Native American Curation Internship Program

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo, California, is seeking an outgoing and enthusiastic Native American intern, with an archaeology and/or anthropology background, to provide curation assistance at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. This internship is an excellent opportunity to work with an institution that is making a difference.
This is a great position for an entry-level professional with a deep interest in jointly advancing their career goals and helping preserve the cultural history of this local area. The ideal candidate will have a B.A. or B.S. in anthropology, archeology, museum studies, or related field and have a deep interest in cultural preservation. The interns must possess a passion and professional interest in advancing their career towards cultural resource management.

Position Description: Interns will primarily assist the Head Curator to provide curation assistance at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. Curation work will include lab work identifying, re-curating and cataloging the Imperial Valley College Archaeology Collection, a large collection of Native American artifacts that is being removed from temporary storage and prepared for a permanent exhibit to be designed and developed by 2014.

Dates: October 2, 2013 – April 23, 2013

About IVDM: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is a new facility in the heart of the Yuha Desert housing Native American and historic artifacts collected from within the Imperial Valley. As an institution, we are interested in changing the paradigm of how museums operate in the 21st century. We have an opportunity for recent graduates who want to be inspired to think outside the box in what that paradigm might look like. Currently, the area does not have a culture of museums or museum visitation, an issue the museum seeks to address. As the IVDM embarks on developing exhibit in the next 18 months, interns will experience the ground floor of how a museum is developed. 

Location: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is located in Ocotillo, in the Yuha Desert, at the very edge of the Sonoran Desert, in Imperial County, California. The museum is in the border region of California and is 90 miles east of San Diego, 90 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, and five miles from the border of Mexico. The small town of Ocotillo is isolated, but is in a region of many desert recreational opportunities and lies at the southern boundary of the Anza-Borrego State Park.  

Compensation: Interns will work 40 hours per week and receive a stipend of $200 per week for food and incidentals. The museum will provide on-site shared housing.

Training Provided: Interns will receive training in a wide range of cultural resource management skills, including museum curation and lab work, cultural resource protection, site monitoring, and prehistoric and historic archaeology in southern California. The IVDM is committed to providing an educational, rewarding, and challenging experience to best prepare interns for future careers in the museum field and  exhibit development.

Qualifications: Applicants with knowledge and skills in curation and conservation of artifacts, are strongly encouraged to apply. Most importantly, candidates should have demonstrated interest in pursuing a career within the scope of this internship. Applicants must be passionate and interested in historic preservation. The Native American intern must be willing to represent the IVDM in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 

Required Skills:
•     Internship is available to US Citizens and Green Card holders only
•     Valid driver’s license, clean driving record
•     Museum and/or archaeological laboratory experience
•     Ability to work indoors utilizing various software programs
•     Proficiency in Excel and Access databases, past experience preferred
•     Ability to work outdoors and perform physical labor outdoors in extreme summer temperatures (80-120 degrees F)
•     Personal medical insurance
•     Vehicle is suggested, as it is impossible to get between Ocotillo and El Centro without a car, where services and amenities are located. However, staff share accommodations and vehicle.

For more information visit

Application process:  
Applicants must submit a resume and brief cover letter to Imperial Valley Desert Museum, PO Box 430, Ocotillo, CA 92259, preferably by attachment to, with “Native American Intern” in the subject line.