Padnos Museum Internship
at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

intern at work

The highly rewarding and fiercely competitive field of museum work requires more than classroom study for entry. Increasingly, employers demand a certain level of practical experience to accompany a degree in the humanities. The Padnos Museum Internship Program at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum provides the necessary skills students need to attain a certain level of marketability in the field. For its nearly twenty years in operation, the program has provided lasting experiences for students from around the country.

Interns gain experience by working directly with historic artifacts through a variety of collections and exhibit projects. The core of the program focuses on collections management, where digitization (through photography and data-entry) has become one of the primary objectives. Interns still spend much of their time on traditional and essential museum activities, including cataloging, inventorying, condition-reporting, re-housing, and reorganizing projects. The frequent rotation of temporary and traveling exhibits provide interns with experience dealing with artifact mounts, lighting, case arrangement, packing, and unpacking artifact loans.

As the museum moves forward with digitization and dissemination initiatives, we encourage those with more technical skills to apply. The internship program offers students an opportunity to utilize these skills and expand upon them. We seek students with blogging, coding, social media, database, website development, and photography experience. More and more, these skills become highly sought after by employers in the museum field.

Museum interns must complete 240 hours of work over a 12 to 14 week period (or roughly, a school semester). The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation provides a stipend of $1,000 upon completion of the internship. We are happy to work with university departments to help students fulfill academic requirements for the opportunity. Although we encourage students to pursue course credit for the experience, it is not required. We can also work with graduate students to meet their specific academic needs.

Previous museum experience is not required.

• Applicants must be an upper-level undergraduate (junior or senior) or a graduate student.

• Interns complete 240 hours of work over a 12-14 week period.

• The number of interns is limited to two or three students per semester.

• The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation provides a stipend of $1,000 upon completion of the internship.

• Internships are offered for Winter (Jan-April), Summer (May-August), and Fall (Sept-Dec) semesters.

interns at work

Summer Internship:

March 1                Deadline for Application
March 1-15           Applicant Interviews
April 1                  Final Selection
May 1                  Internship Begins (flexible)

Fall Internship:

July 1                    Deadline for Application
July 1-15               Applicant Interviews
August 1                Final Selection
September 1          Internship Begins (flexible)

Winter Internship:

November 1          Deadline for Application
November 1-15     Applicant Interviews
December 1          Final Selection
January 15           Internship Begins (flexible)

intern at work
intern at work

If this opportunity interests you, please send a cover letter and copy of your resume (including cumulative GPA) to:


John A. Sheehan
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI  49504


Students from all over the U.S. have completed internships at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum:

  • Hope College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Cornerstone University
  • Aquinas College
  • Calvin College
  • Western Michigan University
  • Central Michigan University
  • University of Michigan
  • Seton Hall University
  • State University of New York
  • Marquette University
  • Ball State University
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • Taylor University
  • North Central College
  • Albion College
interns at work interns at work