Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum (ASM) is the preeminent institution engaged in the anthropology and history of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The mission of the Arizona State Museum is to increase public understanding and appreciation of the cultural history of Arizona and the surrounding region by collecting, preserving, and interpreting material objects and information from the past and present indigenous peoples and cultures of the southwestern United States and adjacent northern Mexico. ASM’s researchers are leaders in all areas of Southwestern anthropology; they are sought after the world over for their expertise. ASM’s unparalleled collections are accessed continuously through tours, research, teaching, and exhibits. Through the museum’s public programs, groundbreaking research is conducted and visitors have authentic, life-enriching encounters with the region's enduring cultures.  ASM has a long tradition of internships.  They have probably been available at ASM since its founding in 1893, but certainly since Byron Cummings took over in 1915 and starting an actual teaching curriculum in the classroom and in the field.

Requisites for Internships

Internships at the Arizona State Museum are open to students in good academic standing who have maintained at least a 2.0 grade point average at the University of Arizona and are at least sophomores in standing.  ASM interns work directly with museum staff, research faculty or post-doctoral researchers, and may work individually or on a project team. Internships are tailored to the goals of each individual within the internship initiatives. Through museum work, interns gain professional experience.  Interns may be employed beyond their internship as warranted by their performance and project requirements.

Registering for an Internship at the Museum

To receive Anthropology credit for internships at the Arizona State Museum, please follow these steps:

  1. Review the offices and laboratories at the Arizona State Museum listed in this booklet.  Choose an area in which you are interested in pursing your internship.
  2.  Make an appointment with the Director of the office or laboratory in the museum with whom you’d like to work. If you pursue an internship in that office or laboratory, that individual will be your direct advisor.
  3. Arrive prepared to explain to the Director your learning goals and why you are interested in working in his or her area of the museum.
  4. If you are selected for an internship, negotiate the requirements for the internship and any specific work product you must produce (writing a paper, keeping a journal, preparing and giving a presentation, etc.)
  5. Since many staff members at the museum aren’t affiliated faculty in the School of Anthropology, make sure the direct advisor you are working with is either a SOA affiliated faculty or get suggestions from that individual as to who to ask to be your official SOA advisor for certifying and grading your internship.  If that individual  doesn’t know who to ask, contact the Advisor in the SOA, who can provide suggestions.
  6. Review the School of Anthropology's internship policies and fill out an application form.  The SOA offers internships at the Junior and Senior level, numbered 393 and 493.  All internships are graded on an “S” Superior, “P” Pass and “F” Fail scale and are therefore not included in a student’s GPA.
  7. Register for your internship, by filing out a change of schedule form and submitting it, along with your internship application, to the Anthropology undergraduate academic advisor, who can then register you for your internship. ANTH 393 internships can vary in credit from 1-4 credits, while ANTH 493 internships can vary in credit from 1-6 credits. As per the standards set by the Arizona Board of Regents, a student is required to do three hours of work per week for each credit earned; thus each credit requires 45 hours of work over a semester.

ASM offices, collections, laboratories and public programs which offer internship opportunities include:

Collections, Library, and Archives

Archaeological Collections

The collections consist of ca. 175,000 cataloged items, c. 30,000 cubic feet of research collections, c. 15,000 site survey collections, and several thousand type sherds. The ASM archaeological collections focus on the Greater Southwest. In addition, the collections also include small collections of material from other parts of North America, South America, and the Old World. Archaeological collections at ASM are accessible for study to students and scholars by application to the Curator of Collections or the Archaeological Collections Curator. Queries about the collections should be addressed to Mike Jacobs ( 520-621-6312.  North Building, Room 218


ASM Library and Archives

ASM Library is a non-circulating research collection focusing on the archaeology, ethnology and material culture of the American southwest and northern Mexico. The online collection catalog is available at For more information, contact Mary Graham, or Marly Helm, or ASM Library 621-4695.  North Building, Room 201

ASM Archives cares for personal papers, institutional records, and project files related to other Museum collections, and include records from contract archaeology, archaeological fieldschools, ethnographic fieldwork, and the personal research papers of various ASM staff, UA School of Anthropology Faculty and former students, and private individuals who have donated their materials. Access is by appointment only.  Contact Archivist, Amy Rule, at


Ethnographic Collections

ASM's ethnological collections—about 35,000 items—represent over 400 different culture groups. More than one third are from the SW United States and NW Mexico. In addition to the collections from the Southwest, the remaining collections are from other parts of North America, Central and South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia. Queries about the collections should be addressed to Diane Dittemore ( or Andrew Higgins ( 520-621-2079.  North Building, Room 216


Repository Collections

Established in 1984, the ASM repository receives and manages collections excavated on both public and private lands across the state focusing on the historic and prehistoric cultures of Arizona. The collections currently include c. 30,000 cubic feet of comparative sherds, chipped and ground stone, shell artifacts, faunal bone, and environmental samples. These objects, as well as accompanying field notes and reports, are available for research. Students are frequently employed to help inventory and catalog the collections. If you are a researcher wishing to request access to the collections, please contact Arthur Vokes by email at or at 520-626-9109.  South Building, Basement, Room 105.



Bioarchaeological Lab/Program

The ASM Bioarchaeology Laboratory and Collections provide students and faculty alike with opportunities to learn about the biological variation of past peoples. Human Osteology (ANTH 468/568)—the study of the human skeleton—is offered as a class every year and provides the critical initial training for a career in bioarchaeology or biological anthropology.  Our collections offer extensive research potential for professionals and students and we conduct field research and training in the documentation of human skeletal remains.  For more information, contact Dr. Watson ( or Dr. McClelland (  North Building, Room 311.


