Sheldon Werner Summer Studentships 2022/2023


We are looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of Summer Scholars at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum for the 2022/2023 summer.  Auckland Museum’s annual Summer Student Programme is open to promising undergraduate students and postgraduates from a range of disciplines. Students will be part of a cohort with the programme running for ten weeks over the summer to gain career-relevant experience. Students will have opportunity to train with Museum professionals and will gain an insight into the culture and heritage sector.


Our Summer Studentships provide an opportunity to undertake a project tailored to your interests and aspirations.  


About the programme

  • The Summer Studentship will be approximately ten weeks in length, with training running from late November until late-February, with a break over the Christmas and New Year period.
  • Cohort style programme, with tours and talks from staff at Tāmaki Paenga Hira.
  • Stipend of $6500 will be awarded to each successful student.


Students will be required to sign an agreement outlining the terms and conditions of their scholarship. All students will be required to produce a brief research report and to create a summary of their research using a medium of their choice (this could include a blog, video, audio).  


Students must be currently enrolled in a New Zealand tertiary institution and have completed at least two years of tertiary study to be eligible to apply for the Summer Studentships.  


Please include in your application a brief CV, cover letter and your academic transcript.  You will be asked to apply for a specific project, though you can apply for more than one project. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in an assessment centre, on October 25th 2022, at Auckland Museum.  


Applications for 2022/2023 Sheldon Werner Summer Studentships have now closed.  


If you have any questions about the Summer Student Programme, please email [email protected]  


We are grateful to Carolyn Werner, the Nancy Bamford Trust, and The University of Auckland Faculty of Science for support of our 2022 summer scholarships.


Summer Studentships available in 2022/23


The mastery of corporates, partnership and commercial opportunities 


In this project, the student will research the concept and potential role of corporate partnerships in the culture and heritage sector. This will include researching corporates to gain an understanding of the major partnerships/sponsorships that currently exist between the arts/cultural organisations and corporates in Aotearoa, and the best national and international examples. The student will create profiles of major corporates including their sponsorship and partnerships strategies, philanthropic focus areas and opportunities for commercial venue hire. The research will help Identify opportunities for alignment with the Auckland Museum and develop a strategy for how to best communicate and engage with corporates.  


This project will best suit a student with:  

* Proficiency with research and compiling documentation. 

* High computer literacy including preparing visual presentations. 

* Interest in partnerships/business and arts/cultural sectors. 

* Interest in Corporate Giving and Community Engagement  



Records management for war and social history archives 


In this project, the student will be immersed in the archives of the War and Social History collections, which contain a combination of material generated by the Museum as well as copies of reference material relating to individual objects, and to broader research themes in the collections.  

This project aims to create a classification system for the History files, wherein actively used files are organised to make them easy to access and add to, and inactive, but important files that are transferred to the Museum Archives. The student will familiarise themselves with the material, research analogous classification systems, discuss the project with relevant Collections and Research staff (particularly Documentary Heritage staff), and propose a filing protocol which can then be maintained by Museum staff. This project would appeal to a student who is looking to develop a career in archives and records management.  


This project will best suit a student with: 

*Knowledge of archives management systems and practices. 

*A general understanding of Museum practice.  

* An interest in War and/or Social Histories.



LGBTQI+ representation in Auckland Museum collections


In this project, the student will produce an in-depth inventory that details LGBTQI+ stories, histories, and experiences found across our collections. The collections/objects themselves may speak directly to these histories, or there may be a connection to LGBTQI+ histories through a maker or wider historic context. The student will then use this inventory to enrich object records — for example, publish the inventory on our website as part of a blog piece on the project. The student will produce a short report exploring the ethics around metadata and vocabulary associated with cataloguing LQBTQI+ collections, intended to act as a guide for future mahi in this space. 


This project will best suit a student with: 

* An interest in research and finding ways to make it publicly accessible.  

* An interest in LGBTQI+ history, including knowledge of individuals and groups in Aotearoa’s LGBTQI+ history who may be represented in the Museum collection. 

* An interest in Museum ethics- particularly around cataloguing sensitive/personal information. 



Freshwater Biology  


The aim of this project is to collect new specimens of freshwater invertebrate animals to extract and characterize their DNA profiles and establish a voucher specimen and molecular library for future use in eDNA studies. Field collection would be focused on a defined geographical area within the Waitakere Ranges e.g., Matuku Link Reserve. The project will provide a balance between field and laboratory work and will enable a student to develop new skills in these areas. 


