Upcoming Internship Opportunities

The museum offers interns of different backgrounds incredible opportunities in a variety of fields. These opportunities may change based on the availability of projects in order to ensure meaningful education experiences for all interns. Check out the information below to learn more about upcoming internship opportunities available at the National Museum of American History!

Collections Management Internship: Elliott Erwitt Collection

Office of Communications and Marketing/Public Affairs Internship

Diversity and Inclusion Council Intern

Development Internship

Archives Center Internship: Digital Assets

Special Events Internship

Spark!Lab Internship

PK-12 Education and Outreach Internship

Program in Latino History and Civic Engagement Internship

Archives Center Internship


Collections Management Internship: Elliott Erwitt Collection

The Photographic History Collection is seeking a Spring 2019 intern to research, catalog and digitize the Elliott Erwitt Collection. The intern will also be asked to research the copyright status for the photographs in the collection, working with Magnum Photos or the photographer himself to resolve any questions or issues.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to teach intern museum cataloging and digitization methods, rehousing and preservation of collection objects, how to research and resolve copyright status of collection objects.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • Properly catalog photographic collection items
  • Discuss ideal preservation practices for modern photographs
  • Hone research skills

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Handle museum objects on a daily basis
  • Learn Mimsy XG
  • Work with specialized scanner/photographic equipment

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Seeking experience in collections management practices
  • Knowledge of photographic history
  • Experience using scanners, digital cameras (Hasselblad preferred) and Photoshop software

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship will take place in Spring 2019. This internship will be full time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Office of Communications and Marketing/Public Affairs Internship

The National Museum of American History Office of Communications and Marketing ensures that museum maintains a positive relationship with the community and members of the press. Daily activities include responding to all incoming media queries; develops strategies for effective proactive information about museum activities; coordinates documentary film crews, approves outside media releases by agencies/donors, approves advertisements promoting exhibitions and public programs and handles any crisis issues. Among the events that communications and marketing stages are press previews, press conferences, exhibition dedication ceremonies, donation ceremonies (usually involving objects and sometimes celebrity donors) and press luncheons. Coming up we will be preparing for donations, exhibition openings, and doing a lot of filming at the museum. We are a small office with four full time employees and so we rely heavily on interns who generally have projects of their own to promote start to finish. For example, if a notable musician is willing to donate something to the museum, an intern might be asked to research and create a background on the musician and object being donated, speak with curators at the museum, work with the special events office on the donation ceremony schedule, and caption the pictures taken at the event. In addition, interns assist the office with daily operations: researching and responding to media and public inquiries, compiling media clips, researching and writing calendar submissions, media advisories and releases and some other things that come up. Our office relies on interns to assist with daily operations like: researching and responding to media and public queries, compiling media clips, writing media advisories and press releases, and researching and writing calendar submissions. Interns are given the opportunity to come up with ideas on how the Museum can continue to remain one of the most visited museums in the world. The office also facilitates all interviews with the director and curators and is responsible for coordinating and scheduling all media, documentary and commercial film crews. An internship in the Office of Communications and Marketing is not only a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in those areas, but also those interested in event planning, public affairs, and museum studies. During the internship you will learn how to write and cite according to AP stylebook, how to draft and create media advisories, press releases and event show flows, and how to effectively communicate with the public and media. Your writing will become concise as you raise awareness for museum exhibitions and events. Due to the nature of the work, interns will explore much of the museum as they research for media releases and advisories. Working in our office rewards interns with professional skills in a friendly environment that promotes creative ideas and fosters professional growth.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to propose creative ideas and contribute to the Office of Communications and Marketing. The intern will gain insight into the inner workings and aspects of the Office of Communications and Marketing in the National Museum of American History. When the internship is completed, the intern will have and understanding about the field of public relations and ideally be prepared for to seek a position in the communications field.   Interns will develop verbal, written, and professional skills and understand what makes compelling news.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • The intern will gain experience working in an active communications and marketing office and learn how to promote the Smithsonian and its work to the public and media
  • Improve writing skills through a variety of communication mediums (press materials, marketing materials and web content)
  • Learn what makes a story news worthy and how to tailor stories to relevant news outlets

