Become a Conservation Intern at Polesden Lacey

By now i’m sure you will all have read many blog posts by our fabulous Intern’s here at Polesden Lacey. If you haven’t don’t worry, I have left a selection of links below.

Our conservation interns work very hard throughout their time at Polesden and gain a variety of skills. I really wanted to take the opportunity to highlight our Internship programme and just how wonderful it is.

The world of museums and heritage organisations can seem quite daunting to someone either straight out of university or wishing to enter the field. There are so many job titles and it can be quite confusing – just what does a documentation assistant do, and what on earth is a heritage assistant. So many museum jobs require you to have a plethora of skills and competition to get jobs can be tough. Its no surprise that there is huge debate within the industry about Internships, but they are a wonderful way to experience everything that the National Trust has to offer. The National trust are keen to develop those that volunteer and Intern with us and past Interns have been very successful.

Here at Polesden we are extremely proud of our Interns and many of them are now working in museums and galleries across the country. I myself started my career with the National Trust as an Intern in 2013. After doing my masters in Museum Studies I realised very quickly that it was working with objects which i enjoyed the most and more specifically engaging with the public. I already had a great deal of customer service experience but all of the jobs I was applying for wanted more experience with collections management and conservation. Many internships available at the time were full time in the city and I couldn’t afford to stop working. The wonderful thing about the internship was that it was only two days a week, which meant I could keep up my part time job and still gain the experience that I needed. I remember being very nervous for my Interview at Polesden but once I arrived everyone made me feel so welcome that the nerves soon faded. I was thrilled to be offered the Internship. I completed 4 months at Polesden before I got offered a Job at the V & A as a Gallery Supervisor, a lot of the skills I have gained in Volunteer management stood me in great stead for my new role. A little over a year later i started to get the itch to move back to the National Trust, I wanted to get a full time  job working with beautiful collections every day. I was always on the look out for jobs at London properties but luckily in September 2014 a full time Conservation and Engagement Assistant role came up at Polesden Lacey, I jumped at the chance and the rest as they say is history. I never would have gotten where I am today if it wasn’t for my internship, I was so greatful for everything that i learnt and i am always thrilled when i get to pass on those skills to others.

One of our previous Intern's Becky cleaning in the Gun room - Becky is now a Conservation Assistant at Chartwell

One of our previous Intern’s Becky cleaning in the Gun room – Becky is now a Conservation Assistant at Chartwell

I’m not alone in my success, many of our interns have gone on to work at other National Trust properties, English Heritage properties, National and local museums while some have headed down new career paths, taking with them all the transferable skills from their Internship. Most recently one of our current Interns, Lolly, was offered a role at a London Property which she will start next month, we look forward to hearing more about her adventures here and will hopefully entice her to write one last blog post before she leaves.

3 success stories. Olivia now works down in Cornwall at Trerice, Gazzala volunteers at Ham house and Chloe (An Intern and then a staff member) now works at HolyroodHouse in Edinburgh.

3 success stories. Olivia now works down in Cornwall at Trerice, Gazzala volunteers at Ham house and Chloe (An Intern and then a staff member) now works at HolyroodHouse in Edinburgh.

Being an Intern at Polesden Lacey can offer you the opportunity not only to meet a fantastic group of staff and volunteers but also to broaden your knowledge of preventive conservation, collections management, managing historic houses, art history, research and so much more. We aim to help all of our volunteers offering them their own dedicated project to work on whilst still working alongside the house team to complete important conservation work, learning on the job.

If you think you might be interested in becoming an Intern at Polesden Lacey, please see the Internship page on the nationaltrust jobs website or if you have any questions please do feel free to email me at

Blog posts by our Interns



4 thoughts on “Become a Conservation Intern at Polesden Lacey

  1. Hi Charlotte,

    Interesting comments – thank you.

    Don’t worry, I have no intention of changing my mode of volunteering, but I have long wondered what exactly an Intern job is! It is not a term I have come across before and I had no idea that it is only 2 days per week, but is it paid or unpaid? And if unpaid, how does anyone live on 2 days pay? Why would anyone want to commit to such a part time job – however interesting it no doubt is?

    For ancients like me, you have summarised something of what an Intern is and does but it may be worthwhile to go a bit more chapter and verse here or on Fastnews to describe the role. I still won’t be asking to be one (far too busy), but it is interesting that part of the internship, if I read it ok, is learning how to manage volunteers!! Now, what you have gleaned in that respect had better stay under wraps!



    • Hi Roy,

      Our internships are unpaid but we do provide expenses for travelling and lunch. However i know without my Internship i wouldn’t have been able to get my job, in a very popular and competitive job market it can be hard to get experience without doing unpaid volunteering or internships. Volunteer management is a huge part of our jobs here, we couldn’t do what we do without our wonderful volunteers so we like to make sure that our interns work with volunteers and learn about what involved with managing them from administration to training.

      Next time you see one of our interns running around with a light meter – doing our daily light checks, stop and have a chat! They are all always happy to talk.


    • Thank you Tony, Glad to hear Polesden is special to you, i hope you continue to enjoy it and don’t forget you can share photos with us on Facebook or Twitter, we love to see them.


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