Robert Frederick Smith Internship and Fellowship Program

This program seeks to build a professional pipeline for historically underrepresented individuals to grow successful careers in the cultural sector.

Photo by Walter Larrimore for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History was established to advance the digital curation, community outreach, and internship initiatives at the Museum. As part of the Smith Fund Internship and Fellowship Program, the Museum will select and provide funding for interns who will be located onsite with the Museum and offsite at select African American museums, art galleries and museums of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), cultural institutions and historic sites, or other related institutions dedicated to the study and preservation of African American history and culture. All internship opportunities with this program will focus on work related to digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, digital content management, collections information management, recording and preserving oral histories, or digital filmmaking.

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

Internships will 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

  • Meaningful stipend to defray living expenses during the tenure of the appointment
  • Need-based housing and transportation stipends available for summer internships. 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 in August 2018
  • Paid professional memberships
  • Academic credit (not required)

Intern Eligibility

  • Undergraduate students (must have completed at least one year of study)
  • Graduate students
  • Career-changers in the cultural field less than 2 years


  • Internships are 12 weeks
  • Fall and spring internships are 20-24 hours per week
  • Summer internships are 35-40 hours per week

Sign Up to Receive Updates

Opportunities for Students and Organizations

For offsite internships

Summer 2018 applications have closed. Please sign up for our e-mail list to be notified when new offsite positions are announced for Summer 2019.

Summer 2018 positions

Oral History Transcription (pdf)
Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida

Oral History (pdf)
The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama

Collections Management (pdf)
Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Oral History and Digitization (pdf)
Stagville State Historic Site in Durham, North Carolina

All available offsite internship positions for Summer 2018 (pdf)


Download and fill out an application form and submit along with the documents below as Word or PDF attachments to with the email subject: "Internship Application 2018 – <First Name_Last Name>" by 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2018.

  • Cover letter (no more than 2 pages) detailing your past and present academic history and other experiences which you feel have prepared you for this internship and an outline of what you hope to learn during this internship
  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript
  • 2 academic and/or professional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be submitted by the intern applicant along with all other application materials.

Applications submitted as Google documents, links to files, or other cloud platform applications will not be considered.

Summer 2018 Timeline

  • Applications accepted January 2 - 11:59 p.m. March 15, 2018
  • Museum staff will confirm receipt of application materials via e-mail within 2 business days of submission. Please contact us if you do not receive a confirmation.
  • Host organizations will review applications and conduct interviews March 15 – April 9, 2018
  • All applicants notified of their status by mid-April 2018

For onsite internships at NMAAHC

Summer 2018 applications have closed. Applications for fall internships will be due July 15, 2018. Please sign up for our e-mail list to be notified when positions are announced and applications are open.

Summer 2018 onsite Smith Fund internship positions

Digitization (pdf)
Integrated Marketing Media (pdf)
Web Content (pdf)

Learn about the application process for internships onsite at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

For offsite host organizations

Summer 2019 host organization applications will open in July 2018.

Now announcing Smith Fund host organizations for Summer 2018:

The offsite internships will occur over the summer for 12 weeks. Internships can be offered to students at the undergraduate (having completed at least one year of school) and graduate level as well as those working in the cultural field for less than 2 years. It is recommended that prospective interns have some background or interest in African American history and culture. Interns are expected to spend 35 to 40 hours a week engaged in work related to digitization projects of host organizations. Interns will receive place-based training and hands-on experience while building their personal networks, thereby providing emerging professionals with critical, marketable skills that support the launch of their careers.

Host organizations can request up to two interns. A meaningful stipend for each intern is provided for by the Museum. Additionally, organizations will receive $500 per intern to offset administrative expenses.


  • Project must directly relate to the study and preservation of African American History and Culture
  • Must have designated office space and supervisor
  • Nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status
  • Must have at least 2 full-time staff
  • Project must be focused on digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, digital content management, collections information management, recording and preserving oral histories, or digital filmmaking


2018 applications have closed. Summer 2019 applications will open July 2018.

Timeline for Summer 2018

  • Host applications accepted by NMAAHC until 11:59 p.m. November 15, 2017
  • Host application processing, review, and selection by NMAAHC through December 1, 2017
  • Host organizations notified of their status by December 1, 2017
  • Intern applications accepted by NMAAHC from January 2, 2018 until 11:59 p.m. March 15, 2018
  • NMAAHC processes applications and reviews intern applications for eligibility by March 22, 2018
  • NMAAHC sends eligible, complete internship applications to Host Organizations by March 23, 2018
  • Host Organization reviews applications and conducts interviews March 25 – April 6, 2018
  • Host Organization submits preferred choices to NMAAHC by April 9, 2018 for final approval and selection by NMAAHC
  • Interns will be notified of their final status by NMAAHC on or before April 13, 2018

NOTE:  Host Organizations are not authorized to finalize intern selections prior to receiving NMAAHC approval. If NMAAHC rejects a Host Organization’s choice, the Host Organization may submit a substitute for consideration by NMAAHC.

Connect with us

Have questions about our Smith Fund internship and fellowship programs?
Email or call 202-633-4511.