Are you a junior or senior in need of upper-level elective credits in History?  Are you seeking opportunities to further develop and practice your historical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills beyond the traditional classroom setting?  If so, consider “HIST 4920: Internships in History.” This course offers students 3 hours of academic credit for 150 hours of internship work during a single semester; students alternatively can earn 2 credits for 100 hours of work, or 1 credit for 50 hours of work.  The History Department has partnered with many of our region's outstanding historical institutions to offer the for-credit/unpaid internships listed below.  Students also are welcome to propose internship ideas. 

If, after reading the internship descriptions, you are interested in one of these opportunities or have any questions, please contact the History Department's internships coordinator, Dr. Michael Thompson.  Professor Thompson will serve as the UTC faculty liaison between student interns and sponsoring institutions.  Please note that some internships are competitive and limited to only one or two students each semester, and that HIST 4920 cannot be used to fulfill the 4000-level History major requirement.

See what UTC History interns have been up to on the History Department Blog.


Internship Opportunities Available for the Spring 2018 Semester:

Bessie Smith Cultural Center:

The mission of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center (The Bessie) is to become the premier interdisciplinary cultural center that promotes cultural, educational, and artistic excellence and fosters research and education of African and African American heritage; and provides a venue that allows the community to celebrate through education, art and entertainment.  Student interns will assist the staff of the Bessie Smith in fulfilling this important mission.


Chattanooga Women’s Oral History Project:

Directed by the Mayor’s Council History Committee, Chattanooga Women’s Oral History Project seeks to recover, archive, publish, and celebrate an inclusive historical repository of women’s accomplishments, activism, and experiences as business leaders, legal advocates, educators, social activists, and community builders from 1920 to 2020. To date, the project has completed 59 of the goal of 200 interviews, publishing 35 online with full text transcriptions to enhance usability and accessibility. Highlighting the experiences and perspectives of local women of different generational contexts, socio-economic and professional backgrounds, and cultural heritage, this oral history project strives to inspire and empower future generations of women in the area. This globally accessible repository offers researchers and scholars with an opportunity to study this rich regional and women’s history. Internship duties consist of contacting interviewees, conducting interviews, transcribing digital files of oral histories, authoring biographical and historical notes that provide context for archival materials, and developing exhibitions and blog posts.  The intern program will be overseen and coordinated by Prof. Susan Eckelmann Berghel (faculty, History Department) and Carolyn Runyon (director, UTC Special Collections).


Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park:

Interns participating in this opportunity at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will engage with the profession of historical interpretation at the oldest and largest national military park in the United States.  Interns will learn about what it means to connect the public to the parks in meaningful ways following the principles of interpretation laid out by Freeman Tilden and built upon by later generations of national park rangers.  The internship will be completed through a series of online courses, meetings with a park ranger supervisor, hands-on activities, and programming in the park, culminating in the intern presenting programs to park visitors.  This internship is unpaid, but is eligible for college credits and serves as experience with the National Park Service.


Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park:

Moccasin Bend National Archeological District is a signature feature of the Chattanooga landscape and was added as a unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 2003. The Moccasin Bend peninsula has 12,000 years of Native American history to discover in addition to playing a defining roll in the Civil War’s siege of Chattanooga and subsequent battle for the city. The Friends of Moccasin Bend are a nonprofit organization that partners with the National Park Service on the preservation, protection, and interpretation of the cultural, historical, and natural resources of the bend. Interns will have the opportunity to research, write about, and photograph the bend’s Native American, Civil War, and environmental histories. In addition, interns can learn about the day-to-day operations of a small nonprofit organization in downtown Chattanooga. This internship offers college credit, flexibility, and opportunities for growth as a historian and professional.


Hunter Museum of American Art:

The Hunter Museum of American Art presents history through the presentation of primary sources that incorporate a variety of artistic media.  The Hunter is a visitor centered institution meaning it is perpetually tasked with presenting American history to a diverse audience of guests, both those engaged in a structured staff-implemented programs and those exploring the galleries on their own.  To that end, all offerings from wall texts and virtual resources to direct contact programs (both large public offerings and smaller tailored opportunities), endeavor to engage and educate the public while also encouraging critical thinking and exploration of concepts as they apply to history beyond the gallery walls.  Internships at the Hunter therefore can vary based upon students' stated interests and experience and current projects being planned at the Museum. Internships will incorporate both short- term and long-term projects developed in partnership between the student and the on-site supervisor and could involve many portions of the Museum, from those tasked with preserving and archiving the materials to those tasked with presenting and assessing audience engagement with them.


