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. Internship projects are based upon the need and availability of professional staff.

When applying via SOLAA, please mention the specific opportunity that interests you in your application essay. Learn about the application process

Summer 2017 Robert Frederick Smith Internship – Collection Information Management

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 to assist the NMAAHC Digitization Team with a variety of collection information and cataloging projects. 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 digital imaging, digital media preservation, digital content management and/or collection information management staff at the NMAAHC. The internship includes a stipend.

This Robert Frederick Smith Internship focuses on collection information management, including cataloging museum collection objects and working on collection information system database records. The intern will assist the Digitization Team with object and constituent record cataloging and object handling and enhance his or her research, cataloging, and database skills.

Internship experiences:

  • Extensive training in the use of the TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database
  • Utilizing NMAAHC cataloging standards to work on collection records
  • Conducting any research needed to create/enhance collection records
  • Creating collection inventories
  • Re-housing objects as needed
  • Photographing objects as needed
  • Working with digital assets in multiple platforms

Additional experiences include attending team meetings, writing a collection story or blog post, assisting with the Transcription Center project, and performing other tasks as needed.

Summer 2017 Robert Frederick Smith Internship – Publication Support and Digital Imaging

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 to assist the NMAAHC Digitization Team with a variety of digitization and publication projects. 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 digital imaging, digital media preservation, digital content management and/or collection information management staff at the NMAAHC. The internship includes a stipend.

This Robert Frederick Smith Internship focuses on a variety of publication and digital imaging projects. The intern will assist the Digitization Team and learn about NMAAHC’s collection through research for and editing of online and print publications as well as how a museum photography studio functions in order to provide high-quality images of collection objects.

Internship experiences:

  • Training in the use of the TMS (The Museum System) collection information system database 
  • Creating biographical records for online and print publications and adding them to TMS collection records
  • Assisting with editing and reviewing online and print publications
  • Re-housing objects as needed
  • Working with photographers and digital imaging specialists to learn basic photography studio operations
  • Working with digital assets in multiple platforms

Additional duties include attending team meetings, writing a collection story or blog post, assisting with large-scale digitization projects, and other tasks as needed.

Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) Internship

The intern will assist in research and organization for two upcoming exhibits on photography for the changing exhibition space in the Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA). CAAMA is dedicated to collecting and showcasing photography, film, video, and audio recordings as a prism to explore African American history and culture. The first exhibition, Everyday Beauty uses photography to highlight themes of self-representation, social responsibility, and resilience over a 100-year period in African American life. The second exhibition, which is still being developed, will highlight the images and style of photographer Jamel Shabazz. By assisting with these two exhibits, the intern will learn about basic curatorial work including exhibition development, research, writing, and installation. Knowledge or coursework in the history of early 20th-century art, photography, and/or African American history and art is preferred.

Internship experiences:

  • Assemble reference materials
  • Maintain and/or create picture files, bibliographies, and chronologies
  • Establish and update research files
  • Conduct research on selected topic, including picture research at the Library of Congress
  • Draft exhibition text
  • Perform administrative tasks relating to the exhibition 
  • Aid with storage and care of the permanent collection as needed

Oral History Internship

The intern would provide critical support for the oral history program. Duties would include maintaining records, conducting background research for interviews, scheduling interviews, creating logs, some transcribing and reviewing transcripts, writing biographical statements and interview summaries. Intern would be trained to do all of 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

Social Media Internship

The intern will work with staff, fellow interns, guest bloggers, and others to research, write, and edit,  social media content for the museum.

Internship experiences: 

As part of the Digital Internship Program, the intern will have the opportunity to further develop skills in order to:

  • Ensure that social media content is posted according to predetermined schedule
  • Build an archive of pre-used content and themes
  • Help plan new content and themes around museum's opening
  • Interact with museum audiences across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat
  • Respond to questions/queries, comments on relevant topics and builds a FAQs for social media document
  • Chart which topics generate the most engagement by conducting a/b testing
  • Produce writing and multimedia products that meet the high quality standards of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Learn new technical skills as the new media landscape evolves
  • Become familiar with museum education practices, how museums work, and how this translates to online learning
  • Interface effectively with many kinds of Museum staff including curators, educators, exhibition designers, and others
  • Think strategically about museum messages and educational approaches

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.