Naval History & Heritage Command Underwater Archaeology Branch Internship


The Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) would like to extend an invitation to your institution’s undergraduate and graduate students to consider applying for our academic internship program that focuses on historic preservation and STEM initiatives.


The NHHC is the official history program of the Department of the Navy. Its lineage dates back to 1800 with the founding of the Navy Department Library by President John Adams. The Command now includes several museums, an art gallery, a library, operational archives, a curator branch and the underwater archaeology program.


UAB was formally established in 1996 as a consequence of the Navy’s emerging need to manage, study, conserve, and curate its submerged cultural resources. Since then, the Branch, conveniently located on the Washington Navy Yard, has served as the Navy’s center for expertise on all matters concerning underwater archaeology, cultural resource management, and preservation of ship and aircraft wrecks. In addition to office space, archives, and an equipment depot, the Branch also manages the NHHC’s Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory.

UAB serves four main functions:

o Resource Management & Policy Development. Resource management involves implementing an overall cultural heritage policy, ensuring Navy remains in compliance with historic preservation laws and regulations, forming a sunken military craft inventory, developing individual site management plans, coordinating violation enforcement, coordinating human remains issues, and extensive collaboration with federal, state, local agencies, international counterparts, the non-profit sector, the private sector and the public. The Branch is currently finalizing the implementing regulations for the Sunken Military Craft Act.

o Archaeological & Historical Research. Intrinsically tied to the management of sunken military craft are the inventory, survey, assessment, documentation, research and monitoring of these ship and aircraft wrecks. NHHC undertakes archaeological research as a lead agency, as a collaborator, as a guide, and as a monitor and permit-issuer in the case of external archaeological surveys and/or actions that disturb U.S. Navy sunken military craft. Our more recent projects include the search for Bonhomme Richard in the North Sea, an excavation of a War of 1812 shipwreck in the Patuxent River, MD, and the USS Westfield mitigation excavation, while the conservation of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley is ongoing in Charleston, S.C.

o Artifact Conservation & Curation. All historic artifacts recovered from an underwater environment require some form of conservation and a proper curation environment to remain in a stable condition. NHHC, via its Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory, is directly responsible for about 7,000 artifacts originating from sunken military craft. The Branch manages an artifact loan program with over 11,000 artifacts on loan to nearly a dozen museums around the country. The remaining 2,700 artifacts are curated in the Laboratory, where a number of them are receiving conservation treatment.

o Education, Public Relations & Information Dissemination. Public education and outreach is a fundamental mission component of NHHC as it helps promote the Navy’s heritage and preserve its sunken military craft from disturbance. Information dissemination occurs through channels such as publications, presentations, lectures, a web and social media presence, and press coverage is pursued on a regular basis.


The UAB Academic Internship Program is oriented towards upper level undergraduate students and graduate students who can devote an academic semester to working full time or nearly full time at the Washington Navy Yard. Internships are unpaid, though the Branch regularly coordinates with academic institutions to ensure all requirements (such as learning objectives, mid-term reviews, and final assessments) are met in order that students receive full credit for their internship with UAB. The UAB Academic Internship is a challenging, work-intensive, and enriching experience aimed at dedicated students who are interested in a diverse, multi-disciplinary, and career-orienting internship. Students are assigned one or two long-term projects to complete during their tenure, and are also given multiple shorter assignments. The combination of cultural resource management policy, archaeological field research, conservation, curation, and public outreach allows for students of differing backgrounds to work on tasks of direct interest to them. Student experience in archaeology, anthropology, historic preservation, conservation, chemistry, museum studies, history, English, public policy, communications, education, computer science, geographic information systems, or library science is preferred. Applications should include a resume, unofficial transcript, writing sample, and 2 recommendation letters. Applications are examined on a rolling admission basis, but a limited number of students per academic semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) are accepted.


Preparing, undertaking, or following up on field investigations

• Conducting archaeological and historical research

• Reviewing, editing or preparing reports

• Synthesizing information and preparing policy or case study briefings

• Conserving artifacts

• Assisting with the UAB artifact inventory, management, and loan program

• Coordinating partner and inter-agency correspondence

• Participating in public outreach and education initiatives such as tours, lectures, presentations, and enhancing the UAB web presence. LOCATION The NHHC headquarters are located on the Washington Navy Yard at 805 Kidder Breese Street SE, Washington D.C., less than a ten minute walk from the Navy Yard Metro stop. The UAB is located within Bldg 70, very close to the National Museum of the United States Navy, the Navy Departmental Library, the Navy Archives, the Navy Art Gallery, and other NHHC components.

For more information on the Underwater Archaeology Branch or NHHC please visit:
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Call us: (202) 433-9761
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