Are you exploring the field of historic preservation and looking for some real-world experience? The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Keystone Internship Program provides opportunities to pursue your professional growth and contribute to sharing Pennsylvania’s rich heritage with the public.

We’d like to invite college and graduate school students interested in historic preservation, archaeology, community planning, cultural resources, architectural history, public history, and other related fields to apply for their summer 2022 interning experience. 

The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) is offering three internships this year. We will be filling a Preservation Services and Education Internship, a Public Service Internship, and a MARS (Mapping, Assistance, Resources, and Survey) Sites Survey Internship in our Harrisburg office. This paid internship is an excellent way for you to build your portfolio while helping PHMC and the PA SHPO preserve Pennsylvania’s important older and historic places.


The Keystone Summer Internship Program is designed to provide pre-professional training to students interested in pursuing a career in history, historic preservation, or museums.  The internship is intended to be an integral part of the student’s academic training and students are encouraged, although not required, to seek credit for their internships.

  • Interns will be paid $14.61 per hour.
  • Interns must work a minimum of 225 hours and are eligible to work up to 300 hours within the program timeframe. Work hours will be based upon operational needs and finalized between selected interns and their supervisor.
  • Internship period is June 6th through August 12th 2022.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, enrolled at a college or university in an undergraduate or graduate program, and must hold a minimum of a 2.5 GPA at the time of their internship.

Applications are due by 2/20/2022 11:59 PM EST.

Find more information about PHMC’s Keystone Internships on our website and about the PA SHPO opportunities in this posting.

Preservation Services and Education Internship

Information is powerful, especially when it comes to historic preservation. As the State Historic Preservation Office, PA SHPO places a high value on providing Pennsylvanians with credible, practical, and accessible information about historic preservation and the value of the commonwealth’s older and historic places. Educational materials, along with preservation programs like survey, the National Register of Historic Places, and historic tax credits, are critical tools in the preservation toolbox to assist citizens, communities, agencies, and others preserve the places that matter to them.
This internship supports PA SHPO’s work – and by extension the work of preservationists and planners throughout the commonwealth – with three projects that provide needed guidance to help users achieve preservation outcomes.   These projects, when completed, will be published and disseminated widely to PA SHPO’s many audiences to assist them with research and documentation projects that further preservation interests.

1910 Negro Business Directory

The intern will have the opportunity to draw on classroom knowledge and previous experience and apply it to real-world preservation and public history practice.  Working alongside members of the PA SHPO team in a traditional and virtual professional office environment, the intern will gain valuable hands-on experience in the field with historic resources survey and the new Surveyor suite.  At the conclusion of the internship, the intern will have a portfolio of work products and invaluable experience working with a diverse professional team.  

Intern projects in this opportunity specifically include:

“Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory Illustrated” Research, Documentation, and Methodology

The “Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory Illustrated” was published in 1910 as a directory and promotion piece for African American communities throughout Pennsylvania showcasing the “industrial and material growth of the Negroes of Pennsylvania.” The directory provides an important snapshot into Pennsylvania’s Black communities with details about their size, location, affluence, and real estate. This publication has proven to be an invaluable tool for researching and documenting African American history in Pennsylvania.

Using the directory, interns will select one or two African American communities and conduct necessary research to identify the physical locations associated with places included in the community profile and record them in PA-SHARE.  Develop a methodology (scope of work) for others to replicate this research and documentation for other African American communities in the directory.

National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) Library

A Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF or sometimes called a historic context) is a National Register tool that helps users evaluate the National Register eligibility of related historic and/or archaeological properties and assist in the preparation of National Register nominations and other documentation. An MPDF helps users to understand how a property fits into the bigger picture and provides the necessary information to assess if the property is important within a specific place and time.  MPDFs include extensive research, in-depth analysis, and helpful bibliographies.

Interns will develop a library of applicable MPDFs from other states that can be used as resources for anyone researching similar properties in Pennsylvania.

“Researching a Historic Property in Pennsylvania” Educational Tool

Background: PA SHPO is frequently asked for guidance on how to research a historic property in Pennsylvania, most often by non-professionals and avocational preservationists interested in studying their own house or preparing materials for a National Register nomination.  There is no comprehensive online reference guide for the commonwealth that provides guidance on the resources researchers should consult when documenting a historic building in Pennsylvania.

Interns will complete the draft “Researching a Historic Property in Pennsylvania” guidance begun by PA SHPO in 2020. Guidance will be published to the PHMC website for researchers to access.

Agricultural Survey Internship

Big-box stores. Warehouses. Highway expansions. Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage is being eroded before we have the chance to truly understand it. Via purposeful, experiential activities designed to engage the applicant in the development of critical skills for future professional work, the right applicant will help build Pennsylvania’s understanding of its own past and better prepare the Commonwealth for its future in a changing economy.