Museum Center at 5ive Points:

The Museum Center at 5ive Points in downtown Cleveland, Tennessee, tells the story of the Ocoee Region. Through exhibits, public programs, tours, and special events, the Museum shares the local stories of our area’s past, present, and future. Competitive internship opportunities are available through both the Museum’s Education and Collections departments. Museum Education Intern projects include public history and community involvement, exhibit and related program planning, education program research and development (field trips and tours), volunteer training and management, and marketing and promotion.  Meanwhile, the Museum holds a collection of over 7,400 objects including photographs, documents, and objects highlighting early settlement, agriculture, and industry. Museum Collections Interns work directly with the Curator of Collections to document, research, and maintain the Museum’s collections.


People’s History of Chattanooga Project:

There is a well-known narrative of Chattanooga history; Civil War battlefields, the ‘Dynamo of Dixie,’ ‘Dirtiest City in the U.S.,’ the Chattanooga Renaissance. A sanitized picture of progress for a mid-sized Southern city, this tale tends to focus on the political establishment, business leaders, and other movers and shakers while often ignoring the real perspective of marginalized communities, agitators, and working-class folks whose bitter fights for a better city have left an indelible mark. Chattanooga Organized for Action (COA) wants to tell this story; one that highlights the social movements, radical activism, dirty conflicts and everyday heroes that have often remained hidden from cultural awareness. Whether it is the legacy of white supremacy and anti-racist resistance, the rise of unions and industrial struggles, the complex battles for women's liberation, the strengthening of networks in the LGBTQ community, or the mobilization of citizens around numerous and diverse environmental issues, the time is right for a more full and honest portrayal of Chattanooga. The People’s History of Chattanooga Project looks to tie historical research to cultural production and public consciousness. Based on the amazing ‘Celebrate People’s History’ posters created by the JustSeeds Collective, the goal of the project is to work with local artists and graphic designers to create a series of posters relating to particular historical themes. With support from the University of Tennessee’s History and Graphic Design Departments, we are expecting to host a gallery exhibit launching the project at the end of Spring 2016. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, COA will actively distribute these posters around the city, maintain a display on our website, and work to schedule a rotating gallery and curated exhibits. This is meant to be a multi-year project with added content highlighting new stories. Chattanooga Organized for Action is looking to involve history interns in background research, primary source identification and oral history work relating to the People’s History Project. The intern program will be overseen and coordinated by Michael Gilliland, Board Chair.


Red Clay State Park:

For those interested in Early American, Cherokee or Native American studies, Red Clay State Historic Park has an opportunity for you with an internship program at the park in partnership with UTC.  Student interns will have an opportunity to shape their own historical programs and present them to the public either as a living history participant or as a tour guide.  Other students will help identify and arrange the park’s large store of archive materials and help make them easily searchable for researchers or the general public.  Other opportunities include park trail guides, park event staff, museum tour guides, library reorganization, park resource management and other tasks as assigned.


UTC Special Collections:

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections is responsible for acquiring, processing, digitizing, and preserving unique, primary source materials. In particular, the materials focus on the university, Chattanooga, the state of Tennessee, and the American South. Interns play a critical role in Special Collections by helping the repository create digital collections, finding aids, and exhibits of cultural heritage resources.  Internship duties may include: using scanners and cameras to digitize archival materials and rare books; creating descriptive metadata in a spreadsheet; assisting researchers by retrieving materials and filling scanning and photocopy requests; shelving materials, arranging and describing archival collections, and inventorying resources; authoring biographical and historical notes that provide context for archival materials; and developing exhibitions, blog posts, and other outreach initiatives.  A list of required and preferred qualifications are available upon request.


Spring 2018 internship opportunities may also be available at the following:

The Ed Johnson Project:

The Ed Johnson Committee was formed in 2016, comprised of a group of citizens who believed the Chattanooga community needed to find a way to better tell the Ed Johnson story, a part of American history that changed the justice system. The diverse group includes members who had previously contributed to remembering the Ed Johnson story by getting a state resolution passed, writing a play about him and maintaining the cemetery where he is buried.  Please inquire for information regarding available internship opportunities.



Jazz is one of the few truly American art forms and one of our greatest cultural achievements. Born in the early 1900s in the South, Jazz transcends race, religion and national boundaries. Jazz unites all audiences. It speaks to the heart, mind and spirit. It is universal. As the birthplace of such noted jazz figures as Bessie Smith, Yusef Lateef and Lovie Austin, Chattanooga’s role in the history of jazz cannot be understated. Jazzanooga, created in 2011 as a citywide celebration of jazz, is a community initiative that not only draws from the cultural relevance and history of our city and its residents, but also provides a festive platform where diverse communities can gather and celebrate Chattanooga’s extraordinary jazz heritage.  Please inquire for information regarding available internship opportunities.


Medal of Honor Heritage Center:

The Heritage Center was created to educate present and future generations about the extraordinary sacrifices of those who went above and beyond the call of duty to preserve the cause of freedom.  Please inquire for information regarding available internship opportunities.