Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

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 and volunteers play critical roles in Special Collections by helping the repository create digital collections, finding aids, and exhibits of cultural heritage resources. Currently, our archivists train, mentor, and supervise 25 student assistants, interns, and volunteers working more than 250 scheduled hours/week in Special Collections.

Internship and volunteer duties may include: 

  • arranging and describing archival collections;
  • authoring biographical and historical notes that provide context for archival materials; 
  • conducting oral history interviews;
  • transcribing audio and video assets;
  • creating descriptive metadata in a spreadsheet; 
  • using scanners and cameras to digitize archival materials and rare books; 
  • conducting research and writing narratives for grant applications;
  • and developing exhibitions, blog posts, and other outreach initiatives.

Past Projects

Special Collections works closely with interns and volunteers to provide experiences tailored to meet the learning needs of individuals. Past projects assisted by interns and volunteers include the following:

Intern Perspectives

Read about past projects and experiences in our Intern Perspectives series on the UTC Library Blog!

Internships and Practica

Interns and practica students help Special Collections achieve fulfill it's mission by working on archival processing and description or  digital capture and metadata projects, and outreach initiatives including exhibitions and programming. Special Collections stresses a standards-based approach to digitization and description, and uses archival and digital asset management systems commonly adopted by galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) in the United States. Interns and practica students who successfully complete projects in Special Collections gain important transferrable skills and exposure to professional software applications that help prepare them for graduate studies or careers in archival administration and records management. 

Special Collections works with the following partners to provide unpaid, for credit internship and practicum experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Interested parties should apply to intern in Special Collections by submitting a completed Internship Application, resume, and cover letter to the Director of Special Collections, Carolyn Runyon, at Carolyn-Runyon@utc.edu. The cover letter should provide a description of the applicant's relevant experience and expertise and address what the applicant hopes to gain from the internship, including learning objectives and how the internship would meet the applicant's career goals. The cover letter should also describe how they would like to positively contribute to the mission of Special Collections. We encourage graduate student applicants to think broadly about what they hope to accomplish in their practical experiences and pitch projects such as drafting records management policies, creating a digital preservation plan, developing programming, or creating curriculum maps, lesson plans, and research guides.

Internship candidates must interview with the Director of Special Collections and must be willing work onsite during our regular hours of operation at least 10 hours a week for a minimum of 1 semester. Applicants are encouraged to consider working 2 semesters in Special Collections to gain more well-rounded experiences in archives and records management.

Special Collections communicates with interns and practica students through email and a Google calendar. Further, Special Collections uses Google Sheets to manage most projects. In order to engage with Special Collections, volunteers and interns must have a MocsMail or Gmail account.

Interns and practica students are subject to the Student Assistant, Intern, and Volunteer Guidelines for Working in Special Collections and are responsible for making their own parking arrangements. Parking information may be found on our Hours, Location and Facilities

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested parties should apply to volunteer in Special Collections by submitting a completed Volunteer Application and cover letter to the Director of Special Collections, Carolyn Runyon, at Carolyn-Runyon@utc.eduThe cover letter should provide a description of the applicant's relevant experience and expertise and describe the applicant's motivation for volunteering in Special Collections. The cover letter should also describe how they would like to positively contribute to the mission of Special Collections. We encourage applicants with relevant experience to think broadly about what they want to accomplish in their volunteer experiences and pitch projects such as drafting records management policies, creating a digital preservation plan, developing programming, or creating curriculum maps, lesson plans, and research guides.

Volunteer candidates must interview with the Director of Special Collections and must be willing work onsite during our regular hours of operation at least 5 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months. All volunteers are subject to a background check and must sign the UTC Library Volunteer Agreement before working in Special Collections.

Special Collections communicates with volunteers through email and a Google calendar. Further, Special Collections uses Google Sheets to manage most projects. In order to engage with Special Collections, volunteers and interns must have a MocsMail or Gmail account.

Volunteers are subject to the Student Assistant, Intern, and Volunteer Guidelines for Working in Special Collections and are responsible for making their own parking arrangements. Parking information may be found on our Hours, Location and Facilities