This project will best suit a student with: 

* An ability to perform field work in a range of accessible environments. 

* Use a stereo microscope, literature, and online sources to identify species. 

* Some familiarity with relational databases. 



Researching legacy archaeology collections


In this project, the student will research legacy faunal collections from significant archaeological sites in Tīkapa Moana Hauraki Gulf. This will involve cataloguing faunal material for upload onto the Museum database, sort material by type, transcriptions and improving storage according to Museum standards, and research archival field and analysis notes/publications for specialist identification of faunal material and supporting information to enhance records. 


This project will best suit a student with: 

* An interest in faunal analysis and/or collection management in museums and is currently studying archaeology, biology, or cultural heritage.  

* Proficiency in Microsoft Excel. 

* Attention to detail, neat handwriting, and ability to accurately transcribe information. 



Visualising data for Collection Care 


The Collection Care department is responsible for the overall care of all collections held at Tāmaki Paenga Hira. As part of this duty of care, we monitor the environments that our objects are stored and displayed in, to ensure their continued preservation. The resulting data on object incidents, disaster responses, pest sightings, and various environmental conditions are stored in multiple formats, across several different software packages. 


In this project, the student will research and develop a solution for visualising these disparate data sets in an accessible and intuitive format for Museum staff and external audiences.  

This solution will present a holistic view of the Museum through the lens of preventive conservation, enabling Collection Care to identify problem areas and implement solutions to improve our spaces for the collections in our care.   


This project will best suit a student with: 

* A knowledge of data visualisation platforms, methods and techniques. 

* Experience in combining different sets of data, from multiple storage platforms and software formats. 



FTIR analysis of cultural heritage materials 


FTIR spectroscopy is an analytical technique used to identify organic, polymeric, and sometimes inorganic materials. FTIR analysis helps cultural institutions identify unknown materials to aid in display, storage, and remedial conservation treatment options. Examples include identification of adhesives, coatings, pigments, animal proteins, and fibres. The identification of actively degrading plastics in our collections is of particular importance. Both historic and modern plastics present challenges for long term preservation, however, to successfully identify these materials we need to create a useful spectral library.  


In this project, the student will build a spectral library unique to Auckland Museum to aid in identification of unknown collections and materials used for collection storage. Our goal is to also join the Infrared Raman User Group (IRUG) which is a cultural heritage community that has created a database of spectra specific to cultural heritage materials. 


This project will best suit a student with: 

* Experience in one of the physical sciences; laboratory experience is not required but FTIR spectroscopy experience is preferred.  

* A strong interest in learning about cultural heritage material science.  

* A willingness to collaborate with others.  



Ethnobotanical specimens across museum collections 


Processed samples of botanical specimens are held in several different collections as ‘economic botany’; ‘ethnobotany’; ‘samples’ and ‘raw materials’. The potential of these collections for future research is pertinent to environmental, cultural, social, and disciplinary histories.  


In this project, the student will research the collections by interviewing Museum staff and former staff about the history and purpose and use of fibre sample collections, collate existing datasets to get an overview of the collections deposited in different curatorial areas, compile Collections Level Descriptions for each collection of fibre/raw materials, and compile a listing of any works by researchers related to these specific collections and any unpublished material within the museum archives/related documentation. 


This project will best suit a student with: 

* Skills in Excel and an understanding of / ability to work with a collections database. 

* An interest in fibres/textiles/botany. 

* Research skills. 



Participation in culture and heritage experiences for New Zealand tamariki 


Growing Up in New Zealand is a longitudinal study of approximately 7000 children born in 2009/2010. Participation in culture and heritage activities may be an important contributor to health and wellbeing. In this project, the student will analyse data collected within the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal data to look at the way children participate in culture and heritage activities, including museums. The aim of this work is to identify the enablers and barriers that exist for New Zealand children in participating in culture and heritage activities.  


This project will best suit a student with: 

* Interest in and experience with statistical analysis of time-series datasets, preferably longitudinal datasets. 

* Interest in social sciences or population health. 

* Interest in communicating statistical findings in compelling ways. 



Pacific Research into Human Remains Repatriation 


The New Zealand Repatriation Researchers Network and the Ngākahu repatriation project surveyed human remains held in museums across Aotearoa, in which findings state that most of the provenanced human remains are Māori and Moriori, followed by a smaller but significant number of human remains from the Pacific.  


