Robert F. Smith Internship Program

Photo of Robert F. Smith Intern
Photo by Benjamin G. Sullivan for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Internships provide guided learning experiences consisting of hands-on training, mentoring, attendance at educational events, and cultivation of contacts for the next generation of researchers, scholars, curators, and other museum, library, preservation, and heritage professionals – individuals who will assume the mantle of identifying, documenting, curating, and digitizing treasured artifacts that reflect African American history and culture.

Intern Benefits

  • $600 per week stipend to defray living expenses during the tenure of the appointment
  • Additional need-based housing and transportation stipends of $150 per week are available. Students qualify by selecting their need to pay rent during their term on the application.
  • Flexible start and end dates
  • Structured mentorship opportunities both within the Museum and with outside professionals
  • A calendar of professional development seminars catered to the needs of historically underrepresented individuals in the cultural sector
  • Paid registration and travel to attend the Association of African American Museums annual conference 
  • Academic credit (not required)

Intern Eligibility

  • Undergraduate students (must have completed at least one year of study)
  • Graduate students
  • Recent graduates (up to 2 years out of school)
  • Career-changers in the cultural field less than 2 years
  • Applications from individuals who have had prior internships or fellowships with any unit of the Smithsonian Institution will not be considered.

Strongest consideration will be given to applicants with no more than 1-2 prior related work experiences. 


  • Internships are 12 weeks in the summer
  • 35-40 hours per week

Opportunities for Students and Organizations

There will be no opportunities with this program for 2021. Please check back in the late summer of 2021 for more details about the 2022 program structure and application timelines.

Please sign up for our e-mail list to be notified of future individual and organizational opportunities with the internship program.

The Museum offers internships beyond the Robert F. Smith Program. Learn about the application process for internships onsite at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

The Museum also offers a fellowship program for more advanced applicants

To learn more about the Robert F. Smith Applied Public History Fellowship for HBCU Graduates,
visit our fellowship page.

Have questions about the Robert F. Smith Internship Program? Email or call 202-633-4511.

My experience with this internship has been incredible. It has boosted my confidence and shown me that I do have what it takes to make it in this increasingly more competitive field. For the first time I feel that if I and other people of color are welcome in the field that we are going to do great things and that means the world to me.

BRITNI W. 2018 Stagville State Historic Site Intern

This internship not only added in a variety of ways to my skillset, but it confirmed that I can be successful in the cultural sector.

LA-KISHA E. 2018 National Center for the Study of Civil Rights & African-American Culture at Alabama State University Intern

I never felt like an intern during my time here; I felt like a member of the team.

ADIA C. 2019 National Museum of African American History and Culture Intern

Being a Smith Intern provided me with an exciting and fulfilling opportunity that is rarely experienced. Not only are you given meaningful work, but you are given access to countless networking opportunities and outside experiences that cannot be found elsewhere.

MORIAH J. 2018 National Museum of African American History and Culture Intern