Student Work-Study Opportunities


Two Semesters of Work-Study* at the Arizona State Museum

Apply for ONE of five opportunities for a unique, hands-on educational experience!

Made possible by the Raymond H. and Molly K. Thompson Endowment Fund


Opportunity #1: Archaeological Repository

Learn basic principles and practices of archaeological collections management while assisting the Repository Manager with processing collections received from archaeological projects. This position involves verifying inventories, photographing artifacts, data entry, and/or rehousing existing collections and upgrading storage conditions as needed. Depending on interest and level of knowledge, the position may also involve assisting in cataloguing artifacts. Training will be provided. Ideal for anyone interested in a career in Anthropology or Natural Sciences Museums, or in Southwest Archaeology.

Skills or experience needed: Basic computer word-processing skills are necessary. A base knowledge of archaeological concepts is desirable, but not required.

*Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


Opportunity #2: Office of Ethnohistorical Research

Learn about Spanish colonial documents—types and structures, their information potential, the numerous documentary collections available—while assisting the Curator of Documentary History with digitizing and cataloguing microfilmed and paper Spanish document collections originating from a variety of archives. Depending on interest and skill levels, you’ll also learn to read and summarize handwritten Spanish documents for a history project about the O’odham peoples of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. All documents pertain to the U.S. Southwest–Northern Mexico borderlands, making this a very relevant experience for students in History, Anthropology, American Indian Studies, Mexican American Studies, Geography, Spanish, and/or Information Science and eSociety.

Skills or experience needed: The ability to read Spanish and an eye for detail are essential; strong English skills and/or some experience with spreadsheets and digital imaging are preferred. Training will be provided.

*Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


Opportunity #3: Community Engagement

Help develop and present hands-on activities for exhibit community events and Culture Craft Saturday family programs. Work with visiting K-12 school groups and support teacher workshops. Help with exhibit-related research and logistics. Upcoming exhibits deal with race, identity, and stereotypes; Yaqui and Mayo Pascola masks; and photography and conservation. This position is perfect for students majoring in Education; Special Education; Art and Visual Culture Education, History; Theater Education; American Indian Studies; or Anthropology. Training will be provided.

Skills or experience needed: Good verbal communication skills are necessary. Knowledge of Southwest history and cultures is desirable, as is experience working with children in a school, museum, or camp setting. Driver’s license and own vehicle are preferred (mileage reimbursed). Interest and skill in making arts and crafts are a definite plus.

*Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


Opportunity #4: Ethnological Collections

Learn and experience diverse museum professional activities such as intellectual organization of collections, object care and handling, collection inventory in preparation for a move, use of a museum computer information system, and professional deaccessioning practices. In the process you’ll also learn about a wide range of materials from cultures around the world, including northern Mexico, Central America, Africa, and the Pacific.

Skills or experience needed: Attention to detail, familiarity with MS Word and Excel, and the ability to lift 30 lbs. are essential to this position. Experience with MS Access is a plus, as is familiarity with Southwest Native material culture or any other museum experience.

*Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


Opportunity #5: Preservation

Learn basic principles and practices of archaeological conservation. You’ll gain knowledge of object handling (artifact labeling, documentation and examination of museum objects, constructing object supports and boxes, digital photography), conservation ethics, environmental monitoring, preventive conservation, and laboratory safety practices. This opportunity is ideal for someone interested in the fields of Conservation, Museum Studies, and Anthropology.

Skills or experience needed: A base knowledge of chemistry is useful but not required.

*Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


To Apply:  Details and Deadline for 2020 will be posted soon, send to Dr. Dale Brenneman,

  • A one-page proposal letter that includes:
    • Which opportunity you are applying for;
    • Biographical information (name, program, degree pursued, date expected); and
    • A statement summarizing your educational goals, what has been done so far to reach those goals, and how this particular work-study will be relevant to them.
  • A letter of support from your academic advisor or academic program faculty member.
  • A copy of the official offer of a federal work-study award for the coming academic year, including the amount awarded.

Applicants must already have federal Work-Study funding approval.


Supports Museum-Based Student Research and Learning

The Raymond H. and Molly K. Thompson Endowment Fund was established to honor director Raymond H. Thompson upon his retirement in 1997. Income from the endowment is used in two ways:

Fellowships support costs associated with the production of a master’s or doctoral thesis through annual competitive fellowship grants. These grants are open to graduate students connected to the Arizona State Museum through direct employment, working with its collections, or having its faculty serving as their advisor.

A Competitive Work-Study position provides one undergraduate student each year with a two-semester, hands-on educational experience at the Arizona State Museum. During our annual “Year at the Museum” competition, students with federal work-study funding approval are asked to apply for one of several work-study opportunities among the museum’s diverse labs and programs. Proposals are evaluated by committee and the position is awarded to the most deserving student.