Feeling Presidential?

Career Blog Internships

Published: February 21, 2017 by Kate M. Spaulding

Learn all about Presidential Libraries and how to work there.

Has Presidents Day gotten you thinking about presidential libraries? Maybe you saw the news flying around Twitter last week that Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to hire an intern? Bad news, the deadline’s passed – but there are still ways to work at one of these august institutions. 

The Barack Obama Library will be the 14th of its kind. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt donated his Presidential and personal papers to the Federal Government; President Truman followed suit in 1950. Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955, “establishing a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries. The Act encouraged other Presidents to donate their historical materials to the government and ensured the preservation of Presidential papers and their availability to the American people” (source). The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is charged with their operation and maintenance.

As such, NARA is also in charge of hiring at these institutions. Their Careers page has links to current opportunities, as well as internship and student options. There are also volunteer opportunities. That’s right, it seems that the Presidential libraries give you the tools to get a job there.

Volunteers do a lot at these libraries! They act as docents and administrative assistants, work with the archived materials, and help with educational outreach. These are all great opportunities to build resume-worthy skills and set yourself up for success!

General NARA internship information is available here, and Presidential library internships have their own webpage. Like volunteer positions, the internships look as though you’ll get valuable experience in archives, museums, public programs, and reference services.

You can find current job postings here, and there are different options depending on whether you have experience working for the government or NARA.

For more about the nascent Barack Obama Presidential Library, visit the website for more information and announcements as it progresses. The Obama Center is also in development, and should provide some interesting opportunities in the coming years. For more on Presidential Libraries, visit the National Archives, where you’ll also find links to all fourteen institutions.

Image courtesy Phoebe Migliano via the always awesome ALATT