Descanso Gardens

Once the family estate of E. Manchester Boddy, publisher of the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News and commercial camellia grower, Descanso Gardens today is a 160 acre public garden loved by residents and visitors from around the world. An urban retreat of year-round beauty, Descanso is only 14 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Visitors can enjoy renowned botanical collections including: a 20-acre camellia forest, a 5-acre international rose garden, a Japanese-style garden and tea house, California native plants including a 1,100- tree Coast live oak forest, and an lilac garden. Descanso Gardens is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums as a museum of living things. 

Descanso Gardens Mission 

"Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance, and rare natural beauty. Our mission is to practice exemplary stewardship of Descanso's distinctive character and assets; offer people an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people's place in it through inspiration, education and example." Working with past Princeton interns has allowed our organization to reflect on our practice and contribute to the education of future leaders in the non-profit field. In addition, Princeton interns have used their intelligence, energy, and creativity to help us deliver excellent visitor experiences and achieve our mission. 


La Canada Flintridge, CA

Internship #1 Description 

The intern will work with our Visitor Services Department for the duration of the internship, with a primary focus on a historical archives project. Descanso Gardens' 
archives includes documents, photographs, and ephemera related to the establishment of the organization, its botanical collection, major projects undertaken, and ongoing development of the gardens. The intern will gain an understanding of organizing and cataloguing archival materials and help the institution reach the goal of having an archives that is kept in conditions consistent with best practices in the field, and functions as a searchable and useful source of information about Descanso Gardens and related matters. In addition, intern may assist with work related to membership records and guest relations. In these roles, the intern will gain an understanding of working with membership data and delivering excellent customer service. 

Internship #2 Description

The Development Department internship is an opportunity to be immersed in a fast-paced development office. Projects will include day-to-day office tasks such as gift entry and acknowledgment, answering phones, and opening mail; as well as assisting with prospect research related to Descanso's capital campaign, and assisting with the early planning phases for our 2022 gala. The intern will work within the donor database and other applications to generate reports and find information related to donors' giving history that will be useful within the context of a capital campaign. The intern will interact with members, donors, board members and the public. 

# of weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Public Transportation Housing  Format
8 6/13 - 8/5 2022 8:30am  5:00pm No  No In person

Housing Information

Descanso Gardens is located in the community of La Canada Flintridge, approximately 14 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Finding temporary 
housing in this area and nearby communities has proven to be difficult for interns in the past. Applicants should be advised that securing housing is the responsibility of the intern, and the time and expense of this should be factored into the decision to apply for this internship. Suggested resources include,, Airbnb and www.Sabbaticalhomes. Recommended areas to search include the nearby communities of Montrose, Glendale, Burbank, Eagle Rock, Arcadia and Pasadena. Please also note that because of Descanso Garden's location, interns should have a reliable means of transportation to and from the gardens. 

Internship Qualifications

  • Interest in archives and collections care/management. 
  • Interest in museums, gardening, botanical gardens, or botany. 
  • Flexibility and ability to move from task to task and function 
  • effectively in a variety of work environments. 
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team. 
  • Demonstrated highly effective organizational, interpersonal, 
  • problem-solving, and teamwork skills. 
  • Demonstrated effective verbal and written communication. 
  • Good time management skills. 

Additional qualifications:

The ideal candidate is a natural sleuth with a deep love of research, is organized, has strong communication skills, possesses a high degree of warmth and professionalism, and has good judgement especially as it relates to handling potentially sensitive or confidential information. 

Writing Sample Required


Special Requirements

  • Background Check