Conservation Internship

The conservation internship was established in 2020 to provide training opportunities for graduate students with a specialization in book or paper conservation. The internship is held in residence at the American Antiquarian Society, located in Worcester, Massachusetts.

About AAS
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) cultivates a deeper understanding of the American past, grounded in its ever-growing collection of printed and manuscript sources. The Society fosters a broad community of inquiry through inclusive programs and generous support of scholarship. The Society is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the institution, as expressed in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility: a statement from the Council and Staff of the American Antiquarian Society.

The library features a state-of-the-art conservation lab, built in 2018, to care for its collections consisting of close to 4.5 million books, graphic arts objects, newspapers, periodicals, and manuscripts.

Internship description
This internship program will allow participants to work in the Society’s conservation department. The goal of the internship is to afford emerging conservation professionals hands-on experience by actively participating in a wide range of conservation and preventative care activities in a rare book library setting.

Depending upon the candidate’s area of expertise and interest, activities may include

  • examination, conservation treatment, and documentation of paper-based collection material, both bound and single-sheet items
  • project specific collection surveys
  • collection management and housing
  • preservation activities such as environmental monitoring, digitization, and disaster preparedness

To achieve these goals, the intern will work closely with departmental and/or pertinent library staff, under the supervision of the Chief Conservator.

The Conservation Intern will be part of a lively community of AAS conservators, curators, and librarians, as well as a cohort of other summer staff from various departments. They will also be able to engage with AAS fellows, scholars, and staff, through lunchtime colloquia and weekly staff talks.

Additionally, the Conservation Intern will have the opportunity to visit some of the regional conservation labs as well as attend local professional events and programs offered by New England Conservation Association (NECA).

Internship qualifications
Preferred candidates will be enrolled in a graduate program in conservation and have a demonstrated interest in the profession of library & archives or paper conservation. The applicant will have completed one full year of professional training prior to commencement of the AAS internship. The successful candidate will possess excellent hand skills, attention to detail, and the ability to read, understand, speak, and write in Standard English.

The Intern is expected to write a blog post about their internship experience.

Work environment
Most duties are performed indoors in an office environment with artificial light and cool, thermostatically controlled temperatures. The noise level is low. Intern may be exposed to dust, mold, and/or other organic material or other irritants. Hazards are considered minor and controllable. In proximity and possible use of approved chemicals for treatments. Works with tools and equipment used in book and paper conservation, such as board shear, presses, and fume hood.

Physical demands
Duties require periods of standing, walking, sitting. Duties require occasional periods of climbing or balancing, pulling/pushing items including book trucks with materials, lifting/carrying items weighing up to approximately 35 lbs., reaching with arms and hands. Vision and hearing at or correctable to “normal ranges.” Other physical tasks include use of hands for basic grasping/manipulation, use of hands for fine manipulation, occasional reaching, stooping, bending, kneeling, crouching, keyboarding. Physical duties are subject to change. Must be able to transport oneself to work-related meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.

This is a temporary, non-exempt, full-time position, generally 35 hours per week, 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. Typically, the 6–10-week internship will take place between May through August (dates negotiable).

AAS can provide on-campus housing to interns who are over the age of 21 by the date the internship starts. This housing is free of charge if housing expenses cannot be covered by your home institution. We will also require residents to adhere to any COVID-related protocols in place at that time, which may include a current vaccination.

How to apply
The deadline for application for the 2024 internship has passed.

For questions on this position, please contact Please do not submit applications to this address.

Additional Information

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