Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Internship Program

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The History Undergraduate Internship Program (HIST 398) allows students to earn three course credit hours while gaining valuable professional experience as an intern in public and private institutions and organizations engaged in history-related projects. This course fulfills the Engaged Learning requirement of the Core Curriculum. Interns work for a minimum of five hours per week (75 hours a term) in an internship position jointly agreed upon by the student and the History Department Internship Coordinator, Dr. Patricia Mooney-Melvin. Throughout the semester, interns keep a weekly blog of their experience, and at the end of the semester they write a short paper reflecting on their experience.

Students need the permission of the History Department Internship Coordinator in order to register. Steps for undertaking an internship are listed below. 

Steps for Undertaking an Internship for HIST 398 credit:

  1. Download the Internship Application, fill it out, and submit it to the History Department Internship Coordinator, Dr. Patricia Mooney-Melvin (pmooney@luc.edu).
  2. Contact institutions about possible internships. Look at the list of institutions below and the blog of where students are currently (and have in the past) interned. Please note students are not limited to that list and can work with any institution as long as the internship project has a historical component to it. Contact institutions directly, introducing yourself, attaching your resume, and asking to arrange an interview or meeting to discuss an internship.
  3. Once an internship has been obtained, complete the Undergraduate Internship Contract between the student and the sponsoring institution.  Be sure to include the contact information of the person who will supervise the internship.  Both the student and the supervisor need to sign the contract.
  4. Submit the signed contract for review to the History Department Internship Coordinator, Dr. Patricia Mooney-Melvin, via email (pmooney@luc.edu) or in person to the History Department Office, Crown Center 523. Upon approval of the contract, you will be enrolled in HIST 398.
  5. Get to work! Interns should plan on committing 5 hours a week to the institution; should write a weekly blog post (1–2 paragraphs) documenting her or his experience. Describe the history and work of the institution, the tasks undertaken, and problems encountered and how they are being solved.  Students should be in touch with the History Department Internship Coordinator in the event that any issues arise.
  6. At the end of the semester, interns will submit a final paper (1000 words) reflecting on her or his experience. The supervisor from the internship organizationwill submit the Intern Evaluation directly to the History Department Internship Coordinator. The final grade is based on blogging (40%), supervisor's evaluation (40%), and the final reflection paper (20%).


Internship Possibilities

Loyola undergraduates have interned at a wide range of institutions and organizations in Chicago and across the country. Below is a list of internship possibilities that you might consider for History 398. To find the most recent information about internships and deadlines, check institutions' web pages. The Loyola Career Center’s database is also a useful resource.

Archdiocese of Chicago Archives & Records Center. The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives & Records Center is the official repository for the records of the Archdiocese of Chicago and gateway to its past. As the institutional archives, its purpose is to identify, preserve, and make available Archdiocesan records, which have long term value for local, national and international communities. The Center’s collection, with more than 8, 000 cubic feet of archival materials, constitutes one of the world’s largest repositories of Archdiocesan Archives. Interns’ duties will depend on students’ interests, educational backgrounds, experiences, and the Archdiocese’s needs. Projects include: Preservation and microfilming of documents and photographs; indexing collections; assisting reference staff; updating the database of the collections; and conducting tours of facilities and exhibitions.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, is a leading independent, nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. The Chicago Council brings the world to Chicago by hosting public programs and private events featuring world leaders and experts with diverse views on a wide range of global topics. Through task forces, conferences, studies, and leadership dialogue, the Council brings Chicago’s ideas and opinions to the world. The Council offers undergraduate juniors and seniors the chance to learn about our organization and participate in a variety of duties associated with ongoing projects through internships. While intern responsibilities vary by department, tasks may include researching prospective speakers, donors, studies, and corporate members, writing communications, assisting in the development of marketing/program materials, audience and outreach development, administrative duties (filing, faxing, data entry, preparing mailings, assembling program/meeting materials), assisting at Council events, and other projects as assigned.

Chicago History Museum. Internships at the Chicago History Museum are challenging, educational experiences designed for undergraduate and graduate students. Working alongside staff members in a tutorial arrangement, interns gain valuable skills and training in museum practice, archival administration, arts administration, and historical scholarship. While specific projects fluctuate with the institution's needs and priorities, a diverse assortment of opportunities is generally available. Examples include: Archives and manuscripts internship; Collection processing internship; Prints and photographs internship; Costumes collection internships; Conservation internship; Education internships.

Chicago Maritime Museum. The Chicago Maritime Society researches, educates, and celebrates Chicago’s maritime heritage. The society holds a collection of approximately 5,000 objects, documents and images related to Chicago’s maritime heritage and maintains historical files and records utilized by scholars, authors, and researchers. The organization is located on the 6th floor of the Helix Building, just one block from the Racine Blue Line station.

