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The Smithsonian NMAAHC Andrew W. Mellon

Conservation Internship Program

NMAAHC is pleased to announce new internship opportunities in Conservation Studies funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is open to students currently enrolled in, or recent graduates of a degree program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other institutions who have an evident interest in the conservation of African American heritage. The internships will be funded by a Mellon grant and housed in the NMAAHC's Office of Curatorial Affairs. The conservation interns will be mentored and supervised by the Museum's Conservator of Objects and will be located at one of the two NMAAHC sites: the headquarters in Washington D.C. or the Pennsy Collections and Support Center, Landover, MD. or the temporary Conservation Labs in Suitland, Maryland.

The conservation interns will be part of an exciting journey of groundbreaking efforts to culminate with the opening of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on the National Mall in 2015. As the Smithsonian's 19th and newest museum, and the first "green" museum, the NMAAHC is committed to presenting a compelling history of our country through the lens of the African American experience. Researching, collecting, documenting and conserving thousands of objects, documents, photographs, works of art, garments, musical instruments, and oral histories will be an integral part of the internship experience. In addition, the interns will also support some related administrative duties.

The internship program will expose undergraduate and graduate students to opportunities in conservation studies and inspire them to consider conservation careers. Through this pilot program, the Museum may facilitate entry to museum professions for individuals from communities that are historically not well represented in this field.

Internship Sessions

The NMAAHC Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Internship will consist of a 16 week term, beginning from June 1, September 15, or January 15. Start dates are flexible and arranged in coordination with the supervisor. Internships will be paid positions with a stipend of $8,800 ($550 per week) plus funds for travel, research and training/conferences. Four interns will be selected each year. Deadlines for applications are as follows: February 15 for the Summer session to begin on June 1; June 15 for the Fall session to begin on September 15 and October 15 for the Spring session to begin on January 15.

Academic Credit

The Smithsonian Institution welcomes the opportunity to work cooperatively with schools seeking to grant academic credit for internships. Applicants are encouraged to initiate arrangements for credit with their college or university. The Smithsonian does not grant academic credit.

Please address all inquiries to the Fellowship Program Administrator at

Eligibility and Application Process

Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing varying types of degrees (e.g.: Art History, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design, Photography, Studio Art, etc.), at HBCUs or other institutions, who have an evident interest in the conservation of African American heritage. Preferred qualifications include introduction to chemistry, excellent hand skills, and a desire to learn more about conservation of objects.