With so many museums and galleries in DC, there are numerous internship opportunities. Whether your interest is in art conservation, art education, art therapy, curating, graphic design, museum or gallery management, or public relations, you can find something that suits you.
Art Related Internships in the D.C. Area
Smithsonian Institution: Katzenberger Art History Internship Program
The Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship Program is a need-based program supporting internships for undergraduates in research and collections projects at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The program is generously funded by the Katzenberger Foundation and administered by the Office of Fellowships and Internships. Six internships are offered each summer and located in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian’s art museums and archives. Applicants must meet these eligibility requirements: open only to US citizens; must be enrolled as undergraduate juniors, seniors, or equivalent, in a degree granting program at an accredited institution; must be declared as an art history major, concentration, or related discipline; must qualify for federal student aid. A final summary report is required upon completion of the internship.
Office of Fellowships and Internships
470 L’Enfant Plaza, Suite 7102, MRC 902
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: (202) 633-7070
Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Each year a number of undergraduate and graduate internships are available at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Internships are offered during the summer, fall, and winter semesters.
Requirements: Applicants should have 15 semester hours of art history, arts management, or equivalent academic preparation for their chosen department. It is highly recommended applicants have a grade point average of 3.25 for undergraduates and 3.5 for graduate students. A specialization in modern and contemporary art history is helpful, but not required.
Credit: The Museum does not award college credit, but many U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning at the Museum. Contact your academic advisor for instructions on how to receive credit.
Stipend: Most HMSG internships are unpaid volunteer positions. Some funded internships are available on a competitive basis through the Office of Fellowships. (202-633-7070)
Applying: Please apply using the Smithsonian online application system https://solaa.si.edu. Paper applications will not be considered. Application must include Internship Program application form (available online), academic transcripts (unofficial are acceptable), Personal essay (use this to tell us how the internship will advance your academic/career goals), Two letters of reference.
Deadlines: Spring (January – May) Deadline: October 15th
Summer (June – August) Deadline: February 1st
Fall (September – December) Deadline: July 1st
Museum Conservation Institute (MCI)
Research Internships and Fellowships of varying length are available for undergraduate and graduate students in the appropriate disciplines.
Term: Minimum of 3 months
Applications: Considered year-round
Contact: Internship/Fellowship Coordinator; Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution 4210 Silver Hill Road; Suitland, MD 20746
Phone: (301) 238-1236
*Financial assistance is sometimes available on a very limited basis.
*All other positions are offered to students enrolled in graduate conservation training programs or those with equivalent education
National Museum of African Art
Internships are offered to students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs and to individuals interested in exploring museum professions. Internship opportunities are available in the following departments: administration, conservation, curatorial, development, education, exhibits, photographic archives, public affairs, and registration. Candidates must have a background in art history, anthropology, museum studies, or a related discipline. Specific training in African art or other aspects of African culture is desirable, particularly in the Education and Curatorial Departments. Under the supervision of a staff member, an intern works for a minimum of 10 weeks, 20 hours per week.
Stipend: No stipend or credit
Contact: Frank Esposito, Intern Coordinator, National Museum of African Art, MRC 708 PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Applying: Please apply using the Smithsonian online application system at https://solaa.si.edu . Application includes Internship program application form (available online), Academic transcripts (unofficial are acceptable), Personal essay (use this to tell us how the internship will advance your academic/career goals), Two letters of reference
American Art Museum
The Summer Program: The American Art Museum's summer internship program is designed for college juniors, seniors, or recent college graduates with little previous museum experience. (Graduate students will be considered on an individual basis.) Students' career objectives are matched to the activities of one department or office for eight weeks. This short term summer program does not provide the overview of museum operations that is provided by the two-semester Advanced Level Program.
Stipends: No stipends are currently available for this program
Requirements: Students should be entering or have completed their junior year in college at the time of application and have little or no previous museum experience. Graduate students will be considered for this program on an individual basis.
Application: a statement of purpose expressing personal career goals in the museum field, what skills he or she hopes to acquire, and why the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been chosen as a learning center, a resume of relevant education and work experience, three letters of recommendation (academic and/or professional), transcripts from all schools attended above high school level.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery offers internships to undergraduate and graduate students and to individuals not affiliated with academic programs who have research or museum career interests. The availability of internships depends upon departmental projects and staff needs, as well as the background, skills, and interests of the applicant. Qualifications vary depending upon the project, but most are for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. Please read the specific intern positions above before selecting projects on your application.
Eligibility: Various departments at the National Portrait Gallery sponsor interns throughout the year. Intern projects are based on interests and needs of the department, and are agreed upon by the mutual consent of the intern candidate and his or her supervisor.
