Archives Research Undergraduate Research Associate (URA)

Opportunity Description:

General Description: The Smart Museum of Art seeks a research associate who will review, digitize, and organize the museum’s historical archives in the University of Chicago’s Special Collections. Reporting to the Assistant Curator of Academic Initiatives and the Associate Director of Communications, this position aims to make the museum’s institutional history more accessible and provides essential support in anticipation of the Smart’s 50th anniversary in 2024. This Archives Research URA will provide an in-depth and hands-on experience with broad types of archival information. In addition to digitizing materials, the archives intern will work with Smart staff to build an organizational system to allow future ease of access.


Hours: Applicants must be available to work approximately 8–10 hours per week during fall quarter (with the possibility to renew for winter and/or spring quarter). 


Additional notes: All Smart Undergraduate Research Associates will be expected to participate in the 2022 University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium during the Spring Quarter and the annual research scholars curriculum organized by the College Center for Research & Fellowships. The selected student will receive more information from the College about these expectations separately.

Primary Responsibilities: 

Principle Responsibilities: Primary responsibilities for the Archives Research URA include finding, reviewing, organizing and digitizing documents such as architectural renderings, event photographs, brochures, exhibition invitations, press releases, news clippings, memos, and other archival material; liaising with staff at the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library; and helping identify sustainable tools, systems, and metadata needs to allow future ease of access to the Smart Museum’s institutional history. 

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: An Undergraduate student interested in archives, history, and museums, especially the institutional histories of the museums and their communities. Applicant must be a University of Chicago undergraduate student at time of application. Open to all majors and sub-disciplines. 

Preferred Skills: 

Preferred Skills: Excellent research skills, high degree of organization, close attention to detail, familiarity with finding aids and navigating archival collections

Required Courses (Optional): 


Recommended Training (Optional): 

Recommended Training: Candidates who have successfully completed an independent research project are preferred

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

Direct experience working with primary sources and archives, application of research skills to a non-academic environment, in-depth knowledge of the relationship between institutional histories and missions, direct experience working within a university art museum.

Application Process: 

Email the following in *one* pdf. document to with the subject “Archives Research URA Application”: 

  • 350-word statement of interest in the research opportunity (this is not a cover letter but should detail why you are interested in the research experience, what particular research and work-related skills you may bring, what you hope to learn and how this may impact your future studies, profession, and/or research in the field);
  • Current curriculum vitae or resume with the names and contact details of two references; and, 
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Deadline: 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 350 Word Statement of Interest
  • Names of Two References
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

    Aaron Wilder
    Faculty Title: 
    Academic Engagement Coordinator
    Smart Museum of Art