Archival Science

Archival Internship Opportunities

The Archives Center has opportunities for fall, spring, and summer internships. Interns undertake projects involving preparation of collections for research use and dissemination of collections information through print and electronic media. The project will entail processing—arrangement description, and re-housing materials—as well as cataloging archival collections.


The selected candidate may negotiate their work schedule, but 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.

Interns assist in arranging and describing archival collections documenting primarily 19th- and 20th-century American music, material and pop culture, business, and technology. They may also serve as reference room assistants.

Work can include any of the following activities:

  • Understand, identify, arrange, describe, and categorize archival collections
  • Research and interpret archives
  • Catalog archival collections
  • Create finding aids and/or inventories to collections
  • Build custom enclosures such as boxes, sink mats, and phase boxes
  • Digitalizing photographs and other documents and managing digital assets
  • Assist researchers; receive or reshelf collection materials
  • Entering data onto datasheets and into databases
  • Researching, designing, and preparing small exhibits
  • Assisting with tours of the Archives Center
  • Providing administrative and organizational support
  • Degree or expected degree in history or library science preferred
  • Archival experience, word processing, and database skills useful
Lemelson Center Archival Internship

The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, offers a full time, ten week, archival internship opportunity for graduate students each summer. The internship stipend is $5,000. Housing, benefits and transportation are not provided.


Internships are located in the Museum's Archives Center, a manuscripts and special collections repository with more than 20,000 feet of holdings in a wide range of subject areas and a full time staff of nine. Interns must be enrolled in a graduate degree program and have completed graduate course work in archival, library, or information management, and/or graduate course work in American history, American Studies, Museum Studies, Public History, or another area that relates to the history of invention and innovation in American society. Recent graduates may also apply.

Applicants must apply through the Smithsonian online application system
Complete applications must include the following:
  • Internship Program application form
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
  • Cover letter
  • Essay
  • Two letters of reference
Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the FAQ when completing this application.
The application process for the 2010 Lemelson Center Archival Internship Program is closed. All applicant packages have been reviewed and one strong candidate was selected. Competition for the program was rigorous. All materials must be submitted to the online application system by 14 February 2011 for consideration. Offers will be made by 4 April 2011. Internships begin on or after 6 June 2011. 
For further information, consult the FAQ or contact Alison L. Oswald, Archivist, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Archives Center, Room 1100, MRC 601, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012; Phone (202) 633-3726; Fax (202) 786-2453; Email