Historic New Orleans Collection | Museum Education and Interpretation HBCU Internship

Le Musée Free People of Color Communities Research Project


Project Description:

Le Musée Free People of Color Museum, a historic house museum, is one of the country’s few attractions dedicated exclusively to preserving the material culture of and telling the story of free people of color. The founders of this repository strive through their collection of documents, paintings, and decorative arts to present, interpret and preserve the history and culture shared by so many free people of African descent in New Orleans and throughout the country. In an ongoing effort to chronicle this comprehensive and transparent historic narrative, the Historic New Orleans Collection will collaborate with the Le Musée to deepen historic research into the prominent figures and families of New Orleans’s Free People of Color community.

The intern will work under the direction and tutorship of the Historic New Orleans Collection Department of Education in formulating narrative and interpretive strategies for the Le Musée permanent exhibit spaces and online educational resources. This internship provides a unique opportunity to learn about and contribute to the development of interpretive tools, and extensively engage in historic research.


Application Deadline  : December 18, 2022

Interns will work under the administrative supervision and tutorship of Kendric Perkins, HNOC Education Specialist, and Andrea Stickler, McKenna Museums Executive Director.


Please direct any questions related to internship project or application to Internship Coordinator, Sydney Wessinger, at sydney.wessinger@hnoc.org.






Intern Testimonies

“My experience at THNOC has been very insightful thus far. My project lead, Sara Duggan and Lydia Blackwell are amazing. I’m appreciative of their guidance and expertise. I am glad that I can work and be surrounded by people that are passionate about their work. Sydney has created a safe and welcoming environment for this program. She helped create a sense of unity and inclusivity. This internship has expanded my previous views on what I thought I wanted to do in my career. Everyone at the museum that I have met has been open to sharing their own perspectives and experiences. It is also nice to see that Sydney is making predominantly white spaces more open for people of color and showing us that it is possible to work in the professional field of Public History and museums. I’m very grateful for this experience and look forward to finishing strong.”

— Ashantay Felipe (Xavier University of Louisiana, Fall ’22 Intern)


"My internship at the Historic New Orleans Collection has been a wonderful learning and professional experience. Every day that I have spent there, I have not only learned something new about the history of New Orleans but also about the profession of history and museums. Sara and Lydia are great mentors. I’m proud to be a part of their team and a part of this project. All of the staff who work at the collection are always happy to assist me in any way. They answer any questions I may have regarding history, my continuing education, or how my career goals. I have even been given tours of the collection’s sites, acquisitions, and other behind-the-scenes departments that I didn’t expect to be given access to.  My internship coordinator, Sydney Wessinger, is amazing! She doesn’t have to, but she personally drives us to the Royal St campus and back to school each day. Like the other staff mentioned previously, Sydney is always happy to help me and answer any questions I have. It’s great to see a woman of color and fellow Xavierite in this space and creating opportunities for others. I am very grateful to her for providing me with this internship opportunity.”

— Joseph Will (Xavier University of Louisiana, Fall ’22 Intern)


Derven Scholars

The deadline to apply for spring 2023 is December 18, 2022 by 5 p.m. CST.

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligable to apply.

This program honors the legacy of Daphne L. Derven, whose educational vision and commitment to outreach continues to inspire staff and students at THNOC. Applications for spring 2023 will be accepted from currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students with a passion for historical research and an interest in a career in museum education.

The spring 2023 Derven Scholar(s) will work with THNOC education staff to plan, create, and facilitate educational programs or develop resources that can be used in K-12 classrooms. Scholars will participate in a hybrid program that combines virtual and in-person experiences. Mentorship and career chats with THNOC staff are woven through this semester-long internship.

Who can apply?

Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. We look for applicants who demonstrate a passion for history, education, and/or museums in their academic or volunteer work. 

When is the internship?

Spring 2023 Derven Scholar(s) will start with an in-person orientation at THNOC in January 2023 and complete their internship by May 31, 2023. We work with each student to determine a schedule that works best for their academic commitments.

Is there a stipend?

Yes! Each Derven Scholar receives a $1500 total stipend as part of this program. This stipend can be awarded in monthly installments or in a single payment at the end of the internship.

What is the time commitment?

Derven Scholars are expected to devote about 10 hours each week to this position. These hours can include meetings, career conversations with staff, independent research, and time supporting Education programs. Because this is a hybrid experience, Scholars are expected to commit to 2-4 hours each week onsite at the museum on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays.

What questions are part of the application?

We're so glad you asked! In addition to general questions (your school, your major, etc.), students are required to answer the following question as part of their application:

What aspect of Louisiana history are you most passionate about? Is there a topic that you wish more people knew about?
What excites you about museum education? Do you have any experience sharing history with others?
What is your dream job?
Why are you interested in an internship with The Historic New Orleans Collection?

Questions? Email Rachel Gaudry.




Past Derven Scholars


  • Lauren Smith, University of New Orleans
  • Chloe Walley, The NET Gentilly/NOCCA
  • Landon Bishop, St. Augustine High School
  • Abigail Hu, Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Leing Rochez, Booker T. Washington High School
  • Lauren Ejiaga, Benjamin Franklin High School


  • Danielle Buckingham, University of Mississippi
  • Sasha Doster, University of Florida
  • Carolyn Rice, Johns Hopkins University
  • Marie Sarnacki, Eastern Michigan University
  • Norman Storer Corrada, George Washington University
  • Shine Trabucco, University of Houston
  • Julia Walsh, Southern University at New Orleans
  • Lerin Williams, Tulane University


  • Shelby Lanoux, Mount Carmel Academy
  • Chayla Wolfberg, Tulane University


  • Emily Buttita, Tulane University
  • Hera Bagdanos, Loyola University New Orleans
  • Mariah Bledsoe, Carver College Prep

Museum Operations and Interpretation Internship: Backstreet Cultural Museum Collaboration

Project Description:

The Backstreet Cultural Museum was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1999, and a board of directors was formed to support the organization. Today, the Backstreet Cultural Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions, including Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, Baby Dolls, and Skull and Bone gangs. The museum’s filmed records of over 500 events constitute the most cohesive archive documenting these cultural traditions. In an ongoing effort to chronicle this comprehensive and transparent historic narrative, the Historic New Orleans Collection will collaborate with the Backstreet Cultural Museum to deepen external operations.

The intern will work under the direction and tutorship of the Historic New Orleans Collection Department of Education and Communication in formalizing the operational standards and interpretive scheme of the Backstreet Cultural Museum.


Application Deadline  : December 18, 2022

Please direct any questions related to internship project or application to Internship Coordinator, Sydney Wessinger, at sydney.wessinger@hnoc.org.


Application Link: 


DAGS Summer Field Work Internships


Project Description:

Founded in 2011 and a part of THNOC’s mission since 2016, the Decorative Arts of the Gulf South (DAGS) project explores the region’s historic material culture by documenting and researching objects made or used in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama prior to 1865. These artifacts inform us about life in the past and illustrate larger historical themes such as trade networks, design and technology, and the contributions of people of color. The DAGS catalog is available to the public in a free online database. 

Two interns will work under the supervision and instruction of Sarah Duggan, THNOC Decorative Arts of the Gulf South Project Manager. Interns will hone their skills of identifying, assessing, and describing historic objects. During cataloging field work, interns will photograph objects and record information. After returning from the field, they will research the objects’ context using a variety of primary sources such as census records, probate inventories, city directories, newspapers, and land deeds. Interns will share their discoveries about a catalog object in a THNOC blog post.

Who can apply? Current graduate students and emerging museum professionals are eligible. Expertise in Gulf South history is not required; only a passion for working with historic objects.

Compensation: $2,600 stipend, scholarship to the New Orleans Antiques Forum, housing during internship, and reimbursement for travel to and from New Orleans

Internship Dates: July 5 – August 7, 2023

Application Deadline: February 3, 2023

To Apply: Email an application to DAGS@hnoc.org that includes a curriculum vitae, a one-page essay explaining your experience with objects and interest in the program, and contact information for two references.  

For more information:



Posted 11/29/2022