Borderlands Archaeology Laboratory

The Borderlands Archaeology Laboratory is directed by Paul Fish and Suzanne Fish. The Laboratory’s ongoing archaeological programs emphasize interdisciplinary research on the pre-hispanic archaeology of southern Arizona and adjacent northwest Mexico and the traditional agriculture of this region. For more information, contact Paul ( or Suzanne Fish (  South Building, Room 305, right side of the balcony.


Conservation Laboratory

Arizona State Museum's Preservation Division actively supports and promotes the museum's policy to preserve and protect the collections entrusted to its care. Investigations conducted in the lab include:  characterization tests for objects of art and archaeology, testing of pesticide residues on museum objects, new protocols for ceramic care, and integrated pest management systems. For more information contact Dr. Nancy Odegaard, Head of Preservation ( or Teresa Moreno. ( (520) 621-6314)  North Building, Room 125 (Behind the Pottery Project Exhibit).


Homol’ovi Research Program/Rock Art Ranch

The Arizona State Museum’s Homol’ovi Research Program has explored 13th-14th century ancestral Hopi communities near Winslow, Arizona since 1984, as well as more recently at Rock Art Ranch (see below). An enormous artifact assemblage and database offer undergraduate and graduate students diverse opportunities to gain experience in laboratory analysis or find research topics. For more information, contact E. Charles Adams (; 621-2093) or Richard C. Lange (; 621-6275). South Building, Room 301, left side of balcony.


The Pottery Vault

The pottery vault stores some 20,000 Southwest Indian whole-vessel ceramics that are the focus of ASM's POTTERY PROJECT. Spanning 2000 years of life in the unique environments of the American desert Southwest and northern Mexico, the collection reflects almost every cultural group in the region. Queries should be addressed to Diane Dittemore  ( or Mike Jacobs (  North Building, Room 123, Behind the Pottery Project Exhibit.


Stanley J. Olsen Laboratory of Zooarchaeology

The Stanley J. Olsen Laboratory of Zooarchaeology at the Arizona State Museum is one of the top laboratories for zooarchaeological research in North America.  The Lab houses a large reference collection of close to 4000 fish, bird, reptile, amphibian, and mammal skeletal specimens from over 600 species.  The collections include specimens from six continents; however, most specimens were collected from the southeastern and southwestern regions of North America.  The Olsen Lab is used by students, visiting scholars, and volunteers, as well as for public outreach activities. For more information, contact Dr. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman (  North Building, Room 311A


Public Programs

ASM Docent Program
The Arizona State Museum offers undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct tours for school groups. Students register for Anthropology 393 (sections 1, 2, 3 or 4) Internship units. Students conduct two or three tours per week during the balance of the semester. Students develop oral presentation skills and work with youth in an educational setting.


ASM Website

Our website has been consistently praised for the depth of its content aimed at both general and scholarly audiences. Information available ranges from online games and exhibits to scholarly papers and databases to podcasts and a blog. For more information about the website and opportunities to assist, or if you have project ideas, contact Laura LePere 626-6939 or North Building, Room 301.


Public Programs/Education

Apply your interest in culture to bring the ideas and content of the museum to a broad public.  Make the work of the museum assessable to a diverse and broad range of audiences. Learn about museum education and outreach. For-credit classes, internships and volunteer opportunities are available that include guiding tours in the exhibits for visiting K-12 groups, presenting outreach programs in K-12 classrooms, helping to develop hands-on activities and to plan programs, presenting programs for family audiences at the museum, helping to develop digital education materials for the website, and helping to evaluate programs and exhibitions. Just ask, we can develop the right museum experience for you!  If interested, contact Lisa Falk, Director of Education 520-626-2973, North Building, Main Floor, Room 116


Public Programs/Exhibits

Learn how your anthropological background can create engaging exhibitions that weave research and material culture together in a compelling narrative that reaches a broad audience. Visit our Exhibitions featuring Paths of Life, The Pottery Project, A World Separated by Borders, Basketry Treasured and Herbert H. Brown, on the second floor landing. If interested, contact Davison Koenig, Exhibit Coordinator, 520-621-6280,  North Building, Room 131


Research Offices

Arizona Antiquities Act Permits and Repatriation Office

The Arizona State Museum’s Arizona Antiquities Act Permits and Repatriation Office is responsible for overseeing a number of compliance-related activities  concerning these laws, including the issuance of paleontological and archaeological permits; issuance of burial agreements; and coordinating compliance projects with federal and state land-managing agencies, tribes, and private landowners. For more information, contact Dr. Todd Pitezel, permits and repatriation administrator,, (520) 621-4795, or Nancy Pearson, assistant permits administrator,, (520) 621-2096. South Building, Main Floor, Room 203


Archaeological Records Office/AZSITE

The archaeological records generated by surface surveys are archived at the Arizona State Museum. In addition to archiving site cards, maps, reports, and field notes, the Arizona State Museum records site and survey data, and indexes the other archived materials in a secured, online Geographic Information System, AZSITE.  AZSITE is used by land managers, archaeologists, and a variety of scholars as an archaeological research and resource management tool that facilitates the identification and preservation of Arizona's cultural resources. For more information, contact Rick Karl or Shannon Twilling ( or call 621-1271. South Building , Main Floor, Room 207


Office of Ethnohistorical Research

With its impressive collection of microfilmed Spanish colonial documents and a library with more than 8,000 secondary works, reference materials, indexes to major archival collections, maps, and guides to paleography and translation, OER offers plenty of resources for student and faculty researchers interested in the ethnohistory, documentary history, environmental history, and/or political ecology of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. OER’s research program also provides opportunities for students and volunteers to gain experience with transcribing, translating, and interpreting documents related to the past of this region’s Native peoples. Contact Dr. Dale Brenneman (  North Building, Room 320


Last Revised: 11/26/2014