Chicago Metro History Education Center. The Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC) promotes an approach to history education based on local and community history, project and inquiry based methods of learning, and the use of primary as well as secondary sources. This approach is distinguished by student-centered initiative, cooperative learning and cross-disciplinary thinking. Through academic competitions, family and community history projects, teacher training, and educational materials, CMHEC aims to revitalize the learning and teaching of history in the Chicago metropolitan area, to encourage the development of critical thinking and core learning skills, and to foster increased civic interest and responsibility. Its main program is the History Fair, an annual academic program and competition for over 20,000 Chicago area students in grades 6–12. They seek volunteers to help coach student research at the Harold Washington or Woodson libraries on weekends in December through March; coach student work on thesis, project development, and research in classrooms on weekdays; and judge or do other support work during History Fair events with students on weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays in February through April.

Chicago Public Schools. Interns work at local elementary or high schools (for example, Swift Elementary or Senn High School) and engage in such tasks as tutoring students in history or helping with their history fairs. Contact the internship coordinator to help you set up these internships.

Chicago Women’s Liberation Union. The CWLU is a feminist organization that was born in Chicago in 1969. From 1969 – 1977, CWLU members dedicated themselves to developing grassroots programs for women while working towards a long term revolution in American society. They have extensive online archives and welcome undergraduate interns.

Edgewater Historical Society. The Edgewater Historical Society was founded in January of 1988 to involve the Edgewater community in the preservation of its history. The impetus to form the Society was the 1986 celebration of the Edgewater Centennial, during which the Edgewater Community Council conducted an oral history project. From that project grew a great interest in researching and documenting neighborhood streets and structures. The Edgewater Historical Society operates the Museum located in the converted firehouse at 5358 N. Ashland Ave. and conducts Home Tours and Walking Tours throughout the year. Internships might involve researching and putting up of exhibits and displays; helping with oral history to get the recording of information for our files; projects; and storing collections information. Skills required could range from history, art, computer skills, office management, research, photographer, etc.

The Field Museum. The Field Museum is one of the most important museums in the Chicago area. It was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. These objects form the core of the Museum's collections which have grown through world-wide expeditions, exchange, purchase, and gifts to more than twenty million specimens. Click here for available internships.

The First Division Museum at Cantigny. The First Division Museum at Cantigny is dedicated to American military history, specifically the history of the Big Red One, which is the famed 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. The museum is located on the Wheaton, Illinois estate of the late Colonel Robert R. McCormick. Its 38,000 square foot facility includes 10,000 square feet of state of the art interactive and experiential exhibits. The museum has a wide variety of exhibits ranging from life-size dioramas to tanks and artillery pieces found in the military park.

Glessner House. Built in 1885, the Glessner house was a radical departure from traditional residential design. Nestled inside the fortress-like, rusticated granite exterior is an oak-paneled English Arts and Crafts interior and a charming central courtyard. The stories that live within the walls of Glessner House tell the tale of Chicago in an era that, more than any other, shaped urban America—the family life and fashion trends, masters and servants, high culture and crass consumerism, intellectual achievements and industrial brawn. The spirit of the Gilded Age lives in Glessner House and visitors not only learn its cultural history, they experience the ambiance of this bygone world. Glessner House Museum has over 6,000 artifacts, most of which are original to the Glessner family. In addition to Aesthetic Movement and English Arts and Crafts Movement furniture, the collection includes a large number of ceramic vases and tiles, Art Nouveau glass, silver and other decorative objects. Staff works closely with the students to determine internship objectives and to set project priorities. They provide interns with knowledge and training they can take with them into their careers, placing each student into a working environment where each becomes part of the GHM team.

History Makers. The History Makers is dedicated to preserving African American history as the missing link in American history. Focused on American history, oral history and education in general and more specifically on African American history, education, music, law, the arts, science, technology, media, medicine, entertainment, fashion & beauty, business, the military, politics and sports, The History Makers is a combination archive, library, museum, stock footage collection, on-line educator and educational PBS/TV programming. Its topics include but are not limited to African American organizations and associations, slavery, reconstruction, the labor movement, the civil rights movement and black authors. Internships are available on a semester or January-term basis and can be tailored to fit the skills and interests of the student. Areas of intern activity include: conduct background research on individual HistoryMakers prior to interviews using periodicals, the Internet, monographs, and other materials; research and writing HistoryMaker biographies for The HistoryMakers website; copy edit transcripts of interviews; work in the library or archives to assist in the processing of video collection as well as to write and develop finding aids.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Kendall College, the only museum in the Chicago-area that focuses exclusively on the history, culture and arts of North American native peoples. The Museum's collections range from the Paleo-Indian period through the present day. Permanent exhibitions depict the Native American cultures of the Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast and Arctic. Two temporary exhibit galleries have special thematic shows that change two times a year. Interns would develop a project that would fit with the museum's needs and their own interests.

National Public Housing Museum. The National Public Housing Museum is a museum in making to be located in Chicago. Interns work with staff at the Public Housing Museum on research related to the museum’s focus in documenting the history of public housing in Chicago and understanding the impact of public housing on residents and communities from the past through the present. Born out of the early vision of public housing residents, the National Public Housing Museum will bring to life the many stories and voices of residents, and examine public housing’s effect on the larger patterns of community and urban development in Chicago and other US cities.

