Americas and Oceania Collections blog

Exploring the Library’s collections from the Americas and Oceania

07 January 2013

British Library Magna Carta Internship

A rare medieval posting on the Team Americas blog, thanks to our colleagues in Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts:

The British Library is offering a six-month volunteership for an American doctoral student to join the History and Classics Department in 2013, working on the Magna Carta Project. This position has been generously funded by the American Trust for the British Library.

Detail from a 15th century English legal collection: London, British Library, MS Lansdowne 464, f. 32r.

Public Domain Mark
This work (MS Lansdowne 464), identified by The British Library, is free of known copyright restrictions.

The student’s primary focus in 2013 will be contributing to the development of the Library’s major temporary exhibition on Magna Carta which will open in 2015 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the granting of the document in 1215. The exhibition will examine both the medieval history of Magna Carta and its post-medieval impact and legacy, both in Britain and around the world. We are particularly keen to receive applications from students able to contribute to the development of the section of the exhibition which will explore the use and impact of Magna Carta in the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The student will work closely with the Lead Curators of the exhibition, Dr Claire Breay, Lead Curator for Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, and Julian Harrison, Curator of Pre-1600 Historical Manuscripts. The intern will be involved in a wide variety of duties relating to the planning and preparation of the exhibition including researching and documenting potential exhibits, assisting in the selection of the items to be exhibited, and contributing to the planning of the wider programme associated with the exhibition. The project will provide the intern with invaluable research and practical experience of preparing for a major international manuscript exhibition. 

During the internship, the student will enjoy privileged access to printed and manuscript research material, and will work alongside specialists with wide-ranging and varied expertise. The position is designed to provide an opportunity for the student to develop research skills using original historical manuscript sources, and expertise in presenting manuscripts to a range of audiences


The programme is only open to US citizens who are engaged actively in research towards, or have recently completed, a PhD in a subject area relevant to the study of the legacy of Magna Carta. 


The term of the placement is for a period of six months. The placement is voluntary and therefore unpaid.  However, the successful applicant will be reimbursed in respect of actual expenses in the performance of his or her duties, such as direct travel expenses to London and commuting expenses to the British Library, accommodation, and immediate living expenses such as food (but not clothing or alcohol), subject to a maximum of £8,000. The volunteer will be responsible for making his or her own travel and accommodation arrangements.

If the applicant does not hold the right to work in the United Kingdom, the Library will sponsor the volunteer for a visa using the UK Border Agency’s points-based system under Tier 5 Charity Workers. The successful candidate will be required to submit the relevant application form to the local processing centre. The processing fee will be reimbursed by the Library.  No placement may commence until the appropriate right to work documents have been obtained and verified.

How to apply

Please send an application letter detailing the months you would be able to be in London, a résumé, and two reference letters to Dr Claire Breay, Lead Curator, Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, The British Library, by email to [email protected], or by post to 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, by Friday 8 February 2013. A telephone interview may be held. All applicants will be notified of the results by the end of March 2013.


The comments to this entry are closed.