Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (2 Positions)

by justineh

PICS Organization Name
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


PDF iconDinosaur Institute PICS internship flyer

Los Angeles, California 

Weekly Stipend

Public Transportation

Housing Provided

Former Interns
Trevor Fisher '19 (Dinosaur Institute), Alexandra Spensley '20, Blaine Crabtree '19

Organization Description
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history – with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. We have over 350 staff who are dedicated to helping us meet our mission to inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds.

In June of 2013, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County opened our new North Campus, Nature Lab, and Otis Booth Pavilion adding an additional 3 1⁄2 acres to our exhibit space. Our summer 2018 intern will help us as we continue our transition into being an indoor and outdoor museum with additional programs and events that highlight our new exhibits and research facility.

The mission of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. Human beings are connected — to each other, to communities, to other species, and to the Earth. As humans increasingly influence natural systems, it is critical that we understand these relationships. This understanding, in the context of the history of the Earth and its inhabitants, guides our approach to investigation and interpretation. By integrating our global research and extensive collections with engaging learning experiences that reveal all aspects of our work, we provoke curiosity and deepen understanding of our natural and cultural worlds. This dynamic learning laboratory and forum for the exchange of ideas is a new model that sets the standard for museums of the future. We inspire the widest possible audience to enjoy, value and become stewards of the living Earth

Internship Description

Position: Dinosaur Institute Intern 
(Business Development/ Communications/ Cultural Institutions/ Environment) 

As well as its public face, NHM is a research museum. Part of its staff and part of its mission are dedicated to basic research in biological, geological, and cultural sciences. Analogous to a university, researchers on staff conceive of, generate funding for, and execute basic scientific research in their areas of specialization.  By sponsoring an intern, the Dinosaur Institute  disseminates "hands on" teaching of the care of Natural History Collections and field paleontology.  He hope to encourage young people to investigate the modern applications of paleontology and how this research can answer current  questions related to climate change, environmental and evolutionary biology.

The Dinosaur Institute pursues a wide range of marine and terrestrial research, curatorial and fieldwork projects. Interns in the Dinosaur Institute will join the work carried out by the Collection Manager, Maureen Walsh. 

We have numerous projects that are likely to be operating during the summer of 2018.  These may include (but are not limited to) the preparation and conservation of fossils from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Intern will learn paleontological best practices in permitting, prospecting and excavation, repository accessioning, lab preparation and curation using KeEmu, collections management software.

The intern will support staff during ongoing education and outreach activities.  Candidate will spend one week doing fieldwork, camping, prospecting and excavating Mesozoic fossils from Late Cretaceous and Late Jurassic localities in New Mexico and Utah.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ability to handle fragile specimens without damage; excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to comfortably use a microscope and magnifier. 
  • Attention to detail when working with specimens and when working with data, the ability to write clearly and perform repetitive tasks.
  • Ability to work independently and thoughtfully with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work well and cooperatively in a group work setting, including following instructions
  • Physical ability to lift a min. of 20 lbs., wear a face mask and other protective gear.
  • Able to tolerate extreme physical conditions while engaged in fieldwork outdoors, including high temperatures, rain and wind such as those found in the "four corners" region of Utah and New Mexico during July and August in  temperatures ranging from the   mid 90's to low 60's Fahrenheit.  
  • Confident communication skills, including communication with the general public.


  • Interest in the Geological Sciences
  • Archaeology or Paleontology skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Inventory skills
  • Artistic skills
  • Photoshop
  • Arc GIS mapping skills

Position: Intern for the Director of Evaluation and Museum Impact
(Community Development/ Cultural Institution/ Environment)

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is a national leader in the exploring a new field of Urban Nature in Los Angeles — one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots. We do this through an organizational initiative that crosses departments — from Marketing and Communications, Research and Collections, Education and Exhibits— and integrates visitor experiences in our 3 1/2 acre Nature Gardens, our Nature Lab and special events and programs at the Museum as well as citizen science programs out in the natural environment — whether it be LA River, a backyard or along a hike in the foothills of Southern California. We are looking for an intern interested in Evaluation in the context of impact and learning within a science museum environment in support of our strategic initiatives.

During the summer, our Director of Evaluation and Museum impact will be assessing the evaluation practice throughout Museum activities, which include an investigation into the Public Programs (Summer Nights and Adventures in Nature Camp), Research & Collections, and Exhibitions departments. This work allows for a broad understanding of finding ways to measure Museum impact and effectiveness within these programs. This intern would report to the Director of Evaluation and Museum Impact to make sure this is a high level assignment and would have deliverables and timelines to work toward that would be clear from the beginning. There will be an accumulative presentation for their summer project based work. This intern will learn about formative evaluation, logic models, methods of evaluation and surveys as a tool. It is an opportunity to help NHM understand the effectiveness in its programs in being a “Museum of, for, and with Los Angeles” and in the context of “Urban Nature.” The intern will learn cross-departmental communication, application to strategic goals, and evaluation processes that work within a Natural History Museum context. 

Required Qualifications: 

  • Good communication skills - written and verbal 
  • An appreciation for the natural world
  • A combination of an analytic mind and a creative sensibility


  • Computer skills, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Highly organized and outgoing

Expected Start Time
9:00 - 9:30 am

Expected End Time
4:30 - 5:00 pm

Required Dates
6/4/18 - 8/10/18

Internship Length
10 Weeks

Meets Certificate Requirement

Additional Info
The NHM is centrally located in Exposition Park within close proximity to USC and downtown Los Angeles. Public transport to Vermont and Exposition as well as light rail available on the EXPO line leaves lots of options for housing. There are lots of APTS shared/single in/ around USC campus on the northside -  streets "Jefferson" , Vermont and Figueroa. Airbnb, good areas are USC, Koreatown, Mid-City. Expo line stops in front of the museum.

Background check is required.

For Dinosaur Institute Intern: 

~7 - 9 days touring and doing fieldwork at Dinosaur Institute quarries in Utah and New Mexico from late July to early August

There will be camping and hotel stays and visits to National Parks/Monuments in the southwest enroute to the quarries

Evaluation Excerpt

My work at the NHM was more directly oriented towards enhancing scholarly resources, but this in turn enhances the ability of the museum to create interest in the community. During my internship, I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how an institution like the NHM works, as well as trying my hand at various types of museum work
—Trevor Fisher '19

My best work experiences this summer were at Museum events (Malacology Society Dinner, Copepod Conference Dinner, Accenture Summer Social, LAFC Press Conference, Father’s Day sleepover, and multiple weddings). In this context, I was able to observe how event production takes place in a unique venue and exercise leadership of vendors and Museum staff in load-in, load-out, and the event itself.
—Alexandra Spensley '20

To see whether this internship is still accepting applications for 2018, please check the Second Round page.


To read evaluations written by former interns, please contact the
Student Program