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Research and respond to media and public inquiries
  • Compile media clips
  • Draft and edit media advisories and press releases
  • Research and write calendar submissions
  • Attend special events
  • Draft statements
  • Oversee film and news crews

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Enthusiastic about communications and marketing with excellent research and writing skills
  • Professional demeanor, organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and complete assigned tasks within identified timeframes

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship takes place during every internship cycle--spring, summer, or fall. This internship can be part time or full time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Diversity and Inclusion Council Intern

The Diversity and Inclusion Council Internship will provide interns skills and knowledge about issues of inclusion and diversity in a museum setting. It provides an opportunity to learn about the function of a council in a major museum, strategies for inclusion, and how to archive and organize the work of the council.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to provide an opportunity for an intern to learn about cultural institution practices and contribute to the Diversity & Inclusion Council at NMAH.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • Research and discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in cultural institutions around the US
  • Draft and pitch museum policy proposals regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Apply cultural institution practices in their future career

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Schedule and attend meetings, take notes and compile information
  • Identify and write short announcements for the Museum intranet
  • Organize and keep archives of the council

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Interested in diversity, equity, and inclusions in cultural institutions
  • Some background with research
  • Good organizational skills

Audience: This internship can both be generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field and specialized for individuals who already have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 3-4 interns.

Timeline: This internship will take place in Spring 2019. This internship can be full time or part time.

Financial Information: This internship does provide a $6,000 stipend.


Development Internship

The Development Office manages a robust philanthropy program that creates meaningful experiences for members and donors while raising funds to sustain core museum activities including exhibitions, education initiatives, public programs, conservation projects, capital projects, and more. The office is responsible for fundraising by identifying, securing, and stewarding financial support from individuals (trustees, major donors, and members) and institutions (foundations, government agencies, and corporations). The interns report to the Manager of Annual Giving, but will work closely with all development managers to learn different aspects of fundraising and development, while supporting the team in meeting its goals. Interns will learn about membership, major giving and personal philanthropy, assist with gift acknowledgements, special projects, and events, and help advance the process for individual and institutional donors and prospects.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to educate the intern on what it means to work in development for a major museum.  They will learn how we cultivate donors and raise money for various projects.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • Prospect research techniques
  • Conduct a mail merge 
  • Cultivate donor stewardship

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Prospect identification, such as online research and creating in-depth donor profiles
  • Manage and process mailings for the Smithsonian Council for American History, a membership program for donors of $1,000 - $25,000, and the Director’s Fund for Annual Giving, a program for donor of $50-$500.
  • Assist with donor tours, donor meetings, membership/major gift events, Museum-wide events
  • Create and manage invitation and mailing lists for VIP events
  • Draft fundraising materials, such as proposals, blog posts, e-solicitations, or talking points for donor tours
  •  Assist with data processing and mailings

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Interest in development 
  • Arts or nonprofit background
  • Experience working in an office 

Audience: This internship is specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship takes place during every internship cycle--spring, summer, or fall. This internship is full time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Archives Center Internship: Digital Assets

The Digital Asset intern will help prepare the Archives Center’s digital images for upload to the Smithsonian Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) by creating or editing the images embedded metadata to comply with Archives Center standards. Intern will use Photoshop or Bridge, renaming some image files to current naming schema; creating or editing MARC records including image links for public display in SOVA (Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives) and creating digital objects and links in ArchivesSpace. Training provided. Attention to detail required.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to help prepare the Archives Center’s digital images for upload to the Smithsonian Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) and make assets available publicly.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • Better understand metadata
  • Better understand digital curation
  • Better understand various collections management systems

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Work collaboratively and independently
  • Follow detailed instructions
  • Understand digital workflows

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Attention to detail
  • Interest in digital curation
  • Willingness to learn multiple collections management systems

Audience: This internship is specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship will take place in Spring 2019, ideally for 10 weeks. This internship can be full time or part time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Special Events Internship

