Sea and Cedar Internship, Anthropology 479

Photo forested path and a cedar treeWhatcom Museum Education Internship

Local Native American Culture and History

Western Washington University Contacts
Joyce Hammond  360-650-4796
Todd Koetje  360-650-4791
Sarah Campbell  360-650-4793

Museum Contact
Susannah Brooks, Education and Public Program Coordinator of Whatcom Museum

Museum Internship Description and Overview

The People of the Sea and Cedar is a favorite school tour provided by the Whatcom Museum for local schools. Each year, the museum provides this workshop/tour to many third and fourth grade students studying Native American history and culture as part of their curriculum. The workshop focuses on the Northwest Coast Native peoples.

Whatcom Museum Education Department is offering an Internship for 2018-19 to students interested in learning about the culture and history of local native tribes and the mechanics of museum workshop preparation, planning and delivery. Students will also learn about other museum education activities and programs. The internship includes training for the People of the Sea and Cedar hands-on workshop and facilitation of this workshop to school groups.

A student must commit to two consecutive quarters. These can be either Fall and Winter with 1 credit in the fall for training and 3 in winter when training is applied in workshops with students (for a total of 4 credits) OR 3 credits in the winter that includes both the training and some workshop facilitation and 3 credits in the spring continuing to run workshops (for a total of 6 credits).

WORKSHOP TRAINING--Learning about the program

The training reviews the culture, history and life skills of the native people through lecture, demonstration, video, and hands-on activities.

Student training includes required reading, observations of the workshop program and some hands-on experiences.

WORKSHOP FACILITATIONS - Giving the program!

Students have the opportunity to facilitate the People of the Sea and Cedar workshop after having completed the basic training. This is available in Fall/Winter and Winter/Spring.


The internship is designed to:

  1. Teach students about museum education programs for school groups including planning, preparation, delivery and classroom management.

  2. Provide training in the skills of leading museum tours and workshops and offer experience in facilitating workshops.

  3. Assist students in learning about local native culture and history.

Student responsibilities include:

  • learning about local native tribes and their culture through lecture and reading

  • learning techniques of native crafts and daily life

  • presenting a hands-on workshop up to two days per week to local school groups

  • completing course assignments for the Anthropology Department in Winter quarter and a research paper for Spring quarter

  • completing a Self-evaluation and a Summary of Learning

Internship Details

Credits and Hours. The 2018-19 internship includes approximately 10 hours of onsite training and independent reading. Students then assist in or facilitate the People of the Sea and Cedar workshop with school groups, prepare materials for the workshop or complete other museum work such as the Museum’s Down on the Homestead pioneer tour/workshop or support other historical or cultural events and activities. Students will also complete museum assignments and research as assigned by the Anthropology Department.

Student Learning. Student interns will learn native techniques for weaving, cedar bark preparation, cedar ribbon preparation, twining, woodworking, steam-bending and bentwood box cooking methods. They will also learn to identify Native American artifacts in the museum collection and be able to replicate the museum workshop including training of volunteers, introduction of workshop and facilitation of students' rotations through five workshop stations. Reading will include accounts of local native culture, and specific materials related to the museum’s People of the Sea and Cedar tour and workshop. Potentially students will take a field trip to learn more about local native people.

The Native American workshop facilitation includes:

  • Workshop materials preparation: students learn to set up the workshop, maintain the workshop stations and prepare materials such as cedar ribbons.

  • Training parent-helpers to teach at the stations: approximately 45-minutes is allotted for the parent training prior to the student workshops. Interns learn to train them to facilitate the stations for students.

  • Workshop facilitation: a one-hour hands-on workshop with 5 learning stations includes: cedar bark preparation, cedar bark twining, yarn-making and weaving, woodworking, steam-bending and tool sharpening. The tour leader also demonstrates the technique of cooking salmon in a traditional bentwood box. During the workshop the intern provides a brief introduction to the workshop, demonstrates cooking in the bentwood box, directs the flow of the students through the stations and concludes the workshop.

Application Process

The internship is offered to junior- or senior-level college students or students who will reach junior status by Winter 2019. Interns should be comfortable working with people, hold an interest in Native American culture, and be willing to have an open schedule two days a week during both quarters of the internship. Students must be able to work between the hours of 9 am to 12:00 pm. Dates are either Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays during Winter and Spring quarters. Fall training will be determined based on student schedules and available opportunities to observe and participate in the People of the Sea and Cedar workshop.

Interested students should contact Susannah Brooks, (360) 778-8944 or and provide

  1. A brief description of career goals

  2. A short overview of related coursework and skills related to the internship tasks

  3. A short (one page or less) account of how you feel the internship will support your goals and what you can bring to the program.

  4. An override is required from a sponsoring professor (See the top of this announcement).