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, see details in the opportunities tab below. 

Oral History Internship

Learning opportunities include maintaining records, conducting background research for interviews, scheduling interviews, creating logs, some transcribing and reviewing transcripts, writing biographical statements and interview summaries. The staff mentor will train the oral history intern on all these things including how to develop questions and how to conduct an oral history interview.

Internship experiences:

  • Maintain records

  • Conduct historical and biographical research

  • Create interview logs (indexes)

  • Transcribe interviews

  • Review transcripts

  • Conduct preliminary interviews

  • Schedule interviews

  • Write biographical statements and interview summaries

NMAAHC Public Affairs Internship

The Public Affairs intern will learn about best practices for marketing, public relations and media outreach.The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the largest national museum for the study and exhibition of African American history and culture. Its primary purposes are to acquire, maintain and preserve objects which document social, cultural, political, military, technological and scientific developments in the United States related to the African American experience; to conduct scholarly research designed to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in the field of African American history, to publish findings for both scholarly and general audiences; and to interpret historical developments through public exhibits and programs as well as digital content. It is located in the Office of Public Affairs, Communications and Marketing at the NMAAHC. The internship is part time for 15 -20 hours per week. 

Internship experiences:

  • Mentorship on executing marketing, public relations and media outreach strategies for the NMAAHC and its programs and initiatives

  • Assisting with print, broadcast and digital marketing and promotional campaigns

  • Drafting press materials

  • Pitching media outlets

  • Building media databases

  • Maintaining photo and video archives

Theater Operations Internship

The theater operations intern will learn about and gain experience with technical operations of sound,lights, and video. The theater team will mentor the intern on program planning and development. Training will be provided by staff mentor with a professional lighting console, audio console, digital cinema projection, film projection, theatrical and AV video playback systems, video recording and webcasting, in addition to editing, post production skills. Customer service skills preferred.

Internship experiences: 

  • Assist with program planning and development

  • Assist with front of house duties and ushering

  • Assist with stage management

  • Assist with technical operations on stage

  • Assist with technical operations in the control booth

  • Assist with maintenance.

  • Assist with reporting

  • Assist with inventory control and organization

Membership Internship

The intern will be mentored by the membership team learning the operations and best practices of a large membership program.  The intern would learn appropriate communications, coordinating large scale individual replies, processing online ticketing requests, in-person outreach to guests to the Museum, web content management system Druple, how to use constituent data base Advance aka PANDA, creative research for an online quiz, and network with other SI units.

Internship experiences: 

  • Standardize replies to repeat queries both email and written

  • Input and email out ticket request

  • Work 8 hours a week in the museum with in-person ipad membership sign up / email sign up

  • Learn Druple to make web updates

  • Learn PANDA/Advance to perform look ups and update bio info

  • Draft an online quiz to collect email addresses

  • Network with other SI units

Digitization Internship

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is seeking an intern supported by the Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. The NMAAHC 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 NMAAHC staff.

Contribute significantly to the creation, management, and distribution of the NMAAHC’s digital image assets and gain a thorough understanding about the integration of digital assets into various Smithsonian computer systems. 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 12-week program, the intern will have completed a comprehensive project that will enrich their portfolios, resumes, and understanding of initiatives undertaken at the NMAAHC to further the Smithsonian’s Digitization Strategic Plan. Prior experience in digitization is not required.

Spring internships are 12 weeks, part-time (20-24 hours per week), and paid a stipend of $300 - $360 per week.

Internship experiences:

  • TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database

  • Cataloging

  • Collections information research and management

  • Object handling

  • Digital imaging and content management

  • Digital asset management skills

Digital Video Internship

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is seeking an intern supported by the Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. The NMAAHC 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 NMAAHC staff.

Create videos to tell engaging stories using the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s archival footage and collections. The selected intern will produce 3-5 unique videos using archival film footage, museum collection images, and interviews with museum staff, in addition to producing other video products for use across digital platforms. Applicants should have some experience with video and social media.

Spring internships are 12 weeks, part-time (20-24 hours per week), and paid a stipend of $300 - $360 per week.

Internship experiences:

  • Video production skills

  • Social media marketing

  • Video production tools

  • Audience segmentation

  • Using archives and primary sources for research

  • Digital learning tools for education

Ambassadors Program Internship

Introduced in 2012 to galvanize the enthusiasm and resources of Millennials and Gen Xers, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Ambassadors Program is a customized giving circle designed for emerging and seasoned leaders who promote philanthropy and service in the interest of the Museum. Ambassadors sustain the vision and mission of the Museum by providing a commitment of $5,000 to $24,999, as well as helping to engage their own personal, professional and social circles. This internship will be an opportunity to work with external affairs staff in the Office of Council Relations and Special Initiatives to help grow and steward this groundbreaking program. The individual in this role will learn best practices in stewarding existing donors in person at special events, and through email and phone correspondence. He or she will also learn or refine their skills in curating and designing newsletters. He or she will learn best practices in preparation and execution of advisory council meetings and best strategies used in growing and maintaining social media (LinkedIn) activity specifically for donors. This internship also includes an opportunity to take the lead (under mentorship) in designing, preparing and executing one donor hosted event. This internship offers a stipend. 
 
Internship experiences:
 
  • Stewarding existing individuals in the Ambassador Program in person at special events, and through email and phone correspondence.

  • Curating and designing Ambassador email updates to be shared with entire program of approximately 950 individuals.

  • Leading the design, preparation and execution of one (1) Ambassador hosted event, under the mentorship of the Assistant Director and Senior Program Manager of Council Relations and Special Initiatives.

  • Maintaining and monitoring the Ambassador social media platform (LinkedIn) that helps connect Ambassadors across the nation.

  • Participate in 2-3 one-on-one meetings with key leadership for the person who assumes this position to further their exposure and deepen their educational experience.

Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) Internship

This internship is with the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA). The intern will be mentored by Dr. Rhea L. Combs, supervisory curator of photography & film and Head of CAAMA, and the center's museum specialist. The team will mentor the CAAMA intern on providing support for public programming, film festival planning, filmmaker oral histories, and other general research related to film and photography. The intern will learn about the full range of media production by African Americans or related to the African American experience, as well as the planning and execution of film-related public programming. This internship offers a stipend. 

Internship experiences: 

  • Review/Catalogue film submissions for film festival

  • Assist with preparation of screeners for jurors

  • Help field general inquiries about the festival

  • Assist with cataloguing recorded public programs, transcriptions from programs, and preparation of videos for website.

  • Assist with CAAMA public programming at the museum, by providing additional support for program execution.

  • Assist with filmmaker oral histories 

  • Assist with editing sizzle reels, as needed, for presentations about our collection.

 
 

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.