Submerged Cultural Resources Intern (DHA-RA)

Padre Island National Seashore
December 8, 2020
Job Type


On April 29, 1554, three Spanish ships were wrecked off the coast of what is now Padre Island National Seashore. In the subsequent recovery operation, a smaller fourth boat also sank. Texas and the National Park Service care for artifacts excavated and washed ashore from these sites, which are the oldest Spanish shipwrecks along the U.S. mainland coast. 

To make appropriate management decisions, park leadership needs to gain a better understanding of these wrecks and potential measures to mitigate known threats. PAIS also needs to develop interpretive and educational products and programs to increase visitor understanding of these unique resources. The goal of this project is to contribute to a collaborative, inter-governmental effort to research the shipwrecks and share the knowledge gained.   

PAIS proposes to select a DHA-RA intern to document, research, and educate the public about the shipwrecks, including:

  1. A detailed, annotated bibliography to aid researchers studying the wrecks.
  2. Digitization of NPS archival records and creation of a finding aid for materials related to the wrecks to increase NPS information accessibility for researchers and the public.
  3. Translations of at least five key wreck-related documents from Spanish to English.
  4. Updates and additions to the park’s web page(s) to incorporate recent research findings.
  5. Virtual, recorded program(s) in English and Spanish to educate park visitors about submerged cultural resources at PAIS, including why they are significant, what findings they have led to, and what threats they face (e.g., hurricanes).

The intern will also assist with archeological field work to document the submerged and terrestrial sites associated with the shipwrecks; with re-inventory, appropriate packaging, and labeling of associated artifacts; and with development of a traveling exhibit and interpretive and educational materials to share the wealth of knowledge gained from the wrecks about 16th century commerce between the Old and New Worlds.

Intensity and Rigor:  This project will involve extensive archival research; compilation of primary and secondary source materials; and critical evaluation, analysis, and summarization of source materials varying from 16th century personal journal entries to modern professional journal publications. The project will also require writing and verbal presentation of academic information for public interpretation and education; design and creation of interpretive and education products for a traveling museum exhibit; and assistance with archeological field work.

Structure:  Locations of available 16th century and modern records are generally well known, the intern will be working with the state and federal subject matter experts, and project progress is measurable, allowing for frequent assessment.

Degree of Autonomy:  The LHIP intern will collaborate with subject matter experts but will independently create the project deliverables. 

Defined Deliverables:  See items 1-5 above.

Demanding Schedule:  Accomplishing the work of the project within the timeframe of the internship will require a superior work ethic and focus. The intern will develop and practice project management skills to allocate appropriate amounts of time to the production of each deliverable and their interactions with subject matter experts.

Exposure to Stakeholders:  The LHIP intern will collaborate with the Texas Historical Commission’s marine archeologist; historians and museum specialists at private, state, and federal curation facilities; university professors and lay members of archeological and historical societies; NPS archeologists working in parks and at the Submerged Resources Center; and representatives from the Government of Spain. As a result of the scope of the larger project the LHIP intern will contribute to, s/he will have numerous opportunities to demonstrate his/her communication skills as s/he navigates the involved organizational hierarchies.

This position is offered through the National Park Service's Latino Heritage Internship Program in partnership with Environment for the Americas.

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