Internship, Volunteer & Fellowship Opportunities

Internships

The Archives of American Art offers paid and unpaid internships year-round to students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs who wish to learn and gain professional experience in various fields including archival science, information management, museum studies, art administration, art history, and cultural studies. Interns are expected to commit to ten weeks at a full-time schedule.

Archives of American Art internships fall into two main categories: General Internships, and Graduate Internships in Archival or Information Studies.

Intern Spotlight

Intern Spotlight

“The summer I spent as a Graduate Archival Intern at the Archives of American Art was a truly valuable learning experience. I was assigned substantive projects that served to both reinforce and elaborate on the coursework in my Master of Science in Information program.” -Margaret Hughes

Read more: Intern posts on the Archives of American Art Blog

General Internships

General Internships are offered in the spring, summer, and fall terms to undergraduates or graduate students who have not yet completed their degrees, or who have graduated within the past six months. General internships are unpaid, with the exception of the Horowitz-Fraad Minority Internships.

Graduate students enrolled in an archives, library, or information studies program apply to Internships for Graduate Students in Archival or Information Studies.

General Internship applicants will be asked to indicate their top three choices from the following program areas:

  • Archives of American Art Journal
    Interns working with Archives of American Art Journal staff have transcribed documents; selected images and prepared interview excerpts relevant to articles; developed and implemented marketing programs; and maintained the Journal’s mailing list. Part-time only.
  • Curatorial
    Supports the work of the curatorial department. Past intern projects have included exhibitions research and writing; exhibition installation; and research for upcoming publications.
  • Development/External Affairs
    Supports the work of the development and external affairs office. Projects may include prospect research related to individuals and foundations, donor correspondence, assignments associated with our Annual Benefit, or other activities.
  • Digital Projects
    Supports digitization initiatives to increase access to collections via the web and new media. Possible assignments include scanning and digital curation; preparing descriptive, technical, and other metadata; researching standards and best practices; preparing documentation; testing digitization workflows; assisting with design and user experience research; web development; and new media special projects.
    • User Experience Internship
      Supports the work of the Digital Experience Manager. As a User Experience intern, you will learn the various steps of the website creation process—from Discovery to Deployment and everything in-between. Interns will gain first-hand experience on an actual website Redesign project. Read full posting
  • Oral History
    The Archives has ongoing projects to interview America’s leading artists, scholars, critics, collectors, dealers, supporters and others involved in American art. Intern tasks may include editing interviews; assisting with the preliminary description of interviews; fact checking; creating audio excerpts; and assisting with the production of progress reports and related exhibitions or accessions.
  • Reference
    Assists reference staff in responding to public inquiries, including conducting research and composing replies; preparing box lists for collections; and assisting with special projects.

Horowitz-Fraad Minority Internships

Through the generosity of two long-time supporters of the Archives, summer general internships with a stipend of $5,000 are available for minority candidates. The stipend is based on a full-time, ten week schedule.  Applicants who will receive course credit for the internship are not eligible for stipends.

For more information on the General or Horowitz-Fraad internships, contact Marisa Bourgoin at bourgoinm@si.edu.

Graduate Student Internships in Archival or Information Studies

Graduate Internships in Archival Studies are offered in the spring, summer, and fall terms to graduate students in archival or information studies programs or tracks who have not yet completed their degrees, or who have graduated within the past six months. Graduate Internships are unpaid. Projects may vary by semester based on current initiatives and student interest.

