Internship Program

Three men, two are sitting at a table reading magazines and one man is  looking on from a library at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp  in Utah.

The Archives Center offers opportunities for fall, spring, and summer internships.  Intern projects involve processing (arrangement, description, and re-housing archival collections), digitizing, cataloging and providing reference assistance to on-site and remote researchers. Broadly, all interns contribute to the Archives Center program by preparing collections for research use, disseminating information about the collections through print and electronic media, or working directly with patrons.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many internships are awarded?
The number of interns fluctuates depending on the time of the year and project and staff availability.

2. How much time does the archival internship require?

Internships require at least 20 hours per week for eight weeks. Some interns choose to devote more hours (up to 40 hours per week) or stay for longer periods of time (from three months to one 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. Start and end dates can be negotiated.

3. Are there deadlines?

Yes, there are three cycles throughout the year for the NMAH general internship pool. See the National Museum of American History Internship Program website for deadline details. 

  • Summer (June-August) 
  • Fall (September-December) 
  • Spring (January-May) 

4. What supporting application materials are required?

Applicants should submit an application through the Smithsonian Institution’s Online Academic Appointment System. (SOLAA)

6. Who can apply?

Most interns are either undergraduate or graduate students from colleges and universities around the world, but student status is not required. The Museum welcomes diversity in all respects, including but not limited to age, occupation, nationality, and background, within its intern population. 

If you are applying for the Lemelson Center Archival Internship you must be enrolled in an academic program or be able to provide proof of acceptance in an academic program if selected. Recent graduates may apply. United States citizenship is not required, non U.S. citizens must apply for the appropriate U.S. visa if selected.

7. Can I earn academic credit?
Yes. Check with your academic advisor about the specifics associated with your program. If selected, please notify us of your interest in earning academic credit and we’ll complete any necessary paperwork.

8. What type of skills will I learn?
This internship is a paraprofessional hands-on experience that expose the candidate to a variety of skills:

  • Building custom enclosures such as boxes, sink mats, and phase boxes;
  • Digitizing photographs and other documents and managing digital assets;
  • Assisting researchers; receive or reshelf collection materials;
  • Creating EAD finding aids using ArchivesSpace;
  • Researching, designing, and preparing small exhibits;
  • Assisting with tours of the Archives Center and other public programs; and 
  • Providing administrative and organizational support

9. Are there other requirements?
Yes. If selected, interns encouraged to attend Archives Center staff meetings to learn more about how an archives is managed; participate in scheduled enrichment programs and fieldtrips to other archival repositories; and make presentations about their work.

10. Is there a stipend?
Most Archives Center internships are unpaid volunteer positions. Some funded internships are available on a competitive basis through the Smithsonian Office of Internship Programs.

11. Where can I find housing?
Locating housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is challenging. If selected, the candidate should seek housing as soon as possible. For further information, visit here.