The goal of the internship is to conduct a research and/or technical analysis project appropriate to the intern's level of experience that addresses collection needs. Work is conducted in the Library's science laboratories, recently renovated with a full range of 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 library collections, preservation materials, and collection environments. Interns work with preservation scientists, other preservation specialists, and may even have the opportunity to collaborate with other interns. The Preservation Directorate has a Research Resource Center with an expansive collection of preservation literature that is available to interns for their research. In addition, PRTD oversees 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, written reports, and data collection.
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; 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.
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 library/cultural heritage/visual art 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.
Internships in the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress are intended for students and usually fulfill an academic or graduation requirement and are uncompensated. Students/interns are responsible for arranging with their academic institution for credit, when applicable.
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.