Internship FAQs

Do I have to know exactly what I want to do?

NO. The Intern Manager will work with you to help clarify projects appropriate to what you want to learn.

How much time does an internship take?

An internship requires at least 20 hours per week for 8 weeks. Some interns choose to devote more hours (up to 40 hours per week) or stay for longer periods of time (from 3 months to 1 year). Your choices depend on whether there is an appropriate project that coincides with what you want to learn and whether the staff is available to work with you.

Are there deadlines for applications?

YES. There are three placement periods throughout the year:

- Spring (January - May) Deadline: October 15th
- Summer (June - August) Deadline: February 1st
- Fall (September - December) Deadline: July 1st

Please note: we do not accept rolling applications.

Can I explore more than one topic or skill?

YES. Upon completion of your first assignment, you are welcome to stay longer than eight weeks and seek out another internship, as long as staff is available to work with you.

Who may apply?

Most interns are either upperclass undergraduate or graduate students from colleges and universities around the world, but student status is not required. The Museum welcomes diversity in age, occupation, nationality, and background within its intern population. Projects are not generally appropriate for high school students.

Do I need to have a specific academic major in order to get an internship?

NO. Because the NMAH has such diverse collections and exhibits, individuals with many different backgrounds and interests have had successful, productive internships at the Museum. The total work of the Museum requires more than an understanding of history or American studies. Take a moment to explore the Museum Web site and you will see a variety of exhibits and programs that encompass a wide range of disciplines, including graphic design, medicine, communications, physical sciences, and music. Intern applicants often overlook important museum support positions as well, from administration to information technology to the library and archives. Finally, in an institution founded "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men," there are many opportunities for those interested in education to work with children of all ages in the Museum’s public programs.

I'm not a history major! Are there internship opportunities for me?

While many of the Museum’s interns are history or museum studies majors, students with different backgrounds can also find meaningful internships. As expected from a place nicknamed the Nation’s Attic, the Museum houses varied collections that need the expertise of a diverse staff.

For example, the Museum has extensive mathematics and science collections. Staff members working on these collections welcome students to conduct research, assist in preparing exhibitions, describe and document artifacts, and help with a variety of other curatorial activities. Learn more about our collections or about our curatorial internships.

Math and science majors also enjoy working in the museum's science collections. See divisions of Information Technology and Communications and Medicine and Science for more information on these collections.

Graphic design students and music majors find projects that draw on and expand their skills. Communications, business, and public relations students perform rewarding work in our management offices.

This Web site describes other opportunities beyond those targeted for history and museum studies students. We hope that you will read this Web site carefully to see what opportunities exist for you!

Can I get college credit for my internship?

The museum does not award college credit itself, but most U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning at the museum. Contact your school’s registrar or career planning office for more information.

Will I get paid for my internship?

Because of limited funding, most internships at the Museum are volunteer positions. Many interns limit their hours at the Museum and find part-time jobs around D.C. to pay for food and housing. Stipends are available for a limited number of internships through the Smithsonian's Office of Fellowships. (202-633-7070)

Where can I stay during my internship?

See the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships' Tips for Finding Housing.

How can I get more information?

For more information, contact:

Omar Eaton-Martínez, Internship & Fellowship Manager 
National Museum of American History
MRC 605
P.O. Box 37012 
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: (202) 633-3556 
Fax: (202) 786-2851 
E-mail: Please use the contact form