Curatorial Projects

Curatorial interns work alongside professional staff in the Museum's Department of History. The department's research and collections document the breadth, depth, and complexity of the American people, from social, political, military, and cultural history to the history of science, medicine, and technology. Research sources include historical objects, oral histories, prints, photographs, and archives. Outside sources may include the Library of Congress, the National Archives, historical societies, and other government records. Interns will have opportunities to work on a variety of projects which may include research, exhibition, and/or collections-related activities, depending on the nature of the assignment.


Examples of duties include any combination of the following activities:

  • Photograph, describe, and document artifacts
  • Assist with scholarly historical research for use in Museum publications, exhibitions, and public programs, using Museum and outside sources
  • Respond to public inquiries
  • Determine the provenance of artifacts
  • Create and maintain databases of the collections
  • Write finding aids and organizing guides
  • Assist with accessioning, cataloging, numbering, and housing objects in the collections
  • Assist with care and basic conservation of objects in the collections
  • Review concept documents for exhibition development
  • Prepare materials for fund-raising purposes

A variety of skills are needed and can include any of the following:

  • Knowledge of American history
  • Knowledge of standard office computer skills, including database software and word processing
  • Library research skills
  • Some experience with object handing, accessioning, or preservation
  • Some experience with exhibition development
  • Ability to work independently and on detailed tasks
  • Mathematical or science background for work on certain collections (history of physics, mathematics, transportation, medicine, etc.)


The Associate Director’s Office for Curatorial Affairs provides leadership through management of staff and museum resources. The Office is chiefly responsible for overview and implementation of executive strategic initiatives that impact office functions including collection stewardship, exhibition development, and management of other curatorial assets. Past interns have worked on staff management resources and training, programs for collaborative exhibition projects and research, and the creation of innovative development programs to support all curatorial work.