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. 

Fall 2018 internship applications are due by July 15, 2018. 

Fall 2018 applications are due by 11:59 p.m. July 15, 2018.

The Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History will support two internships at the Museum for Fall 2018. The Museum offers these internships to increase participation of groups who are underrepresented in the museum field. The program provides undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to learn more about the museum field through direct experience in internship projects under the mentorship of Museum staff.

Fall Smith Fund internships are 12 weeks (20-24 hours per week) and paid a stipend of $300-$360 per week, dependent on schedule. There is no housing or transportation stipend for fall. Individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Learn more about the Robert Frederick Smith Fund internship program benefits.

Special instructions: When applying in the Smithsonian online application system, you must select at least one position of interest (Media Conservation and/or Publications and Digital Imaging). Applications submitted without a selection will not be considered.

Media Conservation

The Museum’s founding collection numbers over 35,000 objects, with the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Art serving as the locus for moving image and recorded sound collections and programming. The CAAMA internship in Media Conservation will provide an integrated and meaningful hands-on, research and conservation-oriented experience working with both physical and born-digital collections in preparation for ongoing exhibitions, educational events, public screenings, and collections care. As such, the scope of the internship is broad so media conservation and digitization staff will mentor the successful candidate. The intern’s primary project will relate to The Great Migration Home Movie Digitization Program and may culminate in a collections story posted online, with links to home movies they work with during the program.

This internship includes travel to Denver, Colorado either the weekend of November 2nd or November 9th to participate in a Community Curation event.

Sample of Intern Duties:

  • Research historical background, rights restrictions, and uniqueness of NMAAHC media collections items
  • Digitize analog materials
  • Support Great Migration weekly public digitization appointments at the Museum
  • Cataloging and working towards an item level intellectual control of NMAAHC audiovisual collections
  • Physical inspection of audiovisual collections
  • Determining the physical condition of audiovisual material

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand moving image archiving conservation, digitization, and preservation workflows
  • Learn metadata standards and guidelines
  • A greater knowledge of African American film history; both professional and amateur
  • Hands-on experience with analog and born-digital media
  • Practice using Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, Blackmagic Media Express, and TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database

Time Frame (flexible): Mid-September start date

Work Culture: The Media Conservation and Digitization Team welcomes someone who is team-oriented, comfortable in a fast-paced environment, a quick learner, tech savvy, reliable, and detail oriented.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will be passionate about preservation, cinema programming, scholarly research, digital media technologies, audiovisual and photographic archival materials, and creative curatorial approaches to cultural storytelling. No prior professional film experience is required, but introductory knowledge of different film formats or video editing and production is beneficial.

Publications and Digital Imaging

Learn about the Museum’s collection through research, editing, and review of online and print publications while also working with photographers to understand how a museum photography studio functions in order to provide high-quality images of collection objects for publication-related projects. The selected intern will learn about and participate in all aspects of the museum publishing process for both print books and online features.

Sample of Intern Duties:

  • Train to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database
  • Research, edit, and review online and print publications
  • Work with photographers and digital imaging specialists to learn basic photography studio operations
  • Create bibliographical records for online and print publications
  • Attend meetings with publications staff, curators, and outside publishers
  • Additional duties include the possibility of writing a collections story or blog post, assisting with large-scale digitization projects, or other tasks

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop a working knowledge of how to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database
  • Understand how digital assets are created and utilized in various online and print platforms
  • Expand knowledge of African American history and culture by discovering, researching, and selecting  objects from the Museum’s collection to feature in various publications
  • Gain an understanding of the museum publishing process
  • Develop digital asset management skills
  • Participate as a member of a team

Time Frame (flexible): Mid-September 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 be able to work well in a fast-paced environment in both group settings and on his or her own.

Prerequisites: A demonstrated knowledge of African American history and/or culture and attention to detail is preferred. 

Music and Performing Arts Internship 

Intern will work directly with the Curator of Music and Performing Arts in collections acquisition and processing, object documentation, research and writing.  Primary responsibilities include object research, drafting object acquisition proposals, exhibition maintenance, assisting the Curator with research and writing for a book on the material culture of African American music, providing support for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap project, working with NMAAHC’s archivist in processing music-related archives and developing content for digital media platforms.  Other projects may be assigned as necessary   Intern will also be invited to take part in meetings with the Curator of Music and Performing Arts and other museum staff.  The ideal candidate will have an interest in museum work, scholarly background in African American music, and strong research and writing skills.  The ability to read music and familiarity with Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, is a plus.

