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Preservation & Conservation Research Member - Valley Forge National Historical Park

Summary American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), is seeking a Preservation & Conservation Member to research and study the types of materials that were used in the early preservation of excavated materials related to the Upper Forge site at Valley Forge National Historical Park (NHP).
For more information about ACE, please visit:
Start Date: August 14, 2023, or upon successful completion of Department of Interior Background Investigation
Estimated End Date: 23 weeks after start
*a 23 minimum commitment is required *
Location Details/Description: Valley Forge NHP-King of Prussia, PA & Harpers Ferry Center, WV
The NPS is responsible for protecting and managing over 420 individual "units", including 63 National Parks, 74 National Historic Sites, and other designated areas such as battlefields, monuments, nature preserves, and more.
Valley Forge NHP is the encampment site of the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778. The park features 3,500 acres of monuments, meadows, and woodlands commemorating the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honoring the power of people to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times.
For more information about the park, please visit:
This position will travel to Harpers Ferry for 3 consecutive weeks during the internship. The Museum Conservation Labs at Harpers Ferry Center (HFC) support all park sites that maintain museum collections through preventive care, preservation planning, and by performing conservation treatment on artifacts on loan to our facility. Although the conservation labs are a part of the NPS Harpers Ferry Center they are located 6 miles from Harpers Ferry, WV in Charles Town, WV. Although only 70 miles from Washington, D.C., the area is a grouping of small communities with plenty of historic and outdoor attractions, but meager public transportation - your own transportation is required.
For more information about the conservation labs, please visit:
Position Overview: In the spring of 1777, following Gen. George Washington's decision to store military supplies at Valley Forge, the British attacked and seized the supplies as well as burned the forge buildings. The upper forge, built in 1742, was a modest example of the type of finery forge which had been in existence since the adoption of the blast furnace for smelting iron in the 15th century. Although not as significant as other examples of 18th century iron industry in the colonies, the upper forge at Valley Forge NHP, remains unique as one of the very few charcoal finery forges ever to be excavated.
The member will assist in the proper identification and appropriate cataloging of the various excavated materials from the finishing forge site located on Valley Creek. The artifacts will be re-numbered with a better system of identification to make each piece separately identified further and clearly. Proper identification of individual pieces will provide crucial data needed for a more complete research study on the upper forge along with the results of preliminary testing of collected samples. Objects that directly relate to the Valley Forge NHP landscape will be preserved to continue to provide valuable historical information on forge activities for future research and exhibition during the upcoming Semiquincentennial commemoration.
  • Perform analysis & diagnostic testing on objects for analysis
  • Help conduct background research on upper forge site and corresponding archeological finds
  • Help write portions of a technical report and prepare tables and graphs as requested
  • Position will include limited travel to perform lab work at Harpers Ferry Center, WV. Travel costs will be paid.
This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.
Schedule: Mon-Fri, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Position Benefits
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $680/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for a 900-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $3,172.50 upon successful completion of [a complete service term and 900 hours.
Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.
Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.
Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility or view general information online
Housing: Housing is the responsibility of the member and not provided by ACE or the NPS. Park housing may be offered, but is not guaranteed.
Travel Assistance: This position will include limited travel to perform lab work at Harpers Ferry Center, WV. Travel costs will be covered. More information will be provided during the interview process.
Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support.
  • A qualified applicant must have, or working towards, a graduate degree from a recognized program in conservation with a specialization in objects conservation. Applicants up to three years out of their program will be considered.
  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts.
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
  • ACE Members may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement or as defined by AmeriCorps.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website
  • Knowledge of archaeology and wooden artifact conservation.
  • Ability and willingness to perform independent research, scientific analysis, and wooden artifact preservation.
  • Deep interest in history, conservation, and preservation.
Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:
  • Physical Demands: Requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch.
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 40 lbs., ability to move up to 70 pounds.
  • Environmental: Mainly indoor, office environment conditions; indoor air quality is good, and temperature is controlled.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.
  • Travel: This position will require domestic travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE member(s) may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp, or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members, or resources. Hazard specifics should be provided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Partner site.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the NPS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the NPS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the NPS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to NPS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.
To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact ACE EPIC Member Support Specialist, Kyle Ellison at
EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.