Ways to Get Involved

Simmons Graduate Internship Program

The Henry Ford’s Simmons Internship Program is designed for current graduate students pursuing careers in museums, historical agencies, conservation labs, or related fields. This internship provides participants with a great opportunity to gain in-depth work experience in a major American history museum.

Stipend and Terms of Internship

Simmons interns are awarded stipends for a minimum 12-week full time internship. Starting and ending dates for individual internships are negotiable. The Simmons Internship Program is funded by the Vera W. and Walter E. Simmons Endowment Fund.

Three internship opportunities are available for 2017. Applications should include:

  • A letter of application, stating how your graduate studies, work and/or volunteer experience and personal interests qualify you for the specific project
  • A résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation regarding your qualifications for the internship, submitted directly by the authors.

The deadline for application is Friday, March 10 (postmarked or emailed by 11:59 PM EST). Please submit inquiries, letter of application, résumé and letters of recommendation to:

Saige Jedele, Simmons Internship Coordinator
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd
Dearborn, MI 48124-5029

2017 Simmons Graduate Internship Opportunities

  1. Archival Internship – American Textile Industry Collection
  2. The Henry Ford has acquired a collection of material culture and archival material related to the American textile industry, including costume textile manufacturing equipment and a large number of textile samples and pattern books. The fabrics in the collection represent a rich variety of historical textiles used in all areas of American life, and include cotton, woolen, worsted, silk, and synthetic produced by hundreds of American manufacturers. The collection of cotton prints is particularly strong, with various samples manufactured by 10 companies, including Adams, Allen, Cocheco, Arnold, Consolidated Engraving Company, Dan Cooper, Hamilton, Lancaster Mills, Merrimack and J.P. Stevens.

    Under the direction of the Archives & Library Manager and the archival staff, the intern will:

    • Research the individual textile manufacturers represented in the collection and document their historical significance.
    • Assist with movement and inventory of the textile samples, pattern books and documents.
    • Establish a high-level arrangement for the materials and create a collection-level scope and content note to support development of a finding aid.

    The successful candidate must be currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Archival Studies, have excellent organizational and communication skills, be accurate in their work and have an eye for detail. Experience with archival arrangement and description, and standard archival methods and best practices is also required.

  3. Conservation Internship – Battery Collection
  4. The Henry Ford has large collections holdings in early electrical and industrial devices, including experimental objects from the labs of both Edison and Westinghouse (Tesla). Currently we hold hundreds of old batteries of all types in a number of storage areas. These batteries pose a potential hazard while at the same time having great historical interest.

    The Henry Ford is seeking a Conservation Intern to research safe storage recommendations for batteries of all kinds and to experiment with treatment protocols that would stabilize actively deteriorating batteries.

    We are seeking a very motivated candidate with extensive coursework in chemistry and/or electrical engineering, with excellent research and writing skills who can work in dirty and dusty storage environments.

    The successful candidate will work under the direction of the Senior Conservator to:

    • Develop a working knowledge of the history of batteries through major publications, online resources and study of the collection.
    • Assist with an inventory of existing batteries in storage at The Henry Ford.
    • Compile a chart of all battery types and recommend appropriate mitigation treatments for long-term storage, including appropriate housing and environmental controls.
  5. Curatorial Internship – Clothing Collection
  6. This internship, focused around selected garments in The Henry Ford’s Clothing collection, offers experience in material culture documentation.

    Under the direction of the Curator of Domestic Life and the Chief Registrar, the intern will complete research on the original owners of a range of garments, the majority dating from the second half of the 20th century. The intern will not only conduct background research on these individuals in publicly available resources, but—where possible—will contact these individuals to interview them about the garments. The intern will write short biographies and user histories, then capture this information in the catalog records for the garments in the museum’s collections management system, EMu.

    Successful candidate should be currently enrolled in a program leading to a master’s degree in Museum Studies, History, American Studies, or a related field. Good organizational and communication skills, accuracy, and attention to detail are essential. Experience with material culture, researching historical objects, and familiarity with standard museum cataloging and archival practices is desirable. Interest in the history of fashion and in family history research beneficial.

Clark Travel-to-Collections Research Fellowship

The Clark Travel-to-Collections Fellowship provides support for research using the automotive history collections of The Henry Ford. The generous donation of the Henry Austin Clark, Jr. Library in 1991 substantially increased these collections. Applications are welcomed from researchers who want to use the automotive history collections and plan to publish or publicly present the results of their research. Researchers from all disciplines are welcome and may include doctoral candidates, automotive researchers, journalists, teachers, librarians, museum curators, archivists, and students. The grant covers a minimum two-week period up to a maximum of two months. The research may cover any area of automotive history, and may include design, manufacturing, marketing, industrial policy, corporate history, or labor relations. Research should be directed toward production of a specific publication or scholarly work, such as an article, chapter of a book, lecture, film, etc.

Grant Amount and Terms of Grant

The Clark Travel-to-Collections Research Grant Program provides up to $2,400 to defray travel expenses for researchers traveling to use The Henry Ford’s transportation history collections. Recipients should be in residence for at least two weeks and be prepared to devote full-time effort to the research funded by the fellowship. At least one fellowship will be awarded annually.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted from March 1 to December 31, 2016 for research to be completed during 2017. Applicants will be notified of the Selection Committee’s decision by February 15, 2017. Applications require a statement describing the project, submission of a budget, a timeline for completion of the research, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of support.

Clark Travel-to-Collections Program
Dina Mein, PhD
Manager, Research Library
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd
Dearborn, MI 48124-5029

The Clark Travel-to-Collections Grant Program is supported by the Henry Austin Clark, Jr. Endowment Fund


The Henry Ford offers many different ways to help, both in public-facing roles and behind the scenes in the Benson Ford Research Center. Find out more about volunteering.