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[INTERN-SF] Data Visualization Internship at the Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California
The Story of California, The Story of You
Natural Science Gallery Reopens in 2012


Oakland Museum of California
Natural Sciences Internship Opportunity
Data Visualization

Project Background:

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is undertaking a multi-year project to re-conceive and rebuild the 28,000-sq ft. Natural Sciences Gallery, as part of an overall $63 million campaign to reinvent the entire museum. Anchored by a major National Science Foundation grant, exhibit development and planning of the Natural Sciences gallery is underway.

The new Natural Sciences gallery will employ an innovative combination of natural sciences and humanities, while reusing a majority of the existing habitat displays to showcase real places and real environmental challenges. The new gallery will also be supplemented with new audio and video-based media and visitor-oriented technologies.

New elements will feature collaborative projects with community partners, data visualization of citizen science and environmental conservation efforts, theatrical immersive experiences, and innovative programming areas. Rather than focusing on the delivery of scientific facts, the interactive gallery’s goal is to develop an intuitive understanding of California’s biodiversity and foster curiosity and appreciation for the natural world and our roles within it.


Position Description:

We are looking for a graduate or undergraduate intern with the ability to help develop innovative visual techniques to convey scientific information. This intern will work closely with staff from the OMCA to help produce dynamic story-driven representations of scientific data and natural processes for a diverse museum audience. The presentations will be primarily targeted for in-gallery installation but may also be developed in web versions.

Possible projects may include:

Mapping of pre 1700 historical ecology for the East Bay region in an engaging digital interactive similar to the Mannahatta/Welikia project. Using narrative design and media techniques to depict physical earth system phenomena like volcanism, earthquakes & tectonic activity, and oceanic upwelling.

Visually modeling various aspects of climate change scenarios including sea level rise and upward elevation shifts of animal habitats.

Map ongoing natural phenomena and their effects on ecologies and economies in California, such as wildfires, animal migrations, and spread of invasive species.

Using visualization and media to supplement static natural history dioramas with complex factors of ecological interactions, behavior, seasonality, and human impact.


Our primary goals for an intern at this stage of the project are research, planning, concept testing, and multiple draft iterations of one or more interactive exhibits. The intern will work with a team of museum curators, designers, science experts, and education professionals on conceptualizing and prototyping the product for the gallery installation.



This internship is open to all currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate and graduate students. We are looking for someone who as an interest and engagement with natural sciences. Experience in one or more of the following areas: GIS/ARC or other digital mapping software, graphic data visualization, computer animation, video media development, basic programming, product design, or nature-based art interpretation.

Familiarity with the flora, fauna, habitats, geology, and/or geography of California is desirable. The intern should be able to brainstorm and work creatively in a group environment as well as on their own, meet deadlines, give demonstrations, and work with museum visitors.

Access to a car during the internship is required. The intern will be based at the OMCA, and field work may include meeting with researchers and visiting field sites throughout the Bay Area, and possibly farther afield in California.



The intern will work full-time (37.5 hrs./week) for 10 consecutive weeks during summer 2010. Start date is flexible. If the intern works effectively with the OMCA gallery reinstallation team, there may a possibility of continuing on the project for a longer period of time.

Work done during the internship period may not be a “final product.” Exhibits will likely require revisions to fit changing gallery plans after the internship period is complete. We encourage interns to remain engaged with the project during the implementation and production stages through ongoing communication or future internships.


Housing and Stipend:

The intern will be paid a stipend by the Oakland Museum. All housing and transportation arrangements will be the responsibility of the intern.


To Apply:

Please electronically send the following information to Douglas J. Long, Chief Curator of Natural Sciences (

– Current resume or curriculum vitae (including your full contact information)

– Personal statement of interest (up to 500 words)

– Name and contact information (e-mail address and phone #) for three references



Interviews will take place from May 2nd – May 6th, with a decision made by the following week.

Questions: Please email Douglas J. Long (