In this project, the student will research the human remains of one provenance from the Pacific, form a case study and will work within the Māori and Pacific research team to help develop recommendations for caring, researching, consulting and repatriation. The student will have the opportunity to develop a glossary focusing on terminologies used in the repatriation space, in the respective languages of the human remains stored at Tāmaki Paenga Hira suitable for use within Auckland Museum’s database. This work will be guided by community consultants, the student’s own indigenous knowledge and Teu Le Vā: Pacific Dimension. 


This project will best suit a student who: 

* Is comfortable working in the domain of human remains repatriation. 

* Has previous experience with research, including use of databases. 

* Has some community engagement experience  

* Has knowledge in Pacific cultural protocols. 

* Understands Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

* Is studying Museum studies, Pacific studies, or Indigenous studies. 



Illustrated guide of Rangitāhua flora and fauna 


Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands) is located halfway between mainland Aotearoa and Tonga and contains marine and terrestrial biodiversity found nowhere else in the world, including internationally significant terrestrial nature reserves and Aotearoa’s largest marine reserve. It has been identified as one of only four pristine marine ecosystems on Earth. Te Mana o Rangitāhua is a five-year research programme led by Ngāti Kuri in partnership with Auckland Museum.  


This project will involve the student to build libraries and databases of resources about the biota of Rangitāhua – including photographs from the field, images of specimens, species and specimen information. The student will compile underwater photographs, imaging herbarium specimens and other collections held at Auckland Museum and NIWA, and assembling information about species for identification guides that will be built up over the course of the Te Mana o Rangitāhua research programme.  


This project will best suit a student with an interest in: 

* Taxonomy, biodiversity, or ecology 

* Information management and/or design 

* Science communication  



Patterns of history and colonial impact at Rangitāhua  


Rangitāhua (the Kermadec Islands) is located halfway between mainland Aotearoa and Tonga and contains marine and terrestrial biodiversity found nowhere else in the world, including internationally significant terrestrial nature reserves and Aotearoa’s largest marine reserve. It has been identified as one of only four pristine marine ecosystems on Earth. Rangitāhua has special significance to Māori as a stepping stone in the human migration to Aotearoa, and is revered by Ngāti Kuri in particular as an ancestor. 


Te Mana o Rangitāhua is a five-year research programme led by Ngāti Kuri in partnership with Auckland Museum. In this project, the student(s) will choose an area of research that is of most interest to them from a range of potential areas, including archival research, indigenous models of conservation, indigenous naming of flora and fauna, and the voyaging of waka across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa as these relate to Rangitāhua. A range of projects are possible, and we are seeking students with an interest in indigenous governance of environments. Students of Ngāti Kuri descent are especially encouraged to apply, but applications are welcome from all interested students. 


This project will best suit students who: 

* are interested in the intersections between history, geography and environmental practice; 

* have some experience in understanding indigenous models of governance;  

* are interested in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga and Kaupapa Māori research methodologies. 



Pacific Horizon Research 


O le Aso ma le Filiga, O le Aso ma le Mata’igatila  

Each day brings its own views of what is on the horizon; each day brings its own choices. 


The project will help shape the new Pacific 5-Year strategic plan of Auckland Museum by undertaking a horizon scan of current and future Pacific strategies, to ensure that Auckland Museum’s new plan will be resilient to different future environments. In this project, the student will identify Auckland and national Pacific strategies in the GLAM sector and local government, systematically investigate evidence about future Pacific strategic trends, identify issues and themes that are emerging now for the future and complete a report outlining the findings for this research.  


This project will best suit a student with:  

* An interest in Pacific research, particularly around engagement, community knowledge and Pacific studies.  

* Pacific connection whether through descent, participation, or education.  

* Strong research skills, and the ability to synthesis a wide range of sources.  

* Strong writing and communication skills.  



Data Visualisation for Collection Information and Access 


Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum's Collections Online features over 900,000 records and 300,000 openly licensed images from our Natural Sciences, Documentary Heritage and Human History Collections. In addition, Auckland Museum is New Zealand’s oldest research institution, with partnerships across New Zealand’s research communities. We are also home to Online Cenotaph, a national biographical database that allows researchers, enthusiasts, and veterans and their families to explore, contribute to, and share the records and stories of those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand. 


In this project, the student will work with datasets and information relating to Collections Online, research projects across a range of disciplines, and data from Online Cenotaph to explore new and compelling ways of visualising the digital access and impact of Auckland Museum.  


This project would suit a student who: 

* Is studying design, especially design relating to complex datasets 

* Is interested in data science or communicating data or data stories  

* Is creative, with attention to detail  

* Has initiative and enjoys working in a team environment