Internship Opportunities

Preservation Chicago Internship Opportunities

Buckingham Fountain, 1927, Edward H. Bennett, 301 S. Columbus Dr. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Buckingham Fountain, 1927, Edward H. Bennett, 301 S. Columbus Dr. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Thank you for your interest in Preservation Chicago and Chicago’s incredible built environment!  We love to work with individuals who are as passionate and dedicated to Chicago as we are to help advance the mission.

Preservation Chicago
Summer 2024 Internship Opportunities

Preservation Chicago, a 501c3 non-profit, seeks two seasonal interns for Summer 2024: one in the area of preservation policy; and one in the area of archival science. Expected commitment is 20 hours per week, over a 12-week appointment. Anticipated start date is mid-June (negotiable). Hybrid and remote working arrangements, where applicable, are also negotiable. Total compensation for each role is $4,000.

Interested applicants may send a cover letter, resume and relevant work samples to, with the subject line “Summer 2024 Policy Intern” or “Summer 2024 Archive Intern.” Materials will be accepted until the positions are filled. More details on each role below:


Preservation Policy Intern 

(ideally suited to Public Policy, Historic Preservation, and/or Urban Planning graduate students)

Preservation Chicago is interested in exploring three areas of inquiry this summer, as detailed below. We will work with an intern to help them select the topic that best aligns with their current academic interests and strengths. We also invite and will consider research proposals with immediate relevance to our mission beyond the three areas of focus below. Final deliverables should include a complete document appropriate for website and print distribution.

  • Assessing Historic Preservation & Housing Affordability;
    A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the nexus between historic preservation activities and housing affordability, as it relates to the City of Chicago. Potential areas of focus include:
      • Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH); 
      • Multifamily Adaptive Reuse; 
      • Successful pairings of Historic Rehabilitation, Low Income Housing, and/or New Market Tax Credits; 
      • Opportunities for housing density and housing diversity within historic neighborhoods and formal historic districts (i.e. zoning reform, reduced parking minimums, allowance of accessory dwelling units, etc.); 
      • Assessment of financial obligation for managers and owner-occupants of City of Chicago Landmarks and/or owner-occupants within City of Chicago Landmark Districts. 

While housing policy is of primary current interest, Preservation Chicago is likewise interested in similar studies that would explore the relationship between

      • Historic preservation and Sustainability; 
      • Historic preservation and Racial Justice and Cultural Diversity; 
      • Historic preservation and Economic Development; 
      • Historic preservation and the Arts & Cultural Economy; and 
      • Historic preservation and Heritage Tourism.
  • Assessing Chicago’s Demolition-Delay Ordinance: A Comparative Study of Other US Cities; 

Chicago’s Demolition-Delay Ordinance was adopted in 2003 but this policy is largely ineffective at preventing the demolition of architecturally significant properties.  The Demolition-Delay Ordinance relies on the Chicago Historic Resource Survey (completed almost 30 years ago in 1995), but the CHRS is out of date and was never intended to be used for this purpose. This study will explore the effectiveness of the current policy, what it does well and what it could arguably do better. A summary of findings should consider demolition delay/review guidance in other North American cities; provide concrete, actionable recommendations to strengthen Chicago’s ordinance; and/or consider implementation of new policies intended to better regulate and discourage demolition. 

  • Assessing Appropriate Funding Levels for the City of Chicago Historic Preservation Division: A Comparative Study of Other US Cities;

Despite a deserved reputation for architectural appreciation, and longstanding position as one of the United States’ top three largest cities (by population), Chicago struggles to adequately fund its Historic Preservation Division, the municipal office tasked with overseeing historic properties and the formal designation of City of Chicago Landmarks. Past efforts to bolster the HPD’s operating budget were often met with inquiries of how comparative cities fund their own historic divisions. These numbers can prove difficult to track down, partly because many of these offices are nestled within larger departments of Development, Planning, or the Environment, etc. This quantitative study will more definitively measure comparable budget allocations across the US, and hopefully model how Chicago can better support its own office here at home. At minimum, studies should consider the number of FTEs and how their time is allocated (i.e. project review, Landmark creation, public outreach); related project and/or program budget allocations; relationship to larger and/or sister departments; and measures of office work product (i.e. formal designations of historic properties and/or districts; number of permits reviewed annually; technical service and/or grants administered, etc.)


Archival Science Intern 

(ideally suited to Library and Information Science Students)

Preservation Chicago has a growing collection of books, magazines, monographs, papers, drawings, photographs and other associated materials of relevance to our mission and Chicago’s architectural legacy. We seek an intern to begin proper cataloging of these items, and lay the foundation for eventual implementation of a publicly accessible, fully searchable database. We will work with a potential intern to pair them with the collection(s) that best aligns with their current academic interests and strengths. More on specific materials below:

  • Cataloging the Mary Ellen DiMatteo Library; Sort, catalog and shelve new and existing library books within Preservation Chicago’s office library; Prepare digital finding aid; Consider creation of an online, searchable database
  • Cataloging the Preservation Chicago Photo Collection; Sort, identify, and scan existing collection of books, magazines, historic photos and postcards within Preservation Chicago’s office; Prepare digital finding aid; Consider creation of an online, searchable database
  • Cataloging the P.G. Collection Sort, catalog and shelve materials related to the P.G. Collection, recently donated to Preservation Chicago; Prepare digital finding aid; Consider creation of an online, searchable database
  • Cataloging Organizational Files/Legacy Materials; Sort, catalog, and file legacy materials currently in Preservation Chicago office; Prepare digital finding aid; Consider scanning and/or donation to appropriate Chicago archives. 

Preservation Chicago leverages the power of historic preservation to create healthy, vibrant, diverse and sustainable communities.