Oral History Management Graduate Internship

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 American art, allowing scholars to learn about the art world directly from the words of our nation’s most distinguished artists.

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. All of our legacy interviews have been fully digitized for preservation, and subsequently, access purposes. A major initiative is ingesting the audio files into our CIS and DAMS. All of our ongoing oral history interviews are recorded as digital audio files with outside interviewers. Most of our interviews are transcribed (especially current interviews) by a transcription company. There is an extensive review process of these documents before they are presented online–first in-house, by the narrator and interviewer. In addition to our ongoing initiatives, we have a backlog of bottlenecked interviews that are a high priority to be sent for review or to be posted on the Archives' website.

Among other tasks interns may:  

  • Conduct background research on subjects related to interviews 
  • Audit audio recordings, reformat, review and proofread transcripts
  • Draft brief content notes
  • Assist with completion of the catalog record.

Requirements and Qualifications: 

  • Coursework towards the completion of a Masters degree in Oral History, Public History, Library Science, or Archival Management
  • Interest in oral histories
  • Interest in art history
  • Interest in presenting digital content/audio online 
  • Interest in digital preservation and file management
  • Interest in thinking through systems, processes, and workflows
  • Well organized
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to work independently

Outcomes: You will come away with a greater understanding of the planning and management of an oral history program; skills in digital preservation and file management; and insight into an organization’s policies, procedures, and workflow.
Availability: Spring/Fall internships are generally 20 hours/week for 16 weeks. Summer internships are generally 40 hours/week for 10 weeks. These hours may differ by location.

For Washington, DC: Interested graduate students may contact Jennifer Snyder, Oral History Program Archivist, at snyderj@si.edu for more information.  
For New York City: Interested graduate students may contact Liza Zapol, Robert and Arlene Kogod Secretarial Scholar, Oral Historian, at zapole@si.edu for more information.

How to Apply

  • Interested candidates must apply through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments website.
  • Cover letter
  • Résumé detailing your educational background and work/volunteer experience
  • Unofficial academic transcript
  • One reference
    Name and email address of a reference whom we will contact for a letter of recommendation. References should be able to speak to the applicant’s academic abilities, but personal recommendations will also be considered.

Visit the Smithsonian SOLAA System (solaa.si.edu) now