Internship Experiences:

  • Gain knowledge and training on how to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information database
  • Build collections information research and management skills
  • Draft and edit texts relating to collections, exhibitions and publications
  • Support communications regarding potential object donations and collection inquiries
  • Gain experience with object handling
  • Conduct research needed to enhance collection records
  • Draft object acquisition proposals
  • Create collection inventories
  • Experience with writing interpretive material for general audiences by writing photo captions, exhibit labels, collection stories or blog posts
  • Gain experience with exhibition maintenance and tasks of archival processing

Oral History Internship

This internship would provide critical support for the Oral History program. The coordinator of the Oral History program would mentor the intern on reviewing recordings from our Reflections Booths, maintaining records, conducting background research for interviews, creating logs, and reviewing transcripts. The Oral History Intern will learn how to plan and organize an oral history project from conception to implementation, including research, developing questions, contacting interviewees, and gathering metadata. This internship offers a stipend. 

Internship Experiences: 

  • Review Reflection Booth Recordings
  • Create research packets on potential interviewees
  • Write interview descriptions and biographical summaries
  • Create interview logs
  • Review transcripts

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, as NMAAHC currently has the most active members of any Smithsonian 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
  • Implement efficient communication to repetitive inquiries
  • Monitor inventory of promotional materials to ensure stock
  • Attend bimonthly 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

Research Assistant Internship

The Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) focuses its work on the diversification and professional development of the museum workforce as well as provide support and resources to build organizational capacity among its sister institutions to sustain and grow all those African American and African diaspora organizations who also share and preserve African American history and culture.

Seeking a Research Assistant Intern to assist in the development of educational content for a geo location App, Next Exit History, designed to link the public to historic institutions. The Intern will research African American and African Diaspora Museums within the U.S. to assist in the development of a series of scripts that link to themes represented in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The ideal candidate will have some knowledge of African American and African Diaspora museums within the U.S., a strong background in research, excellent writing and communication skills. The intern will gain experience working with the Next Exit History App, interact with a cross-departmental team to include subject matter expertise in partnerships, curatorial, information technology, and communications. This internship offers a stipend.

Internship Experiences: 

  • Identify African American and African Diaspora Museums and Historic Sites in the Washington, DC and Jackson, Mississippi regions
  • Identify themes within identified museums
  • Conduct research within the National Museum and its online resources to identify programmatic themes
  • Participate in cross-departmental Work Group meetings
  • Contact museums and historical sites for data collection purposes
  • Assist in the development of scripts for use with the geo-location App, Next Exit History
  • Participate in the writing and editing process of all scripts for online publication

 

Digital Assets & Multimedia Research Assistant

The Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) focuses its work on the diversification and professional development of the museum workforce as well as provide support and resources to build organizational capacity among its sister institutions to sustain and grow all those African American and African diaspora organizations who also share and preserve African American history and culture.

Seeking a Digital Asset Research Assistant to assist in the development of multi-media content and administration of digital assets for use in OSP’s collaborative initiatives. The Intern will research African American and African Diaspora Museums within the U.S. and abroad, to assist in the enhancement of subsequent programming. The ideal candidate will have some knowledge of African American and African Diaspora museums within the U.S., a strong background in research, content creation, multimedia integration as well as highly proficient written and verbal communication skills.  This internship offers a stipend.

Intern Experiences:

  • Identify and update the global directory of African American and African Diaspora Museums and Historic Sites in the United States and Caribbean
  • Migrate static data into digital formats and datasets for use by OSP staff
  • Conduct research within the National Museum and its online resources to inform content creation and programmatic themes
  • Interact with a cross-departmental team to include subject matter experts in museum administration, partnership development, information technology, public relations, and communications
  • Contact museums and historical sites for data collection purposes
  • Assist in the development of training workshops for national museum conferences
  • Participate in the writing and editing process of publishing data online
  • Gain experience working with the content management software and website programming
  • Learn insightful strategies for cultivating institutional collaborations through hands-on planning and program coordination

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.