Internships & Fellowships

Internships at the National Museum of African American History and Culture offer college and graduate students and recent graduates opportunities to work closely with professionals and scholars in the museum field. The museum provides a dynamic learning environment and access to supportive mentors that help interns reach their educational and professional goals. Interns can gain practical museum skills and program development experience in a variety of positions from education to collections to public relations.

When applying via SOLAA, please mention the specific opportunity that interests you in your application essay. Some internships offer stipends, those that offer stipends will state it in the details in the opportunities tab below. Learn about the application process.

Fall 2019 internship applications are due by July 15, 2019.

Curatorial Research Assistant Internship: Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at NMAAHC

The intern will assist in increasing the visibility of the United States African American diaspora and its representation within NMAAHC, its Cultural Expressions permanent exhibition, and other Smithsonian collections. He/she will also assist with program development for an April 2020 conference titled Making African America: 20th century Immigration and the Changing Dynamics of Blackness. This position offers exposure to and practical experience with curatorial department processes and procedures, collection management systems and general museum operations. 

Internship Experience:

  • Research and draft reports on diasporic object donations for the collection
  • Research, gather and draft background information on program topics and presenters
  • Assist with facilitation and execution of a public symposium program
  • Attend curatorial department meetings
  • Learn museum-related software programs

Center for the Study of Global Slavery Internship

The Center for the Study of Global Slavery (CSGS) is an outward facing center that is built upon collaboration and dedicated to revealing the scope and the impact of slavery as well as recognizing the resilience of people of African descent throughout the African diaspora in resistance to slavery. It is the purpose of CSGS to leverage the power of NMAAHC not just nationally but on a global scale. The Center provides an understanding of slavery as shared human history beyond region nation and race and as something relevant to understanding our local communities and global societies in the 21st century.  It is comprised of multiple interconnected initiatives, each of which is committed to fashioning hope even while emphasizing slavery’s history of catastrophe and despair.

Internship experiences:

  • Supporting center's two major international collaborative initiatives: the Slave Wrecks Project and the Global Curatorial Project
  • Assist with content research for exhibitions in development including research on objects, images and archives
  • Developing press ready material for web, social media and print based sources
  • Processing oral history interviews and associated imagery and video

NMAAHC Archives Technician Internship

The selected intern will work directly with the Museum Archivist and Archives Technician in archival processing procedures and protocols. Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to collection and/or materials condition reporting, collection rehousing, archival inventory, research and finding aid composition. The intern will also be invited to take part in meetings with the Museum Archivist, colleagues from the office of curatorial staff as well as other museum and SI staff. The ideal candidate will be enrolled in recent undergraduate graduate or graduate student, have an interest African American history and culture as well as exceptional research and communication skills. A familiarity with historical materials, a proficiency with Microsoft Office application, particularly Excel, is a plus. The candidate must be able to lift 25lbs.

Internship experiences: 

  • Learn about archival material handling and rehousing procedures
  • Creating collection inventories and writing condition reports
  • Gain experience with archival processing procedures as well as archival collection research and documentation
  • Experience with researching information about archival collections and its content creators
  • Knowledge on use of TMS (The Museum System) collection management system
  • Basic knowledge on use of ArchiveSpace collection management system
  • Experience with composing intellectual control documentation for music/performing arts-related archives for scholarly audiences
  • Training on use of TMS (The Museum System) collection management system
  • Basic training on use of ArchiveSpace, web-based archival collection management system
  • Create condition reports about archival collections and its materials
  • Conduct research needed to compose processing plans and finding aids
  • Create collection inventories and attach to collection catalog TMS records
  • Draft and edit texts relating to archival collections and their content creators
  • Attend staff and departmental team meetings

Membership Intern

The Membership Intern will work with the Membership Team on marketing and engagement activities through print, web-based, email, and in-person communications, including direct mail, e-news, letters, and intermittent events. The outcome will be to increase revenue to the Museum. The intern will gain insight into the inner workings of the Office of Advancement in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. They will develop verbal, written, and professional skills and understand the advancement strategies for large-scale non-profits. Start date is flexible.

Internship Experiences:

  • Contribute to monthly e-news letter by identifying appropriate museum collection object for features and similar creative ideas to promote the resources of the museum
  • Produce appropriate replies to member inquiries
  • Monitor inventory of promotional materials to ensure stock
  • Attend staff meetings, depending on work schedule
  • Create or update webpages with training in Druple CMS (no Durple experience required)
  • Learn Advance database to maintain data integrity
  • Assist with photo research and permissions acquisition
  • Use Excel to manipulate data

Graphic Design Internship

This internship is located in the Office of Public Affairs at NMAAHC. It provides hands-on experience developing creative assets visually representing NMAAHC programs and initiatives across all communications channels including print, social media web and in-house graphics. Regular responsibilities include the ideation, planning, design and production of advertising, branding and marketing products for NMAAHC including, but not limited to: special event programs and flyers, marketing and promotional assets for social media, signage, advertisements, publications, infographics, brochures, multimedia, photo and video presentations.

Internship experiences: 

  • Working closely with a team of staff and volunteers to translate messaging concepts into engaging marketing materials.
  • Designing clear, engaging and compelling print and online graphic products including advertisements (print, online, social media), signage, posters, flyers, and other marketing materials.
  • Build graphic design skills
  • Learn principles of advertising, branding and marketing
  • Develop project management skills
  • Writing advertisement and marketing copy
  • Graphic asset archive management
  • Photo and video archive management

Can I apply to more than one internship and/or fellowship?

Yes! In fact, we encourage you to do so!

How does the general internship pool work?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis as opportunities become available. Please know that if an internship does not become available that fits your interests and timeframe, you will not be contacted. If you have a specific interest, you are encouraged to apply for a specific appointment as well.

How competitive are Smithsonian internships and fellowships?

Smithsonian internships and fellowships are very competitive; the Smithsonian receives thousands of applications each year—but don’t let that discourage you from applying. We work to make sure Smithsonian internships are prestigious, but not exclusive.

How long should it take to find out if I received an internship or fellowship?

How long until you receive a response depends on a lot of things: which internship you applied for, the time of year, as well as how many other applicants there are. As a result, it is difficult to say how long it will take to receive a response.

Intern at NMAAHC

You must apply for all Smithsonian internships through the Smithsonian online academic appoint system.