This internship will explore Pennsylvania’s agricultural history and will provide intern staff will the opportunity to gain real world experience with the research, documentation, recordation, and evaluation of these significant property types, and therefore prepare interns for professional opportunities in both historic preservation and public history practice. Reconsidering, consolidating, and taking advantage of existing data to prompt new avenues for research will be an important part of every preservation professional’s career. Through this internship, the right applicant will find an unprecedented level of autonomy and freedom to re-interpret existing data.

Frock-Boyer Farm, Union County.

In addition to working in person within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Keystone Building, the applicant will have the opportunity to take their skills and curiosity out on the road. Field visits to surveyed properties will be an important part of evaluating their current conditions, potential boundaries, and contextual relationships. They will also offer the budding photographer the chance to hone their skills in a variety of lighting and weather conditions.

Many offices are awash with outdated and poorly reviewed survey data. This internship will provide a case study in using imperfect data as the basis for evaluating the potential significance of specific agricultural properties, identifying gaps in existing data, and correcting that data to produce a higher quality inventory of significant places in the commonwealth.

Intern projects in this opportunity specifically include:

Agricultural Property Analysis and Survey

This project seeks to familiarize intern staff with cultural resource survey to prepare them for future professional practice. A legacy agricultural survey was initiated in physical form and never completed. This project needs to be finalized to work with PA SHPO’s newly developed inventory and project management system, PA-SHARE. The existing survey included location and inventory data, but not resource boundaries.

Through the evaluation of historic and current aerial photography and other documentation, draft resource boundaries will be developed. Throughout the course of work, the applicant will also develop a list of resources that would benefit from further research and recommendations for that research. These recommendations will form the basis of future National Register evaluations of these properties. 

Lancaster County Rural Historic Districts

Known for its large Amish population, much of Lancaster County has been identified as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in the form of rural historic districts. These districts have been determined eligible but need additional research to verify current integrity, boundaries, and a preliminary inventory. 

This project seeks to harness intern expertise in historic preservation to evaluate existing documentation for previously identified historic and cultural resources in Lancaster County and identify information gaps. Lancaster County contains both a wealth of agricultural resources as well as untapped information potential, and this project seeks to better understand and document a historic landscape threatened by development. 

MARS Sites Survey Internship

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue. Snyder County, Pennsylvania’s McClure Bean Soup Festival fairgrounds. From grassroots advocacy for a local site of cultural importance, to the study of archaeological patterns, to the lengthy National Historic Landmark designation process, all aspects of historic preservation practice start with identifying what you have! Accordingly, the goal of this internship is the documentation of PHMC historic sites through cultural resource survey to serve as a model for others to be good stewards of their historic places.

McClure Bean Soup Festival Grounds, Office and Soup Sales, McClure Borough, Snyder County. Photo by ASC Group, September 2021.

This internship opportunity seeks to collaborate with the right candidate to provide hands-on training in professional quality cultural resource survey. Through purposeful, experiential tasks and hands-on work assignments, the right candidate will create a survey plan, learn and work with the digital survey tools used by professional cultural resource consultants in Pennsylvania, conduct fieldwork that includes training in the architectural history and archaeological resource identification skills necessary for professional practice, receive training to develop professional level field photography skills, learn the processes of research and survey data management in Pennsylvania, gain experience with professional quality survey report creation, and get an insider’s view of working with both clients and the PA SHPO.

The right candidate for this internship will have the opportunity to gain work experience in cultural resource survey at a professional level while also participating in pertinent training sessions, meetings, and educational events at the PA SHPO, gaining exposure to internal and external networks across the agency, and benefitting from structured mentoring conversations that will highlight both the missions of the PA SHPO and the values of historic preservation practice.

Cultural Resource Survey with Surveyor

This project seeks to guide intern staff through the process of preparing, conducting, submitting, and presenting a cultural resource survey of PHMC-owned historic sites throughout Pennsylvania. Using the training provided by SHPO staff, the intern will use the Surveyor suite of tools to produce professional-quality documentation for this project.

Other PHMC Opportunities

For a complete list of all 2022 Keystone internship opportunities at PHMC, visit our website.

Many PHMC historic sites throughout the commonwealth are offering internships in public history, education, interpretation, visitor services, museum operations, collections management, and curation.

How to Apply

Apply online here:

Please note that an unofficial transcript must be uploaded as part of the application process. Submissions will be reviewed and applicants will be notified if selected for a virtual interview. Questions regarding the Keystone Summer Internship Program may be directed to MegAnn Carey 717-772-2839.

Applications are due by 2/20/2022 11:59 PM EST.