ABOUT THE GOTHAM CENTER FOR NEW YORK CITY HISTORY
The Gotham Center is a research and public education institution, sponsored by The Graduate Center, CUNY, dedicated to advancing scholarly and public understanding of New York City’s rich and living past. The organization was founded in 2000 by Mike Wallace, after his landmark work Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, co-authored with Edwin Burrows, won the Pulitzer. For more than twenty years, it has been the one academic institution devoted exclusively to promoting this critical field of study.
Our goal is to support independent and professional historical work examining the various forces and figures that have shaped life in the city, as well as New York’s enormous contributions to the development of the nation and the world. Through a variety of research programs — grants, fellowships, seminars, conferences, and other projects — we hope to underwrite the production of this knowledge and shape the next generation of scholarship. Through a variety of public-facing initiatives — such as our free event series, blog, podcasts, online education and K-12 programs — we also strive to make that knowledge available to the widest possible audience, sharing the best and most interesting new work far beyond the academic community and immediate metropolitan area. Finally, we endeavor to make this information useful to actors influencing culture and policy today, fostering greater awareness of historical knowledge and exchange between scholars and leaders in civil society and government. In all things, we ask New Yorkers to consider how the past has created the present, and what lessons it might offer for the challenges we face in our city, now and in the future.
The Gotham Center is seeking a Curatorial Intern for Fall 2021. The intern will assist in the development of a digital exhibit on New York City’s experience in the American Revolution, which serves as the foundation of a much larger project. That project, to create a scalable, multimedia app for tourists, educators, and the general public, will continue until 2026 (the 250th anniversary of 1776), and beyond. A funding campaign is underway to build the infrastructure and high-end digital technology (CGI, AR/VR) that will recreate the landscape of the period, as well as some of its more dramatic events, linking this content to existing physical sites, and networking media provided by partnering institutions. The result will be NYC’s first organized ‘freedom trail,’ offering self-guided walking tours, educational curricula for K-14, material on a wide range of subjects for higher learning, and other complementary programming.
The project seeks to re-center NYC in the armed struggle, highlighting some of the war’s most pivotal events and notable figures on both sides of the conflict, but also to present a more inclusive and complicated story of the nation’s founding. Moving the geographic vantage from Boston or Philadelphia means diversifying the cast and complicating the plot, revealing the war’s ‘civil’ nature and its extraordinary violence, as well as pointing up both its liberating and devastating effects. The exhibit/app will foreground both Patriot spies and familiar elites as well as Loyalists, British leaders, and P.O.W.’s, slaves emancipated by the crown, indigenous tribes caught between foreign imperial powers, New York City’s dramatic environmental ruin, and more.
The curatorial intern will assist the Gotham Center in deciding how the objects / visual / textual material identified by the research team can be effectively presented and organized, and how the individual and collective stories told might likewise best capture the public imagination, and communicate the concerns of the humanities. An ongoing research team is developing annotated bibliographies and drafting summary texts for each site, and collecting maps, important or representative documents, and visual imagery that will be housed in ‘break-out sections’ that provide greater learning or K-12 educational material to subjects introduced briefly in the general ‘walking tour.’ A large number of Graduate Center History PhD students/candidates and CUNY faculty serve as peer review / content advisers. The curatorial intern will collaborate with the research team and (depending on grant funding) a production team that includes the company developing podcasts and video and the creative design agency building the app. She/he /they will also report to the project coordinator and the Gotham Center’s Director. There will be the opportunity to join the organization’s grant-writing and fundraising efforts, and it is our expectation that there will be paid opportunities in the future. The curatorial work may also include UX focus groups with the public. The intern, like the rest of the staff, will work remotely.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Support the Gotham Center’s AmRev250 project through primary and secondary research
- Collaborate with Director and Project Coordinator on the research or production team in the modular development of a suite of research projects, using sites in colonial NYC to explore such topics as the Battle of New York; Loyalism and the years of British military occupation; working-class and elite social/religious/political life during the Revolutionary era; print culture, espionage, and high politics; slavery and emancipation; native American politics and the war; gender and Independence
- Participate in regular team meetings and occasional project meetings.
- Develop modular database of content for exhibit/app development, including conducting literature reviews – OR – curating existing material for presentation of sites and subjects in the exhibit/app
- Other duties to support the development of the project.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- Current doctoral student in History or the humanistic social sciences
- Content knowledge of the American Revolution / early NYC history
- Interest in doing applied research for a public-facing academic center
- Strong attention to detail
- Strong writing skills
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office including Excel, comfort with using or learning research databases
- Ability to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts
- Commitment to the mission of the Gotham Center
This internship will consist of approximately 150 hours of work over the course of the Fall 2021 semester. It will be compensated with 3 units of academic credit through IDS 81620: Scholarly Praxis at Work in the World.
Applications will be accepted until May 10. The application can be found by logging into GC Connect and search for job #16581 or the tag “scholarly praxis.”
The Gotham Center is an equal opportunity employer.
New York, New York United States
CUNY Graduate Programs
3 units of academic credit through IDS 86120
Fall 2021 semester
Approximate Hours Per Week