The purpose of the intern programme

Research at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory is not just for those considering a career in museums or galleries. The Museum’s collections offer rich sources for a wide range of subjects – not only maritime history and history of astronomy, but also the wider history of science and technology, economic and business history, the history of production and consumption, imperial history and exploration. The research internships also offer a wealth of transferable skills, from research and computer techniques, web development, production of learning resources, organising exhibitions and organising projects. For those considering further research at university, they offer the chance to try out a subject or an approach.

The Museum wishes to maintain and drive forward its research activity in the vital fields of time, navigation and astronomy (nautical sciences). Our collections in this area are world class and we need to ensure they are well researched so that the Museum can make them accessible to a diverse range of audiences. The aim is to encourage scholarly study especially of the object collections, and although this will include work on archive material, the primary focus will be on the use of artefacts for research. The Museum is keen to encourage interdisciplinary and contextual studies. There may also be scope to work with the Exhibition, On-line Projects, Education or Open Museum departments on methods of using the results of research to interpret objects for different groups of visitors, including virtual visitors using the web-site. For those considering a career in museums or galleries, the internships provide an ideal opportunity of first-hand experience. For those mainly interested in research, there will be the chance to explore the use of material objects as sources

Duration and Payment

The internships will last for between one and three months, agreed in advance, depending on the scope and level of the proposed project. It will be possible to divide a longer internship into two periods, by agreement with Museum staff, and university tutors if applicable. The bursary will be £1000 per month. There will also be a limited amount of additional money for exceptional travel expenses essential to the research and agreed in advance.

Who can apply?

The internships will be open to all postgraduate students, and to final year undergraduates who wish to use research on the Museum’s collections for a dissertation or long essay. Applicants can also apply for an internship in between courses, for example, between undergraduate and postgraduate study, or to try out a subject which they may wish to propose for a M.Phil or Ph.D.


Applications should include a curriculum vitae, giving full contact details, educational qualifications, and the names of two referees. There should also be an outline in no more than 500 words of the proposed research topic. Potential interns are encouraged to visit the Museum and discuss possible topics with relevant staff before making an application. They should make an appointment through the administrative support officer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Janet Small, [email protected], telephone 020 8312 6675. For internships to be carried out between April 2006 and March 2007, the closing date will be Monday 13 March 2006. Where the research carried out during an internship will be used for a university dissertation, subjects and approaches will also need to be agreed with university tutors.