Yale Peabody Museum Summer Internship

Managing a Teaching Collection: Entomology

Advisor: Nicole Palffy-Muhoray (Asst. Director, YPM Student Programs)


Length: 8 weeks in the summer


Project Description:

Teaching Collections serve as a primary resource for object-based education, exhibitions, and outreach. These collections often differ from main/central collections in having less stringent conservation/care requirements, allowing for a greater range of possible uses. This greater range of uses in turn means increased access, frequency of use, and risk, thereby creating a heightened need for careful and efficient curation, management, conservation, and care. 


The Entomology Division at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History houses some 1.5+ million specimens in its main collection, and an estimated additional 23,000 specimens (and growing) in its teaching collection. The main collection is at the highest 4 levels (7 – 10) of the McGinley (1993) profiling standards for entomological collections, meaning that all specimens are properly curated, conservation measures have been applied, and specimens are ready for or have already been digitized. In contrast, the teaching collection is at the lowest two profiling levels (1 – 2), meaning that pins or trays may need to be replaced, specimens are not sorted to any taxonomic level, may be deteriorating, and need immediate attention.


The Division of Entomology and the Office of Student Programs are offering a unique opportunity to a dedicated undergraduate with an interest in entomology collections management to gain firsthand experience in every aspect of collections management. The goal of this project is to upgrade the health of the the Division of Entomology's teaching collection by elevating it from its current McGinley profiling levels (1 – 2) to the highest possible levels (6+). As part of this internship, the student will learn proper health assessment of a collection, handling and conservation best practices, curation methods, basic taxonomy (at the Order and Family level), and Divisional digitization, security, and access procedures. Based on these skills, the student will apply high standards of curation and conservation methods to the estimated 23,000 teaching collection specimens, and develop best practices and policies for access, curation, conservation, and use that allow for the collection’s continued care while taking into consideration its projected growth rate.


Stipend: $3000


CLICK HERE to apply!