George Washington’s Mount Vernon – Internship within Historic Preservation and Collections


George Washington’s Mount Vernon has an upcoming Internship opportunity that we were hoping you might convey to students in your programs. I have included the information detailing the requirements below. Please let me know if you have any questions, or need the information in a different format etc…

Department: Historic Preservation and Collections

Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington, originally extended over eight thousand acres and was divided into five farms. The property remained in the Washington family until 1858, when it was purchased by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, a non-profit organization founded by Ann Pamela Cunningham in 1853 to “perpetuate the sacred memory of ‘the Father of his Country'” and to “preserve the relics at Mount Vernon.” The current historic site encompasses George Washington’s original Mansion House Farm and consists of 500 acres.

Today, Mount Vernon welcomes approximately 1 million visitors a year, and it is a primary responsibility of the Historic Preservation and Collections Department to ensure that the objects on view in the Mansion and outbuildings are historically accurate and preserved for these visitors. The Curatorial collection is built around the documented household and personal possessions of George and Martha Washington. The Association’s mission is to show the Mansion and Outbuildings as they were furnished in 1799. Through the generosity of the Mid-

West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA), Mount Vernon offers one summer internship to an individual interested in assisting with this mission.

Intern duties:

In recent years, food has become a dynamic area of historical research and scholarship. At George Washington’s Mount Vernon, we hope to enhance our understanding of foodways on the estate, from the perspective of both the Washington family and the enslaved community. The M-WTCA Curatorial Intern will be responsible for developing a strategic and integrated interpretive plan for sites on the estate associated with food preparation, preservation, and storage. These sites include the kitchen, larder, scullery, ice house, dairy, and Mansion basement.

Using the Mount Vernon Library and Archives, the M-WTCA intern will be asked to examine the furnishings and tools used in these spaces, the people involved in completing the tasks that took place there, and the interpretive history of these sites at Mount Vernon. This will include assessing the accuracy of current displays, compiling a wish-list for accessions, identifying objects that require conservation assessments, and reviewing prior deaccessioning recommendations. The intern will also synthesize research and recommendations produced in past years on individual spaces (such as the kitchen, salt house, and smokehouse) to provide a more holistic look at food systems on the estate as a whole.

The intern will have opportunities to work closely with the archaeological field school taking place at Mount Vernon from May 28 to July 3. A new collaboration between Mount Vernon and the University of Maryland, the field school will be investigating the estate’s outbuildings, beginning this year with the archaeological, architectural, and interpretive histories of the Washington family’s kitchen.
Mount Vernon will use the M-WTCA Curatorial Intern’s valuable research to re-interpret food preservation, preparation, and storage on the estate for the visiting public. We will also make available the intern’s research to Mount Vernon’s Education and Interpretive staff for inclusion in public programs and tours.

The M-WTCA Curatorial Intern will also have opportunities to participate in Curatorial functions as may be needed and relevant to the internship’s main focus, possibly including (but not limited to) cataloging, documentation of inappropriate items proposed for deaccessioning, object research, and curatorial inquiries.

The successful M-WTCA Curatorial Intern candidate will be enrolled in a graduate-level program with a major in Material Culture, American Studies, American History, Museum Studies, Art History, or a related field. Previous experience with historic site or museum collections and/or interest in 18th-century Chesapeake social history/material culture preferred.
Compensation and Hours:

The M-WTCA Curatorial Intern is expected to fulfill a 10-week, full-time internship commitment. Compensation in the amount of $3,000 is offered for this 10-week internship, payable on Mount Vernon’s bi-weekly pay schedule. There is also a travel and research allowance of up to $300 for expenses related to the project duties. The internship period will be determined based upon the candidate’s schedule with expected work hours of Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm during the selected 10 weeks. Housing and daily transportation to/from Mount Vernon will be the responsibility of the successful candidate. Mount Vernon is happy to work with the intern’s academic program to provide credit for the internship period.

Application Procedure:

By April 1, 2013 please send letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to:

Jessie MacLeod, Assistant Curator
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
P.O. Box 110
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Fax: 703.799.8698
All applicants will be notified of the success of his/her application by April 21, 2013.

Mount Vernon is an Equal Opportunity Employer


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