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. Learn about the application process. Some internships offer stipends, those that offer stipends will state it in the details in the opportunities tab below. 

Robert Frederick Smith internship applications are due by February 15, 2019.

General NMAAHC Summer 2019 internship applications are due by March 15, 2019.

Summer 2019 applications are due by 11:59 p.m. February 15, 2019.

The Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History will support three internships at the Museum for Summer 2019. The Museum offers these internships to increase participation of groups who are underrepresented in the museum field. The program provides individuals opportunities to learn more about the museum field through direct experience in internship projects under the mentorship of Museum staff. Individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Robert Frederick Smith internships are 12 weeks (35-40 hours per week) and paid a stipend of $600 per week. An additional housing and transportation stipend of $150 per week is available based on need. Please note emails confirming receipt of completed applications are not sent for onsite applications.

Learn more about the Robert Frederick Smith Internship Program benefits as well as offsite opportunities.

Special instructions: When applying in the Smithsonian online application system, you may only select one position of interest (Community Curation or Digitization). Applications submitted without a selection will not be considered.

Community Curation

Funded by the Robert F. Smith Fund at the Museum, the Community Curation Project (CCP) provides digitization services to individuals and institutions throughout the United States.  Participants register to have their family items or organizational records digitized during a two-week long period in a particular region or city. Attendees are able to process photographs, manuscript material, archives, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and film. The CCP is a service of preservation and access to collections representing African American history around the country. The intern will be expected to travel to and work at the CCP event during the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) conference August 7-10, 2019 at Jackson State University, and the CCP in Chicago, August 19-30, 2019.  All expenses will be paid. 

Sample of Intern Duties:

  • Research and review collections housed at CCP sites selected for digitization
  • Collaborate with curators and local planning groups to develop engaging public programs during the CCP events
  • Maintain email and telephone correspondence with CCP collaborators about the upcoming CCP in Chicago and/or other sites
  • Collaborate with NMAAHC Office of Public Relations regarding CCP marketing, tracking social media impact, drafting press releases, and proposing additional advertisement strategies
  • Organize local media events during CCPs
  • Represent the Museum through managing email and other correspondence with CCP clients during CCP events
  • Interact with members of the community in CCP cities who have registered for digitizing appointments
  • Attend CCP meetings in Jackson, MS and Chicago
  • Attend at least one week of the Community Curation events in Jackson, MS and Chicago in August 2019

Learning Outcomes:

  • Professional collaboration and communication skills
  • Project management and prioritization skills
  • Development and management of public programs for museums and cultural centers
  • Writing skills related to public affairs
  • Learn regional histories of African American culture
  • Digital imaging and content management skills
  • Digital asset management skills
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office software products
  • Learn social media strategies

Time Frame (flexible): June 3 - August 10, 2019. Timing may be adjusted to accommodate CCP event later in August.

Work Culture: The work culture will be fast-paced and include a reasonable amount of travel. The intern will need to work collaboratively with other departments at the Museum, including the Office of Public Affairs and Office Curatorial Affairs. The intern will need to know that he/she will enter political environments in other regions and cities, and will need to learn how to manage those situations.  The applicant should have strong oral and written communication skills and be able to work well in a fast-paced environment in both group settings and on his or her own.

Prerequisites: Interest or background in African American history and cultural studies. Prior experience in digitization is not required.


Contribute significantly to the creation, management, and distribution of the Museum's digital image assets and gain a thorough understanding about the integration of digital assets into various Smithsonian databases. The selected intern will have the opportunity to enhance their digital skills, build a professional network, and pursue mentorships within the Smithsonian Institution while gaining skills in myriad fields. At the conclusion of the program, the intern will have completed a variety of projects that will enrich their portfolios, resumes, and understanding of initiatives undertaken at the Museum to further Smithsonian's Digitization Strategic Plan.

Sample of Intern Duties:

  • Train to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database
  • Utilize museum cataloging standards to work on collection records
  • Conduct research needed to create and enhance collection records
  • Create collection inventories
  • Train in object handling
  • Photograph flat objects (photographs, documents, posters, etc.)
  • Manage digital assets in multiple platforms (create, edit, manage metadata, and quality control of image files)
  • Attend team meetings
  • Research copyright of Museum objects
  • Write a collection story or blog post

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop a working knowledge of how to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database
  • Experience with collections information research and management
  • Direct experience handling objects
  • Digital imaging and content management skills
  • Digital asset management skills
  • Gain an overview of copyright law and permissible uses of Museum collection images
  • Understand how to integrate digital assets into various computer systems

Time Frame (flexible): Early June start date

Work Culture: The Digitization Team is a highly collaborative, team-oriented group focused on making images and information about collection objects available for use by Museum staff and external partners. The applicant should have strong oral and written communication skills and be able to work well in a fast-paced environment in both group settings and on his or her own.

Prerequisites: A demonstrated interest or background in African American history and/or cultural studies, attention to detail, and strong writing skills. Prior experience in digitization is not required.

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.