Applicants will be asked to indicate their top three choices from the following program areas:

  • Archival Collections Processing
    A professional and focused experience in archival work structured around processing and preservation of archival collections, cataloging and archival descriptive practices and standards including EAD (Encoded Archival Description). Graduate interns work under the supervision and guidance of senior archivists in Collections Processing. Interested graduate students may contact Erin Kinhart, Senior Processing Archivist at kinharte@si.edu to discuss their current program of study and requirements. 
  • Archival Audiovisual Media Studies (summer term only)
    The Archives is seeking graduate interns for a multi-year project funded by the CLIR (Council of Library and Information Resources) Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant program. Applicants must be students or recent graduates of graduate archival programs who have an interest in audiovisual media, or students or recent graduates of specialized graduate programs in audiovisual archives and preservation with an interest in working in a traditional manuscript repository setting. Interested graduate students may contact Megan McShea, AV Archivist, at mcsheam@si.edu for more information.
  • Oral History Management
    The Archives’ Oral History Program began in 1958 and includes interviews with American artists, scholars, critics, collectors, dealers, supporters and others involved in American art. Today, our recordings make up the world’s largest collection of oral histories on the subject of art, allowing scholars to learn about the art world directly from the words of our nation’s most distinguished artists. The Archives seeks graduate interns to work within a small team and support efforts to make more oral history transcripts and audio available on the Archives’ website. Duties may include, but are not limited to:
    • Reviewing collection documentation for permissions
    • Encoding sound clips to be used on the web
    • Scanning and encoding oral history transcripts for web access
    • Auditing and editing oral history transcripts
    • Organizing materials sent to, and returned from, interviewees and interviewers
    Interested graduate students may contact Jennifer Snyder, Oral History Program Archivist, at snyderj@si.edu for more information.
  • Digital Initiatives
    Graduate students seeking experience in digitization and online access-related projects. These may include assignments in digital curation, creation of metadata, digital workflows, scanning and reformatting, transcription of handwritten documents, public web access systems, and emerging modes of providing open access through structured and open data technologies. Interested graduate students may contact Karen Weiss, Information Systems Manager, at weissk@si.edu for more information.

How to Apply for Internships

Semester of InternshipApplication Deadline
Summer February 25
FallJune 1
SpringOctober 1

Applicants must submit the following materials through the Smithsonian’s online internship application system (SOLAA), and choose the name of the specific internship program to which they are applying.

General Internships or Horowitz-Fraad Minority Internships**

Graduate Internships in Archival or Information Studies

  1. Cover letter
  2. Résumé detailing your educational background and work/volunteer experience
  3. Unofficial academic transcript
  4. Two references - Names and email addresses of two references whom we will contact for letters of recommendation. References should be able to speak to the applicant’s academic abilities, but personal recommendations will also be considered.
  5. Essay (Horowitz-Fraad applicants only) Applicants to the Horowitz-Fraad minority internship are additionally asked to submit a brief personal essay about how an internship at the Archives of American Art will advance their career/academic goals.
  1. Cover letter
  2. Résumé detailing your educational background and work/volunteer experience
  3. One reference - Name and email address of one reference whom we will contact for a letter of recommendation. Reference should be able to speak to the applicant’s academic abilities, but personal recommendations will also be considered.

All internship application packages must be submitted through the Smithsonian’s online internship application system (SOLAA).

**Applicants interested in the Horowitz-Fraad internship will be asked during the application process if they also wish to also be considered for an unpaid internship. Please do not submit two separate applications to both the Horowitz-Fraad internship and the general (unpaid) programs.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers provide valuable assistance to the staff of the Archives of American Art through a variety of activities, including the transcription of interviews, letters and diaries; organizing and storing archival records; providing research support for curatorial staff; and responding to public inquiries. For a full list of current projects, see Volunteer Opportunities.

Dedalus Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Archives of American Art

In honor of Robert Motherwell’s centenary, the Dedalus Foundation invites applications for a 2014-2015 art history research grant focused on Motherwell and his contemporaries.

Details and application instructions

Fellowships

Postdoctoral, Senior, Predoctoral, and Graduate Student Fellowships are offered through the Office of Fellowships, Smithsonian Institution. These in-residence appointments for research and study using the facilities and collections of the Archives of American Art, and the advice and guidance of staff members, are awarded for periods of 3 to 12 months. Stipends are available.

Application forms and detailed information about Fellowships should be obtained by consulting the Opportunities for Research and Study publication. You may also contact the Office of Fellowships at siofg@si.edu.