C. Dallett Hemphill Summer Internship Program

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies annually sponsors paid summer internships for students attending MCEAS Consortium institutions to develop their interests and skills in doing history in professional settings. Toward this end, the McNeil Center partners with institutions that demonstrate a commitment to the mentorship and professional development of students in the field of early American studies. 

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies solicits institutional partners to host undergraduate interns who will carry out public-facing history initiatives in the greater Philadelphia region during the summer of 2024.

Internships will last approximately eight weeks and require a full-time commitment (35 hours per week). The McNeil Center will provide a $3,000 stipend to fund the work of each intern.

Proposed projects should relate to the Center’s mission to facilitate inquiry into the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before 1850. Proposals from museums, historic sites, public works, or university-led initiatives are encouraged.

We seek partnerships with institutions that are willing to provide mentorship and further the professional and intellectual development of interns. Each proposed internship should have components that include research, analysis, and communication.  

Potential partners should submit a one-page letter of interest by January 16, 2024, addressing the following:

  • Duties of the proposed internship.
  • Scope and objectives of the public history project.
  • Skills interns will develop through participating.
  • Mentorship and professional development plan.
  • Financial support available to contribute toward the stipend.

Please submit all letters and inquiries to Peter Olsen-Harbich, Associate Director, The McNeil Center for Early American Studies.


Internship Opportunities

Call for Applications for the C. Dallett Hemphill Summer Internships

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is co-sponsoring five undergraduate internships in the summer of 2024, at Historic Trappe, American Philosophical Society, Insurrect!, Mansion House Foundation at Radley Run, and Mother Bethel AME Church. The stipend for each internship is $3,000. These internships are open to undergraduate students enrolled at McNeil Center Consortium institutions and are designed to introduce students to professional work in public history settings. Interns are expected to work 35 hours per week for 8 weeks. Beginning and end dates will be arranged between the partner institution and the intern, but internships should be completed by September 1, 2024. One half of the stipend will be paid at the beginning of the internship, and the other half will be remitted at its completion.

Please submit applications by April 19, 2024.


Partner Institutions and Position Description


This intern will contribute to the planning of Historic Trappe's landmark special exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The exhibition, which is planned for 2026-2027, will focus on the German American experience of independence and will feature objects that tell the stories of the Muhlenberg family and other German-speaking people in the Philadelphia area who witnessed the precarious years of the American Revolution. The exhibition will extend across Historic Trappe's properties: the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies, which includes five exhibit galleries in Dewees Tavern; and two historic houses, the Muhlenberg House and the Speaker's House. The intern will research potential loan objects and exhibit themes, write interpretive text, and work with the curator to develop a floor plan and programming ideas. They will also help to create dynamic content to promote the special exhibition on Historic Trappe's social media platforms. As part of their weekly hours, the intern will have the opportunity to work as a docent on weekends, when Historic Trappe is open to the public. This internship also includes free housing at Historic Trappe’s visiting scholars’ quarters on 702 W. Main Street in Trappe.


This internship is an opportunity to learn more about archival research, transcription, and digital scholarship while gaining hands-on experience developing a digital humanities project in a research library setting. Working closely with staff at the American Philosophical Society, the intern will contribute to Revolutionary City: A Portal to the Nation’s Founding (“Rev City”), a public-facing digital archive of manuscript materials created or received in Philadelphia during the American Revolution (1774-1783). Rev City brings together collections scattered across multiple archives, reuniting manuscript and print materials that have been separated in some cases for centuries. The internship will focus on the transcription of original manuscripts and biographical research on women and men named in these rare primary source materials. Special attention will be paid to recovering the voices of women and men marginalized in the archival record. By contributing to this digital humanities project, the intern will learn how to: work with unique digitized archival holdings; transcribe and digitize eighteenth-century documents; generate meaningful metadata from historic documents; research historical sources in a range of formats; and communicate findings to local, national, and international audiences.


This intern will assist with the application of the James Painter House (built c. 1774) in Radley Run, Birmingham Township, PA to be listed as a site on the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad (UGR) Network. The intern’s duties will be to research the Quaker Painter family activities between 1840 and 1867, particularly those of James and Betsy Garrett Thatcher Painter. This research will focus on activities related to housing and transporting freedom seekers before and during the Civil War. Guided by National Park Service recommendations and on-site mentor Kathleen Kennedy, Ph.D., this internship will ideally produce documentation sufficient for listing of the site on the UGR Network. This internship is a mix of remote and in-person research.



This intern will support program development and research on the involvement of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church members in the Underground Railroad during the antebellum period. The Mother Bethel Museum and Archives is located on the lower level of Mother Bethel AME Church, a National Historic Site located six blocks from Independence Hall. The intern will be responsible for research of Mother Bethel sources located on-site and at nearby institutions, such as the Presbyterian Historical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. The intern will apply this information to contribute to an update of the Historical Society Docents Training Manual. The intern will also receive formal docent training and shadow experienced docents before giving tours of the museum to the public. The intern will work under the direction of Ann Saunders, Ph.D., President of the Historical Society and Mark Kelly Tyler, Senior Pastor, Ph.D.



This intern will research and write four pieces for Insurrect! Radical Thinking in Early American Studies, assist with style and copy editing, and create content for social media accounts. The intern will develop archival and digital research skills, learn how to write editorial-length, public-facing pieces, gain familiarity with editorial processes, and learn current methods of accessible public communication and engagement work in the digital age. The subjects of the pieces are up to the intern, but will ideally be around a particular historical event, set of archival documents or objects, historical site, or theme. They may also choose to trace or investigate the historical origins of a current event relevant to Insurrect!’s mission. The intern is encouraged to utilize archives and historical sites in the greater Philadelphia area. The intern will receive personalized guidance on the collections in the region and the resources to access them. In the eight-week period, our intern will assist with style and copy editing on no more than four pieces. Finally, the intern will assist with the creation of content for the Insurrect! Instagram. This will include pulling quotes and photos from previously published pieces, writing captions and alt text, and creating graphics. The intern will work closely with board members and managing editors Dr. Elise A. Mitchell (located in the Philadelphia area), Dr. Lila O’Leary Chambers (remote), and Alanna Prince (remote). The intern will meet with one of these team members virtually or in person at least once a week for check-ins. After successfully completing their eight-week internship, the intern will have the opportunity to present their research at a conference or in an online form created by Insurrect! This internship application requires an additional short writing sample (500-1500 words), which may be something previously written for the public (such as the school newspaper) or a class, in addition to the required materials below.



This program is intended for undergraduate students currently enrolled at McNeil Center Consortium member institutions. If your institution is not yet a Consortium member, please contact Peter Olsen-Harbich, Associate Director (peteroh@sas.upenn.edu) to register interest and receive information on joining.



Please submit applications and inquiries by email to Peter Olsen-Harbich, Associate Director, McNeil Center at peteroh@sas.upenn.edu. Applicants should submit the following items (items 1 through 4) in a single PDF. Letters of recommendation should be submitted separately to Peter by the recommender by April 19.

1. Cover Sheet, including contact info, institution, major/minor, anticipated graduation date, recommender, and ranking of interest in internships. Do not rank internships for which you do not wish to be considered.

2. Application letter, explaining interest in the ranked internships, relevant experience and coursework, and commitment to pursuing public history or related fields.

3. Curriculum Vitae.

4. Transcript (unofficial).

5. Letter of Recommendation, from Professor or professional contact (submitted separately).