The Office of Special Events plans and coordinates over 100 events each year including: exhibition openings, press conferences, donation ceremonies, staff receptions, donor cultivation events, and corporate dinners and receptions. The office is characterized by a busy but proactive environment that strives to forward the goals of the Smithsonian Institution by connecting with the community and public at large. We offer an unparalleled opportunity for students/individuals interested in event planning and coordinating to delve into the museum environment and gain hands-on skills from a highly esteemed workplace. Our interns are given a great deal of responsibility and permitted the chance to develop their writing skills, interact with museum officials, work with caterers and vendors, and staff numerous special events. As an intern, you will be exposed to the nuances of protocol and frequently accompany staff members for on-site visits with potential donors and walk-throughs with clients and vendors.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to assist students in developing the skills necessary to plan and execute events.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:

  • Summarize the necessary steps to execute an event at NMAH
  • Produce documentation and memoranda for events
  • Develop problem solving and time management skills

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Assist in the coordination and execution of receptions, dinners, conferences, donation ceremonies, and other special events at the Museum
  • Manage the museum-wide special events and conference room calendar
  • Interact and communicate with museum staff, vendors, event attendees, and members of the public

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Junior, Senior, or Graduate Student
  • Communication skills, both oral and written
  • Availability to work events including nights and some weekends

Audience: This internship can both be generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field and specialized for individuals who already have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship takes place during every internship cycle--spring, summer, or fall. This internship can be part time or full time.

Financial Information: This internship does provide a $500 stipend to offset transportation costs.


Spark!Lab Internship

The Draper Spark!Lab is an interactive space for kids (and adults) to explore the process of invention! Spark!Lab is part of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). To learn more, visit http://www.invention.si.edu.

The Spark!Lab Interns will work under the guidance of the Lemelson Center’s Museum Program Specialist to assess and enhance the visitor experience in Spark!Lab, and develop inquiry based facilitation best practices for informal learning spaces. Interns will learn the methods and practice of museum education by facilitating inquiry-based activities in Spark!Lab. Interns will also learn a wide range of approaches to developing and evaluating programs for museum visitors. Interns will be integral to the Spark!Lab team, and will work alongside staff and volunteer docents. Through their work, Spark!Lab Interns will build relationships with thousands of our visitors and spark conversation in order to engage them in the invention process.

Interns also will have the opportunity to visit and learn about other education spaces across the Smithsonian, will be invited to participate in Lemelson Center team meetings, public programs, and other events, and will have opportunities to engage with fellow interns and staff of the Office of Audience Engagement at the National Museum of American History.

Students of all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply. Ideal candidates will be flexible, self-starters with experience working with the public or in customer service/visitor services, a passion for inspiring learning in others, and an enthusiasm for working in a public-facing, educational environment.

Goal: Overall, the Spark!Lab Interns will learn under the guidance of the Lemelson Center’s Museum Program Specialist to assess and enhance the visitor experience in Spark!Lab, and develop inquiry based facilitation best practices for informal learning spaces.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will learn:

  • the methods and practice of museum education by applying inquiry-based interpersonal facilitation strategies to hands-on invention activities in Spark!Lab and practice collaborative, social learning
  • first-hand how hands-on activity spaces operate in a large museum and develop the behind-the-scenes expertise needed to create and programs for museum visitors Hone research skills
  • to assess and evaluate activities, and to identify ways to improve the overall Spark!Lab experience

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Work on the floor to help facilitate hands-on invention activities and experiences for visitors, particularly children ages 6-12 and their families
  • Help staff implement new techniques, tips, and strategies (as mentioned above) by testing them on the floor and actively facilitating visitor experiences. The intern will be expected to keep a record of reflective feedback and critique the "pilot methods," tweaking them and changing them to find efficient and effective models
  • Develop an individual Spark!Lab project, which could include drafting ideas and strategies to improve volunteer engagement, researching and developing a new hands-on activity, creating an activity facilitation guide, developing and conducting an evaluation on an existing activity, or developing a special program to take place in Spark!Lab

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Experience working with the public or in customer service/visitor services. 
  • Passion for education and inspiring learning in others
  • Enthusiasm for working in a public-facing, educational environment.

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship will take place in Spring 2019. This internship can be full-time or part-time.

Financial Information: This internship will provide a one-time $200 stipend to offset transportation costs for interns.