Departments: Office of the Associate Director, Office of Collections Information and Research, Conservation Department, Office of Design and Production, Graphic Design Staff, Lighting Design Staff, Office of External Affairs, Office of Development, Office of Public Affairs, Office of Education, Intern and Docent Programs, Public Programs, Teacher Programs, Youth and Family Programs, Office of Exhibitions, Office of the Registrar, Department of History, Charles Willson Peale Family Papers, Library, New Media and Publications, Web and Social Media, Photographic Services, Publications, Department of Painting and Sculpture, Department of Photographs, Department of Prints and Drawings
Stipend: Most NPG internships are unpaid volunteer positions. Some funded internships are available on a competitive basis through the Office of Fellowships (202-633-7070). No college credit.
The Smithsonian Associates (TSA)
Complementing Smithsonian research, exhibitions, and collections, TSA offers a curriculum consisting of hundreds of courses, lectures, tours, performances, seminars, and other activities. TSA interns are offered opportunities to learn about various aspects of educational programming for both adults and children, while contributing extensively to one of the world's great cultural institutions. More information can be found at: https://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/.
Educational Programs include: Development, Discovery Theater, Online Marketing, eMarketing & Customer Research, National Education Outreach, Performing Arts, Public Affairs, Studio Arts. Descriptions of each can be found here: http://www.si.edu/ofg/intern.htm
Summer Camp: Support the team by assisting with the daily running of the 7-week camp program, supervising campers and assistants, up-keep of rosters and paperwork, parent communication, and supply organization and procurement.
Terms: Fall: September-December; Winter/Spring: January-May; Summer: June-August
Stipend: Internships at TSA are unpaid.
Credit: College or university credit may be awarded by the student's sponsoring institution through advance agreement with student's college/university and TSA.
Deadlines: Fall: July 1; Winter/Spring: November 1; Summer: March 15
Contact: Meg Smolinski, The Smithsonian Associates
Phone: (202) 633-8641
Archives of American Art (AAA)
The Archives of American Art collects the personal papers of American artists, art dealers, critics, and others concerned with American art. Internships are available to undergraduates and graduate students who have a background in art history, American studies, or American history and are looking for the opportunity to conduct research in primary sources, process archival collections, prepare written descriptions of collection contents, and assist with registrarial duties.
Term: Variable, ten weeks or more
Deadlines: Applications considered year-round
Contact: Marisa Bourgoin, Archives of American Art, PO Box 37012, Victor Bldg., Suite 2200, MRC 937, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Unpaid Internships
The Freer Gallery of Art, along with its sister museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, are the national museums of Asian art at the Smithsonian Institution and are jointly administered. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery house one of the most distinguished collections of Asian art in the world today, as well as the largest collection of work by James McNeill Whistler. The Galleries support advanced research and disseminates the results through exhibitions and publications. Internships are available to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students for special projects and general departmental work in the following departments.
Administration/Finance/Human Resources; Archives; Conservation and Scientific Research; Collections Management (Registrar); Curatorial; Education and Public Programs; Exhibition Management; Information Technology; Publications; Design and Production; Library; Membership and Development; Photography; Public Affairs and Marketing; Rights and Reproductions; and Museum Shops.
For each internship term, applications must be submitted electronically by the following dates:
Winter/Spring term: November 15
Summer: March 15
Fall: July 15
Contact: Please submit all application materials via the SOLAA system.
Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA)
The Smithsonian Institution Archives offers internships in archival methods, institutional history, oral history, history of science, collections management, collections care (preservation and conservation), digital preservation and curation, and electronic records management.
The Archives Division serves as a repository for documents of historic value about the Smithsonian, as the official memory of the Smithsonian and as a resource for scholars. Internships are provided for arrangement and description of institutional records, personal papers, and photographic and other collections in special media; encoding of finding aids for its website; digitization of collections; and conducting records surveys and developing records disposition schedules. These internships are considered apprenticeships under the tutelage of an archivist.
The Institutional History Division conducts research on the history of the Smithsonian, prepares scholarly and popular publications, exhibits, lectures, electronic and paper guides to specialized research areas, and records oral history and video history interviews. Internships provide an overview of the research and dissemination activities of an institutional history program, with a focus on specific topics. Prior course work in American history or the sciences is desirable, though not a prerequisite.
The Collections Care Division carries out preservation of collections in paper, photograph, and audio-visual formats. Preservation internships provide hands-on experience in preservation techniques, working with nineteenth and twentieth century Smithsonian records and personal papers of prominent administrators and scientists. The internships emphasize integrated preservation management, considering issues such as proper environment, housing, handling, and preservation reproduction of records. Conservation internships are occasionally available for current students of masters programs in conservation or post-graduates.
The Digital Services Division preserves and manages the digital collections of the Archives. This work spans a wide range of activities including: digitization of photographs, documents, sound, and moving images; preservation and curation of original electronic records; facilitating access to digital collections; and digital repository management. All internships provide hands-on experience and exposure to key issues in archival digital collections such as digital obsolescence, authenticity and provenance, conservation, and sustainability. Interns will work directly with records from the Archives’ collections in digital and other formats.
Contact: Riccardo Ferrante, Internship Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution Archives, PO Box 37012, MRC 507, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: (202) 633-5906
Fax: (202) 633-5928