Position Description
The Chicago History Museum (CHM) seeks an intern to assist implementation of a grant funded retroconversion project to transform the remainder of our small manuscript collection descriptions from local card catalog access to global electronic access. Throughout the process, the intern will learn how to describe manuscript collections according to library standards, how to research missing pieces of description, how to ensure data is electronically discoverable, and ultimately how to better accomplish manuscript research. Under the direction of the Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, the intern will work with the catalog cards for the Archives & Manuscripts small collections: photocopying, sorting, entering data into a spreadsheet and verifying contents where needed.

To apply for this position, please complete the Chicago History Museum internship application form (https://www.chicagohistory.org/internship-application/). Please apply by Wednesday, 8/16/17.

The specific tasks expected for this project include:

  • Preparing catalog cards for data entry, including photocopying them in access terms order, then resorting by collection and determining which collections need to be described electronically
  • Entering catalog card data into our small manuscripts database, including cleaning up data as it is entered and identifying both necessary and unnecessary information
  • Verifying catalog card data and researching more where appropriate, both with reference resources and Archives and Manuscript source material
  • Assessing collections for entry into the EXPLORE Chicago Collections database.

Should time permit, student is also welcome to assist with other duties as they arise.

The schedule for this project begins on September 5, 2017. Hours are flexible, but must be completed between 9 am–5 pm and total a minimum of 12 hours a week for 16 weeks.


  • Prior data entry experience
  • College-level coursework required
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work with fragile paper
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to ascend and descend stairs
  • Ability to lift and carry objects/boxes weighing up to 25 pounds
  • Commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the Chicago History Museum


  • History and/or research coursework experience preferred but not required
  • Prior library experience preferred but not required
  • Knowledge of or interest in Chicago history.

Project Overview
CHM has approximately 6,000 small manuscript collections that are only described in analog card catalog form. The collections are varied, but most are unique materials describing aspects of life in the United States from the Colonial era to the Civil War. Many were acquired in the early 20th century, and their descriptions have not been updated since that time. With online catalogs now ubiquitous, researchers expect that a repository’s holdings will be discoverable remotely. Since 2006 the majority of CHM’s research collections have been discoverable via an online catalog, SirsiDynix’s Horizon, which is branded as ARCHIE. Because these small manuscript collections are not found in ARCHIE, researchers are either unaware of their existence or frustrated when they have a citation to one of them and cannot find it online, necessitating a librarian’s intervention. Making these collections available online will increase their discoverability and usefulness.

About Chicago History Museum

CHM’s mission is to share Chicago’s stories, serving as a hub of scholarship and learning, inspiration, and civic engagement.

Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum (CHM) is the city’s oldest cultural institution and home to over 22 million objects, including documents, books, fine and decorative arts, costumes, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Nationally recognized for its collections, CHM specializes in the diverse and evolving history of Chicago, as well as selected areas of regional and American history.