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 two summer internships in the summer of 2023. The Center’s partner institutions in 2023 are Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The stipend for each internship is $3,000.

These internships are open to undergraduate and terminal-degree masters 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 full-time (35 hours per week) for at least 8 weeks. Beginning and end dates will be arranged between the hosting institution and the intern, but internships should be completed by September 1. Stipends are intended to cover housing, travel, and daily living expenses – all arrangements and costs for which are the responsibility of the intern. One half of the stipend will be paid at the beginning of the fellowship, and the other half will be remitted at the completion of the internship.

Please submit applications by April 14, 2023.


Partner Institutions and Position Description

  1. Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation (CPP). This intern will assist with research and program development that will help place the historic farm at CPP in the larger social and political context before, during, and after the American Revolution. The research will focus on exploring the experiences of local farmers (specifically the Pratt family and the surrounding Quaker community) with the local militia, how Quaker families perceived and perhaps participated in the political and social movements and protests of the time, and how encampments and the overall war impacted livestock, such as sheep and cattle, and crop production, such as wheat and flax, for a Pennsylvania farmer. The research findings will be used to redevelop CPP’s King’s Taxes role-playing educational program, which introduces students to the idea of taxation and asks them to decide whether to rebel against England or not, as well as to inform the site’s 4th of July public programming. Additionally, the research will guide updates to CPP’s interpretive training manual for staff and volunteers, visitor brochures, and programming in the lead-up to its forthcoming 50th anniversary. This intern will also have opportunities for a written article or blog post to be featured on the CPP website. The intern for Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation must be able to transport themselves to and from the site; there may be a small travel stipend to help with associated costs.
  2. Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP). This internship is intended to raise awareness of the collections at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the diverse American stories contained therein. Working within the Department of Education and Programs, the intern will meet with archival and collections staff to learn about new and recently accessioned collections. Based on those conversations and the finding aids, the intern will explore a collection and identify objects to be photographed; they will also research and write summaries of aspects of the collection that are compelling and interesting. With guidance from archival staff, they may also interview donors for a collector’s perspective on the collection, analyze exit surveys collected from research fellows and bibliographic information to collect data on collection use, and other projects as needed. Finally, with editorial oversight from the Communications and Programs Coordinator and the Director of Education and Programs, they will produce a blog post for HSP’s website. The goal for this internship is to produce four to six posts. The intern will gain a direct understanding of how a special collections library works, from acquisition to reading room use. They will then deploy their understanding of this process, as well as their own research in the collection, to share historical content with the public. Successful completion of the projects will greatly support HSP’s goals of raising awareness of its collection and inviting more people to use it in their own projects.



This program is intended for undergraduate and terminal-degree masters students currently enrolled at McNeil Center Consortium institutions. A list of these institutions can be found at https://www.mceas.org/consortium. If your institution is not yet a Consortium member, please contact Amy Baxter-Bellamy (abaxter@sas.upenn.edu) for more information. Students should explain their interest and (where applicable) experience in history, historic preservation, museum studies, or archival work.


Please address applications and inquiries to:

Laura Keenan Spero

Coordinator of Scholarly Programs, McNeil Center



Applicants should submit the following items 1-4 in a single pdf document. Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly from the recommender.

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

2. Application letter. Applicants should explain their interest in these internships, relevant experience and coursework, commitment to pursuing interests in public history or related fields, and what they hope to gain from this summer internship.

3. C.V.

4. Transcript (unofficial).

5. Letter of recommendation from professional reference (professor or public history professional): due via email directly from recommender to Laura Keenan Spero (lakeenan@sas.upenn.edu) by April 14, 2023.