Conservation Internship at the American Antiquarian Society


The conservation internship was established in 2020 to provide training opportunities for emerging professionals in the field of book and archives conservation. The internship is held at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.


AAS Founded in 1812, the American Antiquarian Society is a learned society that supports a preeminent national research library dedicated to the preservation of the printed record of the United States through the year 1900, serving a world-wide community of scholars.

The Library features a state-of-the-art conservation studio built in 2018, to care for its collections, which consist of close to 4.5 million newspapers, books, graphic arts objects, and manuscripts.

Internship description
This newly created internship program will allow participants to work in the Society’s conservation department. The goal of the internship is to afford emerging conservation professionals hands-on experience, by actively participating in a wide range of conservation and preventative care activities in a rare book library setting.

Activities will include

  • examination, conservation treatment, and documentation of paper-based collection items
  • collection management and housing
  • environmental monitoring and disaster preparedness
  • digitization

To achieve these goals, the intern will work closely with departmental and/or pertinent library staff, under the supervision of the Chief Conservator.

The Conservation Intern will be part of a lively community of AAS conservators, curators, and librarians, as well as a cohort of other summer staff from various departments and colleagues from the Worcester Art Museum. The intern will also be able to engage with AAS fellows, scholars, and staff, through lunchtime colloquia and weekly staff talks.

Additionally, the Conservation Intern will have the opportunity to attend regional professional events and programs offered by NECA, the New England Conservation Association.

Internship qualifications
Preferred candidates will be enrolled in a graduate program in conservation or the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) bookbinding program and have a demonstrated interest in the profession of book & archives conservation. The applicant will have completed one full year of professional training prior to commencement of the AAS internship. Consideration may be given to experienced pre-program applicants. The successful candidate will possess excellent hand skills and attention to detail.

Language skills
Ability to read, understand, speak and write in Standard English; ability to communicate effectively in English with individuals in person, over the telephone, and via the printed word.

Work environment
Most duties are performed indoors in an office environment with artificial light and cool, thermostatically controlled temperatures. The noise level is low. Intern may be exposed to dust, mold, and/or other organic material or other irritants. Hazards are considered minor and controllable. In proximity to and possible use of approved chemicals during treatment of materials. Work with and maintain tools and equipment used in bookbinding and conservation, such as hand tools, board shears, book presses, water treatment system and fume hood.

Physical demands
Duties require periods of standing, walking, sitting. Duties require occasional periods of climbing or balancing, pulling/pushing items including book trucks with materials, lifting/carrying items weighing up to approximately 30 lbs., reaching with arms and hands. Vision and hearing at or correctable to “normal ranges.” Other physical tasks include use of hands for basic grasping/manipulation, use of hands for fine manipulation, occasional reaching, stooping, bending, kneeling, crouching, keyboarding. Physical duties are subject to change. Must be able to transport oneself to work-related meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.

Applicants, as well as position incumbents, who become disabled as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, must be able to perform the essential job functions (as listed) either unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation to be determined by management on a case by case basis.

This is determined yearly and is based on available funding and grants obtained to support the internship.

This is non- exempt full-time position, generally 35 hour per week, 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. Typically, the internship will take place between May through August.

Housing provided
Yes, on campus.

To apply
Submit a letter of intent, resume, and contact information for three (non-related) references electronically to with “Conservation Intern” in the subject line. A portfolio will be required at the time of the interview. The application deadline is April 1.

The American Antiquarian Society is an equal opportunity employer in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.

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