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Summer Sculpture Conservation Internship Program

Each year the Hirshhorn Museum Conservation Department implements a maintenance program for the outdoor sculpture collection.  For the 2014 season, the Museum is offering several paid and unpaid conservation technician internships that span twelve consecutive 40-hour weeks. The first session of internships begins in May, and a second session begins in July [actual start and end dates are flexible and are based upon the successful candidates’ schedules]. 

The Sculpture Conservation Internship is designed for candidates who are seriously considering a graduate level degree in conservation or who are currently enrolled in an accredited art conservation degree program. These participants will receive a hands-on introduction to outdoor sculpture conservation and to the unique considerations of conservation in a contemporary art collection. 

The conservation interns will carry out a variety of sculpture conservation treatments on the outdoor sculpture and the indoor contemporary art collections, document sculpture treatments through treatment reports and digital documentation, learn the properties and application of a wide range of conservation materials, and utilize specialized tools and analytical equipment in the performance of their daily duties.  In addition to treating and examining artwork, the intern will be introduced to the essential routine tasks of a conservator: conducting gallery inspections, monitoring environmental conditions in the collection spaces, and maintaining a clean work space.   

The Hirshhorn Museum has more than seventy sculptures situated throughout its sculpture garden and plaza areas.  The objects, which range in size from three to more than sixty feet in height, are made from a variety of materials including stone, bronze, iron, aluminum, and steel. The outdoor sculptures receive annual maintenance conservation treatments that may include detergent washing, the application of protective surface coatings, repainting, and structural repairs. This work is performed mostly outdoors, is strenuous, and often requires working in very hot and humid conditions. 

The internship positions can be highly competitive and only a small percentage of the applicants are awarded a $4000 stipend for the 12-week session. Candidates should specify in their application if they wish to be considered for an unpaid position if they are not selected for the first round of paid internships. 

Applications must be completed online at https://solaa.si.edu no later than Friday, February 14, 2014. 

Any questions about the internship should be directed to: Gwynne Ryan at RyanGW@si.edu

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