Exhibitions Interpretation

Advisor: Kailen Rogers (YPM Assistant Director of Exhibitions) 



Length: 8 weeks in the summer 


Project Description: 

Between 2020 and 2023, the Yale Peabody Museum’s galleries are undergoing their largest renovation and expansion in a century. We have a remarkable opportunity to present more of the Museum’s collections to the public, in a new light. In addition to scientific facts, we’re looking for new angles into our collections to more fully engage our visitors. For example, whose contributions have gone unrecognized? How do we illuminate natural history specimens through contemporary research on the micro and nano scales? What connects the Peabody’s collections to economics, folklore, or the arts? We seek an exhibitions intern to help us use the collections to research, develop, and test some of the stories we’ll bring to the public when the Peabody reopens. Activities include: 

  • Reviewing collections objects slated for display and potential stories with the Exhibitions department and the gallery development teams 

  • Developing additional interpretation possibilities through research in the Peabody’s collections and with external sources 

  • Drafting written, graphical, and/or multimedia interpretation for evaluation, in collaboration with content specialists, exhibition developers, and designers 

  • Testing the interest, clarity, and relevance of text, graphics, and multimedia drafts with focus groups from the Yale and New Haven communities, and updating content as necessary. 

This internship comes at a critical time for the Peabody, as it coincides with the development of the in-gallery interpretation for our reopening. We look forward to the opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective to meaningfully connect our collections to our visitors from Yale, New Haven, and beyond. 


Proposed structure: 

Weeks 1 and 2: Discuss overview of galleries, materials slated for display, proposed narrative outline. Intern chooses one or two areas within one gallery to focus on and visits relevant collection(s) to view specimens and speak to collection manager and gallery team for background info. 

Weeks 3 and 4: Research using collections and other sources to develop shortlist of interpretation ideas. Discuss interpretation best practices with Exhibitions team and begin drafting possibilities. 

Weeks 5­ and 6: Develop interpretation mockups, with Assistant Director and graphic designer (or multimedia consultant, if needed). May include digitizing, 3D scanning/printing, or other collections-based content creation. Test with Sci.CORPS as first audience and refine as necessary. 

Week 7: Evaluate draft interpretation with selected Yale and New Haven focus groups.

Week 8: Write up evaluation summary, offer feedback and recommendations. 


Stipend: $3000