National Hellenic Museum. From ancient Greek civilizations to contemporary artistic movements, the National Hellenic Museum produces original exhibitions for the public to enjoy. Exhibits offer comprehensive, historical depictions of Greek communities in the United States, the artistic and literary expressions of Greeks worldwide, and the art and history of ancient Greece. The Museum also contains a library and media archives. The Library is a non-circulating research library, primarily collecting original source and out-of-print materials. From an archival perspective, the Museum also maintains a collection of rare 16mm films, which have been digitized and are available for viewing and research. The NHM library also contains over 5,000 Greek record albums, one of the largest collections in the United States. The NHM offers unpaid credit and non-credit internships for college students throughout the year. An internship would be a great way to gain real-life experience working in a mid-size Museum during your fall, spring, or summer semesters.

Newberry Library. The Newberry Library is an independent research library concentrating in the humanities with an active educational and cultural presence in Chicago. Free and open to the public, it houses an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, maps, and manuscripts.

South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI). SAAPRI conducts research on issues of importance to South Asian Americans in response to community needs. Projects are designed to create dialogue and better understanding among various communities, and ensure the betterment of South Asian Americans. While the research enlists the help of community members and organizations as well as student interns, it adheres to the highest academic standards and rigorous scholarship.

The National Archives and Records Administration-Great Lakes Region, Chicago. The Archives hold a large amount of primary records for Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. The records cover a wide scope of topics including, but not limited to: Mining and Railroads; Indian Affairs; Civil Rights Movement; National Parks and Forests; Chicago and Regional History; Immigration and Naturalization; Labor History; Fugitive Slaves; World War I and II Homefronts; Maritime History of Great Lakes and Inland Waterways; Depression Era; Science and Technology; Organized Crime; Prohibition Era; Sports ; Legal History; Women's History; African American History; Ethnic History; Environmental History; Film and Entertainment; Espionage and Sedition. The Chicago office offers college-level students and other individuals the opportunity to participate in non-paid internships at the facility. If accepted, students are required to work 160 hours within a specific time frame to successfully complete an internship. Interns at the Great Lakes Region work in a variety of program areas including: basic preservation; reference and research services; public programs; arrangement and description of historical records.

Urban Initiatives. Urban Initiatives is a Chicago based nonprofit organization that runs a health and education soccer program in fourteen Chicago Public Schools and has grown tremendously over the years. The intern will have the opportunity to work with the senior staff in a casual, collaborative working environment in order to research and synthesize historical information about the communities we serve as they relate to out program. Overall, the intern will help Urban Initiatives to better understand the root causes of the communities’ needs so that our program can enhance our sports-based youth development program. To learn more about Urban Initiatives check out www.urbaninitiatives.org

The Swedish American Museum. The Museum Center is located at 5211 North Clark in Andersonville, a traditionally Swedish area of Chicago's north side. The mission of the Museum is to preserve and present the Swedish American heritage in the United States for the education and enjoyment of all ages and ethnic background. Each year more than 40,000 visitors enjoy the many programs that include special exhibits, Swedish language classes, crafts, genealogy classes, folk dancing, concerts, lectures, films, and the interactive Children's Museum of Immigration. The Children's Museum uses interns to staff the museum, lead tours, and learn to role play. Located on the third floor of the museum, the Children’s Museum of Immigration is an interactive hands-on exhibit that teaches children about Swedish immigration, culture, and history. Children travel back in time to an authentic Swedish farmhouse and experience life at the turn of the century, where they tend to farm animals, stack wood, wash the laundry, and cook by the hearth. After the work is done children pack a trunk and board an immigrant ship bound for pioneer America, where they step inside a real log cabin and learn about pioneer life. Through first-person interpretation educators teach students about Swedish immigration in the 1870’s. This includes dressing in period costume and monitoring the museum space.  Interns can also be given a special project to focus on (for instance, writing descriptions of artifacts). Applicants should submit a resume and a short paragraph on why they are interested in an internship.

Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago. The Woman and Leadership Archives here at Loyola has a number of possible internship projects, including: Online Exhibit(s) The intern will be asked to create a medium sized exhibit (100–150 items) related to a particular theme or existing collection of material. Of course, as part of the learning experience, we will train on how to use the hardware and software. There is also some potential for the creation of a related physical exhibit in the library of Piper Hall; Outreach/Education: After surveying our existing outreach and donor relations systems, the intern will help identify places for improvement, discover potentially over looked women or women’s organizations, and specifically target some for a directed solicitation effort; Processing: Though over 80% of the WLA collections are processed and available to the public, new collections come in regularly. The intern will learn traditional processing techniques, create finding aids and catalog records, and create promotional content—such as blurbs for the website; and Monograph Collection: The intern will assess the existing collection, help to better define the collecting mission where monographs are concerned, and weed any unwanted books using a pre-determined criteria.