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Botanical Specimen Conservation and Collection Management Internship



Dickinson3Final.jpg.CROP.article920-largePROJECT DESCRIPTION:

The Department of Botany manages the U.S. National Herbarium at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.  This collection contains 5 million botanical specimens used for a variety of research needs.  We are constantly working to develop and maintain best practices in collection care and make sure the needs of the collections are being met effectively and professionally.  We are currently recruiting interns to work on specimen preservation and conservation.

QUALIFICATIONS: An interest in natural history collections, especially botanical specimens! If you enjoy puzzles, keeping things VERY neat and organized, and are crafty then this is the internship for you!  You will also have an opportunity, if interested, to research a particular best practice area of conservation/collection management and report on your findings.

Internship Tasks Include:

  • Engaging in botanical specimen repair and mounting.
  • Preparing bulky specimens for the collection using best practice standards.
  • Filing and rehousing specimens in the permanent collection.
  • Creating catalog links between pressed and bulky herbarium specimens.


  • Best practices for different specimen objects and preparations.
  • Specimen conservation of plant specimens.
  • Herbarium collections management procedures.
  • Plant classifications, taxonomy, and value of systematics collections.
  • Introduction to collection databases, both to record transaction data and catalog data.

TIMETABLE: This can be flexible, by looking for someone who can commit to at least 4-6 weeks and 16-24 hours a week.  Of course longer would be wonderful!


Name: Melinda Peters

Phone: 202-633-0942