The goal of the internship is to conduct a research and/or technical analysis project appropriate to the level of experience that addresses the needs of materials from the Library’s vast collection of over 145 million collection items. Work is conducted in newly renovated science laboratories that are equipped with a full range of state-of-the-art instrumentation for hyperspectral imaging, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared and Raman spectroscopy, UV-VIS-IR fluorescence spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, ion chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, thermal analysis, physical testing, and artificial aging.
The Preservation Science Internship is hosted by the Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) of the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress. PRTD is responsible for research, analytical studies, and quality control projects pertaining to materials and environments found in the Library and other cultural heritage collections. The prospective intern can expect to interact with several dozen preservation professionals, including scientists and conservators. In addition to the permanent staff, contract personnel conduct a variety of special projects that serve to further enrich the intern’s experience. The Preservation Directorate also has several resource centers, including a Research Resource Center, staffed by a full-time librarian, which contains an expansive collection of conservation literature, and the Center for the Library’s Analytical Science Samples.
Analysis and Testing: Instrumental techniques for the characterization of organic and inorganic materials; analytical testing under the direction of Senior Research Chemists for collection items.
Documentation: Scientific documentation through digital image capture and spreadsheet and written reports.
Experimental Design and Research: Completion of a research and testing project, subject to approval by supervisors, that includes development of a research proposal, project objectives, and experiment design; submission of progress reports; and dissemination of results through oral presentations and/or peer-reviewed journals.
Lab Activities: Maintenance of the science laboratories and equipment, complying with scientific laboratory protocols and safety procedures.
Tours, Training, and Professional Activities: Participation in outreach and professional development activities, such as: lab tours for visitors; attendance at relevant in-house lectures and conferences; visits to other conservation science laboratories; activities with the Washington Conservation Guild.
Candidates should have a background in one of the physical sciences. The successful candidate will demonstrate interest in scientific achievement, combined with a strong interest in the visual arts or library materials. Independent experimental research experience and a commitment to a career as a scientist in the cultural heritage preservation field is preferred. Internships may be introductory through advanced in nature.
Interested parties should complete and submit the Preservation Application Form [PDF: 176 KB / 3 p.], plus a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a formal letter of interest.
Limited funds may be available for fellowships. Consult the Fellowships & Internships page to see current sources for funds.
Please direct inquiries* to:
Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division
Library of Congress
Telephone: (202) 707-5525
FAX: (202) 707-1525
*Note: Applications should be directed to the contact listed in the application form.
Because of security measures at the Library, all postal delivery may be delayed. We request that all application materials and inquiries be sent by email.