PK-12 Education and Outreach Internship

As an Education and Impact Intern, one will have an opportunity to help local and national students, teachers and families connect to and use history in a meaningful way through the NMAH collections. The internship will introduce the student to museum education best practices and provide plenty of opportunities to develop the skills and techniques necessary to work with teachers, families and PK – 12 students. In this role, the intern will gain experience in developing lesson plans, online resources, museum programs and field trip experiences through opportunities to work closely with a variety of age groups. The intern will support the PK-12 Education and Outreach team in developing object-based resources and implementing museum experiences for teachers and students of all ages.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to introduce the student to museum education best practices and provide plenty of opportunities to develop the skills and techniques necessary to work with teachers, families and PK – 12 students.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will:

  • Become familiar with and incorporate best practices for museum education.
  • Develop skills to create object-based lesson plans, online learning resources for students and teachers, and in-museum experiences.  
  • Strengthen their ability to evaluate programs and learning resources through qualitative and quantitative methods.

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Assist with the design of updated elements (games, assignments, activities, etc.) for museum educators to incorporate into Let's Do History workshops. 
  • Create Learning Lab collections that support current K-12 Education projects including the Becoming Us curriculum, the National Youth Summit, and the museum's historic decisions discussion guides.
  • Design museum tours for middle school and high school students and/or evaluate workshops, online resources and/or in-museum experiences.

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Interest in learning best practices for museum education. 
  • Ability to evaluate programs and reflect on execution to improve museum offerings.
  • Classroom experience in diverse setting.

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship will take place in Spring 2019. This internship is part-time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Program in Latino History and Civic Engagement Internship

During this internship, interns will learn through participating in multiple projects about Latino history and civic engagement, maximizing the opportunity to acquire new skills and make a greater contribution. One project is the “Interactive Cart on Latino Immigration,” through which interns will facilitate conversations with the public about the objects in the carts, make connection to the visitors own family immigration experiences and facilitate learning about the rich diversity of immigrant communities. Another project is the Civic Engagement project, through which interns will assist in producing proposals to support naturalization ceremonies, citizenship seminars, and create new teaching resources for new citizens as well as plan and produce voter registration drives in the museum and compile voter registration resources. Interns will be under the supervision of Magdalena Mieri in the Office of Audience Engagement at the National Museum of American History. 

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to teach interns how to increase awareness of Latino history and improve citizenship participation.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will:

  • learn how a museum operates, including its many functions.
  • learn how to do research using museum collections
  • further critical thinking skills

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • learn and facilitate the museum’s “Interactive Cart on Latino Immigration,” which involves interacting and connecting with the public
  • produce proposals to support civic engagement
  • behave professionally 
  • communicate clearly and participate in meetings
  • produce good work

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • bilingual skills English/Spanish
  • pursuing or received a BA or BS in history, cultural anthropology, Spanish, English
  • self-motivated

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship takes place during every internship cycle--spring, summer, or fall. This internship can be part time or full time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Archives Center Internship

During this internship, the intern’s primary duty will be to assist Archives Center reference staff in varied aspects of reference service, including: answering public inquiries by telephone, e-mail, and in person, performing background research as needed; taking charge of the reference room during brief absences of the regular staff, assisting researchers as needed, and assisting staff in paging and re-shelving collection materials. Other duties as assigned may include scanning archival materials and assisting the AC staff with archival processing.  Training provided.  Attention to detail required.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to teach interns the skills required in varied aspects of reference service and to learn from Archives Center reference staff.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will:

  • better understand how to analyze a reference inquiry
  • better understand how to locate information using a variety of systems
  • better interact with people and provide the excellent customer service

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • work collaboratively and independently
  • follow detailed instructions
  • be flexible 
  • answer public inquiries by telephone, e-mail, and in person
  • perform background research as needed
  • take charge of the reference room during brief absences of the regular staff, assisting researchers as needed, and assisting staff in paging and re-shelving collection materials

Ideal Qualifications: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • attention to detail
  • interest in working with researchers
  • willingness to learn multiple collections management systems

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1-2 interns.

Timeline: This internship takes place during every internship cycle--spring, summer, or fall. This internship can be part time or full time.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Didn’t find what you’re looking for? You can check out the General Application Pools at NMAH!

Additionally, if you’re interested in internship opportunities at other museums and research centers at the Smithsonian as well as more general Smithsonian internships, please visit the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships.