Curatorial and Research Internships

Royal Museums Greenwich offers student internships supporting research in a variety of subjects.

About our internships

Internships are particularly beneficial to those considering postgraduate research. They aim to:

  • Provide access to the Museum’s world class collections
  • Offer a valuable experience in the study of material culture

Interns undertake new research that furthers their understanding of the Museum's collections. Research outcomes may enhance:

  • University dissertations
  • Article assessments
  • Seminar papers

Who can apply

  • Holders of UK/EU passports who have the right to live and work in the UK
  • Postgraduate students
  • Final year undergraduates. The research may contribute to dissertations or essays
  • Students between undergraduate and postgraduate study

How to apply

Applications should include

  • Curriculum Vitae: including contact details, educational qualifications and two referees
  • Research proposal: Up to 500 words which describe the research topic. Please include key items of interest from our collections.
  • Output: an indication of the output you hope to achieve from your research, for example an article, seminar paper, blog post, online resource or other outcome.

Note: We ask you to use the full length of the outline (500 words) to explain and promote your proposed topic.

Hints and tips

  • Ensure your proposal is relevant to the collections of the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Queen’s House and Cutty Sark
  • Base your proposal on specific collections and objects held by the Museum. Explore our online collections in advance to identify items and topics of interest.
  • Ensure you proposal can be realistically completed within the six-week internship period.
  • Display original thinking that builds on existing academic literature. Please do not repeat existing research.

Contact information

Please contact with initial enquiries. This will then be passed on to the the relevant curator.  

They may ask you to refine your proposal based on their feedback.

Proposal timeline

2019-20 proposal deadline: Friday 17 May 2019

Start date: Successful applicants will discuss their start date with the relevant curator. Internships take place between June 2019–April 2020.

Research ideas and specific projects

Below is a list of potential research topics based on the expertise of our curators. You may choose a topic from this list.

We also invite applicants to suggest their own research topic for their internship.  

Fine and Decorative Art:

  • Sue Prichard, Senior Curator of Decorative Art
  • Allison Goudie, Curator of Art (pre-1800)
  • Melanie Vandenbrouck, Curator of Art (post-1800)

Topics include:

  • The Armada Portrait and Elizabeth I
  • Tudor Art and Architecture
  • Tudor Costume and Fashion
  • Royal History
  • Women of Greenwich
  • Landscape and Gardens
  • Modern British Art and the Sea
  • Art and astronomy

Charts and maps

Megan Barford, Curator of Cartography

  • The map collection of William Wyndham Grenville
  • Charts used on ships
  • European globes and globe makers
  • Nineteenth and twentieth century cartography of cable-laying
  • Thomas Pennant’s Outlines of the Globe
  • Other aspects of map history


Emily Akkermans, Curator of Time

  • Horological collections.
  • Time derivation
  • Time distribution
  • Changing aesthetic and functional aspects of timekeepers in relation to changes in society.

History of navigation

Curator of the History of Navigation

  • The use of scientific instruments in polar exploration. Mid 19th to early 20th century.
  • The process of invention and adoption of navigational instruments, eg prototypes or those which did not prove to be successful.
  • The development of computing instruments for navigatio

History of astronomy and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Louise Devoy, Curator, Royal Observatory Greenwich

  • The history of magnetic and meteorological instruments used at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (late 19th to early 20th century).
  • Object-based research on our collection of telescopes, sundials astronomical compendia and astrolabes
  • The history of photographic and spectroscopic techniques and instruments used at the ROG

Naval/maritime history

Quintin Colville, Senior Curator: Research

  • Researching and cataloguing our collections of negatives and lantern slides relating to Antarctic expeditions, 1898-1904.
  • Collections research relating to either the lower deck of the Royal Navy during the period c. 1860 to 1960; or the lives afloat of merchant marine crews during the same period.

Ship Models, Ships’ Equipment and Boat Collections

Simon Stephens, Curator of Ship Model and Boat Collections

  • Lifeboats and lifesaving  
  • Sail making
  • Half block models, their design, development and uses
  • Maritime patent models
  • Sectional models (such as bow, midship and stern), design, development and uses
  • Naval architecture and Royal Dockyards
  • Projects which involve researching and cataloguing the Museum’s Ships’ Equipment collection
  • Anchors (model and full sized)
  • Ships’ bells

What's involved

We expect successful applicants for the Student Internship programme to:

1) Undertake research towards an agreed piece of work e.g.

  • an article for a journal
  • a Museum blog post
  • a staff seminar paper
  • collection catalogue entries
  • visitor talks
  • a contribution to a postgraduate dissertation

2) Complete any courses, such as object handling, necessary for safe working.
3) Complete a brief research report and a short blog post at the end of the internship.
4) Give a 15-minute presentation of their research findings to Museum staff

Duration and funding

Student internships last up to six weeks, depending on the scope of the proposed project.

The award is £1,644.50 gross for the six week period. This helps with living expenses and travel to and from the Museum.

Payments will be subject to the statutory deductions of Tax and National Insurance.

Extra funding may be available for one-off travel expenses.