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Together We Thrive MCI Summer 2023 Internship

The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) is a center for specialized technical collection research and conservation care for all Smithsonian museums and collections. MCI combines knowledge of materials and the history of technology to provide technical research studies and interpretation of artistic, anthropological, biological, and historical objects. We are the only Smithsonian resource for technical studies and scientific analyses for most of the Smithsonian’s collections, offering unique analytical capabilities to Smithsonian researchers.

MCI is looking for a summer intern (between the months of May and August) to aid in the development of a spectral imaging case study of cultural heritage objects to be used as part of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Spectrum Lab curriculum and online tool. This internship will be mostly onsite at MCI, located at the SI Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD (Metro and SI shuttle accessible).

This internship is part of the “Smithsonian DataLabs: Online laboratories for student analysis of light, color, and other worlds” a Together We Thrive Implementation Grant project that is a collaboration of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), and the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI). The aims of the grant include the scaling, broadening of participation, and sustainable implementation of two evidence-based online laboratories that support inquiry-based learning in high school physics, earth and space science, and chemistry classrooms. The Spectrum Lab and DIY Planet Search are interactive technology-enabled learning environments with associated instructional materials that feature scaffolded exploration and analysis of real data—both professional datasets and data that students collect themselves. In The Spectrum Lab, students investigate light and color phenomena through hands-on materials and through an online data visualization tool that enables them to explore spectra from professional databases in many disciplines, as well as from their own smartphones. In DIY Planet Search, classrooms use SAO’s MicroObservatory Robotic Telescopes to gather, analyze, and interpret their own observational data to search for the signals of planets orbiting distant stars - so-called exoplanet transits.

Goal: The internship project is focusing on the spectral imaging of cultural heritage objects with the aim of developing a heritage case study that can fit into the curriculum and online tool for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Spectrum Lab.

Status: In-person

Anticipated Learning Objectives:
By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:
• Plan and conduct setup, acquisition, and processing associated with spectral imaging of a heritage object(s)
• Develop a case study of and narrative for spectral imaging for cultural heritage for high-school curriculum and online tool
• Collaborate as part of an interdisciplinary team

Expected Responsibilities:
During the internship, the intern should expect to:
• Aid in research and testing of spectral imaging to inform setup and data acquisition
• Assist in development of spectral imaging case study of heritage object(s)
• Help to plan and conduct spectral imaging of heritage object(s)
• Participate in processing and analyzing spectral image data
• Attend project meetings, collaborate with SAO and SSEC project partners, and participate in project activities

Ideal Qualifications:
The ideal intern applicant is/has:
• Preferred experience of spectral imaging and processing, ideally with specific knowledge of and experience with multispectral and hyperspectral imaging
• Interest in interdisciplinary projects and collaboration
• Self-motivated and able to be proactive with communication on project updates and timelines
• Detail oriented

Deadline for applications: February 15, 2023

Stipend: $8,000 (10-weeks)
The position is a 10-week full-time internship (40 hours/week mostly onsite, with potential for some virtual work) with a stipend of $8,000 for the Summer of 2023. It does not cover relocation expenses and insurance. 

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a resume and a two (2) page essay to E. Keats Webb at Please write “Summer Internship” in subject line for attention. The essay should address:

  • What the candidate hopes to gain from this internship
  • What skills and expertise they will bring to the experience
  • How this internship relates to their academic and career goals
Contact Information

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact: E. Keats Webb (

Maryland; Hybrid
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