and history; and with the collections and current scholarship.

Creativity: never satisfied with the status quo, always ready to take chances, try new things, and be original through initiating exploration of alternative possibilities, idea generation, and problem solving. Imagines new and innovative processes, services, products, and experiences.

Empathy: strives to get along with everyone, to invest in collaborative work, and to see things from other people’s perspectives through anticipating the needs of colleagues and CHM audiences. Recognizes that it is no longer enough to treat people the way that you want to be treated, but must try to treat others as they want to be treated.

Authenticity: is genuine and true in all relationships; delivery of products and services; and the interpretation of history.

Integrity: is honest, ethical, and fair in work ethic, business practices, internal and external relationships, and scholarship. Is a good ambassador for CHM at all times.

Service: contributes to a culture that extends quality customer service to CHM’s audiences to ensure they feel welcome, safe, and comfortable, and to colleagues through being courteous, responsive, and supportive of the work of others.

Collaboration: fosters a positive spirit when working with others and on teams through being inclusive; freely sharing ideas, information, and abilities; seeking and respecting the contributions and viewpoints of others, and thoroughly integrating this input in their work.

Purpose: The Chicago History Museum’s purpose is to help people make meaningful and personal connections to history.


WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: This position will interact with the Archivist and occasionally with other members of the Collections department and potential donors of archival collections.


  • Qualified applicants must be at least juniors in college pursuing degrees in history and/or a similar field with an interest in public history. 
  • Qualified applicants will have some interest in Chicago history and/or public history and archives. 
  • Potential interns should have proficient historical researching, writing, and public speaking skills, and be comfortable working with the public on occasion. 
  • Qualified applicants should be familiar with MS Office Suite.
  • Ability to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to function independently as well as on a team. 
  • Intern would be expected to demonstrate professional workplace practices such as punctuality, teamwork, proper communication skills, and maturity.
  • Commitment to follow the rules and guidelines contained in the Chicago History Museum Internship Program Handbook.
  • Agreement to submit to a background screening and provide 2 recent references.
  • Commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the Chicago History Museum

Fall 2014: Begin on or about September 1, 2014 to end on or about December 5, 2014, working roughly 10-12 hours per week, weekdays only, and no work days shorter than 2.5 hours.

This internship description is not intended to be an express or implied contract between CHM and anyone. CHM reserves the right to change or assign other duties to this intern position as necessary. CHM is an equal opportunity institution.


A completed internship application consists of the following:
  • a one-page personal statement describing your reasons for seeking an internship at CHM and what you hope to gain from the experience 
  • a resume outlining your educational, professional, and volunteer experiences 
  • contact information for two references 
  • All application materials should be e-mailed to Peter T. Alter, 
Every effort is made to match the skills and interests of prospective interns with the needs and priorities of the department and the institution overall. The application materials will outline the specific qualifications requirements for individual projects. The Chicago History Museum does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

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