Internships, Fellowships, and Volunteer Opportunities

Get involved with the Archives.

Be part of the Archives' team by working alongside our staff and more than 20 million archival items.

Interns in front of Archives of American Art entrance

The Archives of American Art offers 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. 

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. Summer internships are accompanied by a $6,500 stipend, based on a full-time, ten-week schedule. Pro-rated stipends may be available for part-time internships, which are available during the academic year and, in some cases, during the summer. Applicants who will receive course credit for the internship are not eligible for stipends. 

Graduate students interested in the Archival Collections Processing internships should contact Erin Kinhart via kinharte@si.edu to discuss their current program of study and requirements. Questions about other internships may be directed to Marisa Bourgoin at bourgoinm@si.edu.

African American Collecting Initiative Internship funded by the Henry Luce Foundation 

The Archives of American Art seeks candidates to assist with an African American collecting initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.  A $6,500 stipend, based on a full-time, ten-week schedule, is available for this internship. We encourage minority candidates to apply. See full posting for details.

Internship Projects

Internship applicants will be asked to indicate their top three choices from the projects below; please note that some projects are only available to graduate students. All projects are accompanied by a $6,500 stipend, based on a full-time, ten-week schedule. Pro-rated stipends may be available for part-time internships, which are available during the academic year and, in some cases, during the summer. 

Archival Collections Processing (Graduate)

  • 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. This internship is offered in both the Archives’ Washington, DC office and New York Research Center. Interested graduate students may contact Erin Kinhart, Head of Collections Processing, at kinharte@si.edu to discuss their current program of study and requirements.  

Archives of American Art Journal (Advanced undergraduate or Graduate)

  • Supports the work of the Archives' managing editor. Projects include fact-checking and proofreading articles and conducting image research for the Archives' peer-reviewed scholarly Archives of American Art Journal (https://www.aaa.si.edu/publications/journal).

Audiovisual Archives (Graduate)

  • A professional and focused experience in collection management and processing tasks associated with archival sound and moving image materials found throughout the Archives’ collections. Tasks may include digital reference copy production, surveying audiovisual media in new accessions, improving housing and storage, metadata maintenance and improvement, and arrangement and description of AV-rich archival collections. Interns may be trained in media inspection, handling, using obsolete playback equipment, and archival arrangement and description, and software systems such as ArchivesSpace, audio and video digitization software, collection information systems used at AAA and SI, and standalone media survey and assessment tools. Applicants with a demonstrated interest in working with archival audiovisual media will be given preference. 
    This internship will not be offered Summer of 2020.

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

  • The Office of Advancement is responsible for raising private support for the Archives through individual giving, foundation gifts and grants, special events, and more. Interns will assist with a variety of projects, including but not limited to: database management, fundraising communications, prospect identification and research, and special events.

    This internship will provide an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a fast-paced work environment at a prestigious institution and will prepare the intern for a career in the arts, museums, or nonprofits. The intern should be detail-oriented, have an interest in research and possess strong writing and critical thinking skills. Interns must be able to communicate in a professional, effective manner with various stakeholders. An interest in history and the visual arts is preferred.

User Experience

  • Supports the work of the Digital Experience Manager. User Experience interns will learn how to conduct user experience research and then synthesize findings and best practices to develop innovative and strategic solutions that improve the user experience. Please note: there are special application requirements for this internship, see full posting for details.
    This internship will not be offered Summer of 2020.

Oral History Management (Graduate)

  • In this Oral History Management internship, you will be immersed in what goes into the management of a very robust, longstanding, ongoing oral history program. This internship is offered in both the Archives’ Washington, DC office and New York Research Center. See full posting for details.

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.

Application Deadlines

Semester of Internship

Application Deadline

Summer

February 25

Fall

June 1

Spring

We will not offer internships in the spring of 2020

 

Requirements

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

General or Luce Foundation Internships:

  1. Cover letter

  2. Résumé detailing your educational background and work/volunteer experience

  3. Unofficial academic transcript

  4. One reference
    Names and email addresses of a reference 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.

Graduate Internships:

  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 Smithsonian’s online internship application system (SOLAA, opens in new window).

Postdoctoral, Senior, Predoctoral, and Graduate Student Fellowships are offered through the Office of Fellowships, (opens in new window), 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 (opens in new window) publication. You may also siofi@si.edu.

Volunteers should have an interest in American history, art history, or archival and information science, and should be able to spend at least four hours a week on assigned tasks. Both in-person and digital volunteer opportunities are available.

In-person volunteers at the Archives of American Art are part of the Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program of the Smithsonian Institution.

Digital volunteers may not be required to officially register with the Smithsonian’s Volunteer Program, depending on the nature and duration of their project.

For a full listing of volunteer opportunities throughout the Smithsonian, visit http://www.si.edu/volunteer.

Transcription of Documents

Position: Transcribers and Reviewers
Project: Digital volunteers will transcribe and review digitized historical documents to make the documents full-text searchable, with the purpose of improving intellectual access to information contained within collections. Access Archives of American Art projects in the Smithsonian Transcription Center now (link opens in new window)
Location: Online only
Dates: Ongoing
How to participate: Register for an account at Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Transcription Center (link opens in new window)