Rhode Island Historical Society
Providence, Rhode Island
Applications are now being accepted for a Summer 2020 Audiovisual Archiving and Preservation Intern at the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS). This internship will support one individual from a traditionally marginalized identity group, and applicants are encouraged to concurrently apply to the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Pilot Program, for which RIHS is pleased to serve as a host site if an applicant is accepted into both programs. The goal of this internship and the AMIA pilot program is to support and mentor the professional journeys of aspiring individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities to find their learning objectives and help guide their development as professionals in the field of audiovisual archiving.
The Rhode Island Historical Society, founded in 1822, is the fourth oldest state historical society in the country. The RIHS has the largest historical collections in existence relating to Rhode Island, almost all of which are housed on-site at The Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center and the John Brown House Museum, both located in Providence. The RIHS also operates the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, but the RIHS collections are VAST, particularly the Moving Image and Recorded Sound collections which include an estimated 9 million feet of 16mm film, 3000 oral histories on 1⁄4” open reel audiotape and compact cassette, and a variety of videotape formats including 2” open reel, 3⁄4” U-matic, Video8/Hi8, VHS, and Betacam. The film collection is anchored by the archives of three local TV stations, (two commercial news affiliates and Rhode Island PBS), with news footage spanning from the 1950s through early 1980s. Other materials date back to the 1910s and include early silent narratives made by Providence studios, home movies, industrials, advertisements and educational films.
Description of Internship:
In late 2018, NYU MIAP grad Becca Bender became the RIHS’s first staff audiovisual archivist and curator in about 40 years, so there are many strands of work that have been recently developed and launched (and many still to come). Under Becca’s supervision, a summer intern will have the opportunity to participate in any and all daily tasks, as well as to carve out specific projects of their interest. Examples of tasks and projects include:
- Preparing local newsfilm “rollettes” for viewing - cleaning, adding leader, putting on cores
- Screening film on a Steenbeck and shooting “quick and dirty” reference videos
- Inspecting and screening local newsfilm compilation reels to locate stories for internal and external research requests
- Creating a detailed inventory of 2" quad videotapes
- Processing “miscellaneous” boxes of newsfilm from the 1960s and 1970s (and discovering gems!)
- Organizing local news scripts from the 1960s and 1970s
- Cataloging film and tape for content
- Preparing film and tape for lab shipments
- Performing quality control on digitized files created by external vendors
- Helping to plan public programs such as Home Movie Day 2020 and film screenings with live music
- Identifying collection materials for online and public exhibits on topics such as student protests, immigration, and LGBTQ history in Rhode Island
Really, there’s so much to do here, that whatever you want to get into, you probably can. And there’s a guaranteed field trip to the Museum of Broadcast Technology in Woonsocket, RI, that has no less than five working 2” Quad decks of varying vintages (along with any other type of VTR that you might want to see).
Eligibility and Requirements:
Applicants from historically marginalized groups should submit the following by March 30, 2020, to Becca Bender (Film Archivist & Curator of Recorded Media) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Cover letter detailing your experiences and goals with respect to audiovisual archiving
- Contact information for two references
Applications for the AMIA Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship must be submitted separately via this online form. AMIA fellows may complete their internship at RIHS if they are accepted into both programs.
There are no specific academic requirements for the RIHS internship, but the following qualities are expected:
- Interest in history, library science, and audiovisual archiving and preservation
- Comfort in Mac and Windows environments, working with spreadsheets, databases, and content management systems
- Ability to handle archival objects with care
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively
- Fierce attention to detail
The selected intern will need to undergo a background check per RIHS policy for all employees and volunteers.
The intern will receive a $4000 stipend for the completion of 250 hours within 12 weeks.
Applications are due by March 30, 2020 and an intern will be selected by April 15, 2020. The internship must be completed between June 1, 2020 and August 30, 2020.
Human Resources / Job Listings
Please email your materials with the subject line: "Summer Internship - Your Name" to Becca Bender, Film Archivist & Curator of Recorded Media at email@example.com