Upcoming Internship Opportunities

The museum offers incredible internship experiences in a variety of fields. These opportunities may change each internship season 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!


Internship applications for Summer 2019 are officially closed. Please check the website again in May to learn more about upcoming internship opportunities for Fall 2019!

Anticipated internships for Fall 2019 include:

Archives Center Internship

Daily Programs Internship

Development, Fundraising, and Donor Relations Internship

Exhibition Design Internship

Graphic Design Internship

Office of Communications and Marketing/Public Affairs Internship

Program in Latino History and Civic Engagement Internship

Spark!Lab Internship

Special Events Internship

 

Questions about applying? Check out the How to Apply section of our NMAH internship website!


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.

Anticipated 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 / Prerequisites: 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.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Daily Programs Internship

Daily Programs Interns learn the methods and practice of museum education by facilitating hands-on activities throughout the museum. Interns will learn a wide range of approaches to planning, delivering, and evaluating daily, public programs for visitors. Current programming uses topics in innovation, agricultural, business, food, household, and social history connected to museum exhibitions to engage our all-ages audience. Interns will collaborate with the Experience Design team (Office of Audience Engagement), dedicated to facilitating meaningful personal experiences, building relationships, and creating conversations with museum visitors. 

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to have interns learn the methods and practice of museum education by facilitating hands-on activities throughout the museum.

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

  • Learn museum education principles and develop an introductory understanding of the role of public engagement in museums.
  • Learn a wide range of approaches to delivering and evaluating public programs for museum visitors.
  • Understand how public programs operate in a large museum

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

  • Participate weekly discussion session with assigned readings, exhibit reviews, and presentations by museum staff that will introduce you to museum education theory and current best practices.
  • Bring what you’ve learned to a broad public audience by presenting programs and hands-on interactive experiences throughout the museum.
  • Work cooperatively with staff and intern cohort to present educational programs, engaging audiences through conversation and object-based learning
  • Research and develop additional program content with museum collections and education staff 
  • Assist with the upkeep of program equipment and spaces including set up, replenishing supplies, and operating procedures
  • Conduct evaluation projects and maintain documentation to support program continuity

Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:

  • Possess enthusiasm for working in a public-facing, educational environment
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Work independently and collaboratively in a team-oriented environment
  • Interest in history, education, or museums

Audience: This internship is generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for more than 5 interns.

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

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Financial Information: This internship may receive a stipend to offset living costs depending on availability of museum funding.


Development, Fundraising, and Donor Relations 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.

Anticipated 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 / Prerequisites: 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.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Exhibition Design Internship

Do you have a desire to gain experience with visual and experiential storytelling through museum exhibitions? The NMAH Exhibition Design Internship will provide you with real-world experience in the development and design of object-based, interpretive exhibitions. Develop your 3-D and graphic design skills, practice your design critique and presentation skills, work directly with professional exhibition designers, and expand your portfolio of design projects through museum exhibitions. If you have questions or would like to learn more about the internship, feel free to contact Nigel Briggs, NMAH designer and internship coordinator for the design studio. 

**Please note: as part of your SOLAA application to this position, please provide either a link or a PDF to your portfolio!**

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to provide student with real-world experience in the Exhibition Development and Design the museum context.

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

  • Understand the exhibition development and design process for interpretive, object-based exhibitions.
  • Use Vectorworks for exhibition concept design and detailing
  • Create and present verbal and visual exhibition design concept presentations
  • Prepare exhibition design production packages

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

  • Use Vectorworks for Exhibition Design modeling and detailing
  • Use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for exhibition graphic design
  • Participate in weekly creative critiques about exhibition design
  • Attend exhibition project meetings and present exhibition design concepts

Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:

  • Experience with Vectorworks and other 3-D CAD software
  • Experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • A desire to gain experience with visual and experiential storytelling through museum exhibitions

Audience: This internship can be both generalized, to provide individuals initial experience in this field, and specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 3-4 interns. Past interns have had some background in the following fields: industrial design, theater, merchandising, architecture, interior design, exhibition design, and/or museum studies.

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

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


Graphic Design Internship

Do you have a desire to gain experience with graphic design for museum applications such as wayfinding, environmental graphics, and exhibition graphics?  The NMAH Graphic Design Internship will provide you with real-world experience in the application of graphic design within the museum environment. Develop graphic design skills, practice your design critique and presentation skills, work directly with professional exhibition designers, and expand your portfolio of design projects through museum exhibitions. If you have questions or would like to learn more about the internship, feel free to contact Nigel Briggs, NMAH designer and internship coordinator for the design studio. 

**Please note: as part of your SOLAA application to this position, please provide either a link or a PDF to your portfolio!**

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to provide students with real-world experience in the graphic design in the museum context.

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

  • Understand Graphic Design for Environmental Graphics inside and outside of the museum building
  • Understand implementation of a museum-wide graphic identity
  • Understand graphic design for wayfinding and building signage
  • Understand the use of typography and graphic design for museum exhibitions
  • Prepare graphic design production packages

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

  • Work with existing Graphic Identity Style Guide to produce museum wayfinding and building signage
  • Work with exhibitions project teams to develop exhibition graphics such as labels, environmental graphics and exhibition-specific graphic identities
  • Attend exhibition project meetings and present exhibition design concepts

Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:

  • Experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • A desire to gain experience with visual and experiential storytelling through museum exhibitions

Audience: This internship can be both generalized, to provide individuals initial experience in this field, and specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 3-4 interns. Past interns have had some background in the following fields: graphic design, visual communication, and/or museum studies.

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

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

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.

Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, 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 / Prerequisites: 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.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

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.

Anticipated 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 / Prerequisites: 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.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This internship does not provide a stipend.


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). Interns in the Spark!Lab 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 learn alongside staff and volunteer docents. Through their learning experiences, Spark!Lab interns will build relationships with thousands of visitors and spark conversation in order to engage them in the invention process. 

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

Applicants of all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Goal: Overall, during this internship, 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.

Anticipated 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
  • Learn first-hand how hands-on activity space operate in a large museum and develop the behind-the-scenes expertise needed to create programs for museum visitors
  • Learn to assess and evaluate activities and to identify waysto improve the overall Spark!Lab experience

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

  • Facilitate hands-on invention activities and experiences with visitors on the museum floor, particularly with 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
  • Record reflective feedback and critique the "pilot methods" of activities, tweaking them and changing them to find efficient and effective methods
  • 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 / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Experience working with the public or in costomer service/visitor services
  • Passion to education and inspiring learning in others
  • Enthusiasm for working in a public-facing, education 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 Summer 2019. This internship can be full time or part time.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This internship does provide a $200 stipend to offset transportation costs.


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.

Anticipated 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 / Prerequisites: 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.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

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


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

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