Working at SPM

Internship Opportunities

The Steel Plant Museum of Western New York offers internships in several areas, including collections, education, and archives.  For example, previous interns have rehoused and documented our artifact and photograph collections, digitized collection items, researched exhibit topics, assisted with exhibit development, and helped to catalog our archival collection.

Internships are unpaid, but students are strongly encouraged to seek academic credit for their efforts.  The majority of interns are junior or senior undergraduate or graduate students, but student status is not required.  Similarly, a background in history or museum studies is preferred, but not required.  Applicants should be hard-working, self-motivated, and adaptable to changing project guidelines.

Anyone interested in an internship at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York should submit a cover letter and current resume to the Curator at with the subject line: “Internship application (your name)”.  An acknowledgment of a submitted application will be sent via email within one week.

Below are examples of intern projects available, however, the Steel Plant Museum is happy to work with the intern to create a project tailored to the student’s interests and will provide written documentation of the project scope for the intern’s use.  Interns can reference a specific project in their application, or determine the direction of the internship after viewing the museum.

Collections Projects

Projects may include:

  • Digitization of historic photograph collection
    • This project involves digitizing silver gelatin prints and 35mm slides.  Intern will rehouse, digitize, and input results into an online database.  The intern will also help to create a searchable repository for images.
  • Creation of online repository for digitized images and online collection
    • Intern will research methods of creating a digital repository for images, as well as a platform for an online collections catalog.  The intern will also research and help to apply for funding, as well as making periodic reports.
  • Research and rehousing of map and blueprint collection
    • The intern will research the various maps and blueprints in the Steel Plant Museum’s collection to determine significance and historical context.  The intern will create a finding aid for this collection to aid researchers. The intern will also help to rehouse and properly store these materials.
  • Exhibit research, design, and installation
    • This project is ongoing at the Steel Plant Museum.  It entails assisting the Curator with exhibit research, design, and installation of a temporary exhibit.  Summer interns can assist with the exhibit at the Erie County Fair.  For interns who are in a graduate program for Museum Studies, or who plan on going into the museum field after graduation, an opportunity will be offered to take on the role of “Curator.”  In this case, the exhibit will be driven primarily by the student, with assistance from the Curator.

Education Department Projects

Projects may include:

  • Creation of education collection
    • This project will result in the creation of a package, both physical and digital, that can be brought to a location for one of our SPM on the Road presentations.  This includes a digital presentation on the history of steelmaking in Western New York, literature, and several “Artifact Kits,” which are filled with selected artifacts for the audience to interact with and learn about.
  • Research and design of educational offerings for schools
    • This project is new for the Steel Plant Museum, and therefore there are no specifics as of yet.  The intern will work with the Curator to reach out to area schools to determine desired educational offerings, which will culminate in several proposed educational programs targeted at grades K-6.

Archival Collection Projects

Projects may include:

  • Cataloging and rehousing the archival collection
    • This is an ongoing project for the Steel Plant Museum.  Archives will be cataloged in accordance with best archival practices and rehoused into appropriate categories.  The intern will also create finding aids for the archival collection, which will be available for researchers’ use.
  • Digitization of archival materials
    • The intern will research methods of digitizing archival materials, with an emphasis on ephemera.  The intern will work with the Curator to determine the best approach to digitizing the archival collection and assist with the creation of a repository for the images.


The Steel Plant Museum of WNY is in need of dedicated volunteers and docents to greet visitors and do other light duties at SPM. You will be surprised how easy it is to connect with former steel industry workers and their families when they visit!

If you are interested please contact the museum via phone at 716-821-9361 or by email at with the subject line: “Volunteering at SPM”