Internships

NOTICE: Depending on the status of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, internships may be virtual* or hybrid (part onsite, part virtual). Following ongoing guidance about staff capacity within the museum, we will continue to host primarily virtual internships, and are allowing limited ad hoc flexibility for hybrid experiences for internships whose learning goals require onsite access to the museum, such as internships in Collections Management and Conservation. Any onsite or hybrid experience may be converted to virtual or postponed to ensure the safety and health of our staff and interns. Check this page for periodic updates.

*What is a virtual internship?
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is offering virtual internship experiences rather than onsite internship experiences. The museum will continue to offer virtual internships to increase access to our professional learning programs for those who may be unable to relocate to the DC or NY area. Virtual internship experiences include: mentors who guide interns' professional growth and provide support; projects through which interns achieve their learning goals for the internship; enrichment activities to help tailor internship experiences; access to stipends; and opportunities to attend virtual team meetings, informational interviews, all-staff opportunities, etc.

Federal vaccination mandate: Pending litigation, the Smithsonian Institution has a mandate that may require all employees (federal and trust), volunteers, interns, fellows and research associates, and the contractors who work with us to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of location or arrangement (e.g., onsite, virtual, remote, hybrid, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you may be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination during onboarding. The Smithsonian Institution will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation may be needed and how you can request a legally required exemption from this requirement. Limited exemptions to the Smithsonian Institution's COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be considered on a case-by-case basis for selected candidates who inform the Smithsonian that they cannot be vaccinated because of a disability, including certain medical conditions the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers contraindications to the vaccine; because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance; or availability to World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended vaccines based on country of residence (for remote appointees). Additional information and updated instructions regarding Smithsonian's COVID-19 mandate will be provided at the time of selection.

Internships

Maryland   |   Washington, DC   |   New York

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Internship Program provides educational opportunities for students interested in the museum profession and related fields. Interns complete projects using the resources of the NMAI and other Smithsonian offices. Internships are an opportunity for students to learn about the museum's collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies, and to meet professionals in the museum field.

Internship applications are reviewed in two rounds by Internships and departmental staff. Approximately twenty-five percent of applicants are accepted for internships during the calendar year. The Summer term is the most competitive. If available through your university, out-of-state interns may participate in a Washington, DC, or New York study-away program during the Fall or Spring terms.

Departmental descriptions for all internships at the NMAI, except in Conservation, are listed below. Please see Conservation Training for more information and to apply for a Conservation internship.

Information on additional fellowship and internship opportunities across the Smithsonian, including those designed specifically for Native Americans, is available via the links below.

Ten-Week Internship session start dates:

Winter/Spring: Starting third full week of January/March
Summer: Starting second full week of June
Fall: Starting last full week of September

Deadlines
For each internship term, applications must be submitted electronically by the following dates:
Winter/Spring term: November 15
Summer: March 15
Fall: July 15

What are the eligibility requirements?
If you are currently enrolled in an academic program you are eligible to apply.

If you are not a current student then you may still apply, but you will need to use the essay portion of the application to state how an internship in the particular department you select will benefit your professional goals and/or future academic goals.

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or its equivalent is generally expected (with withdrawals and incompletes explained).

All applicants must register and submit an online application via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). Select "843 National Museum of the American Indian Internship Program" from the drop-down program list.

All components of the application that are required for NMAI internships must be uploaded via SOLAA. Do not send components separately.

Checklist:

  • Online application
  • Statement of interest: questions to address are on the application—include at least one or more other departments of interest to you, and why interning in those departments would benefit you academically and career-wise.
  • Transcripts (unofficial are preferred)
  • CV or résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation: SOLAA system allows references to confidentially upload letters into your application by providing applicants an upload link to share with references. (References should check their spam folders if email with link is not received as expected.)

When will I know if my application has been accepted?
Notification about placement occurs four to six weeks after the deadline. If sooner notification is needed, please contact the Intern Program Coordinator at nmaiinterns@si.edu or 202-633-6988.

Is there financial support (i.e., a stipend) for this internship?
Yes, stipends may be provided to selected interns based on financial need by completing a survey. Per Smithsonian Institution regulations, stipend amounts for non-local interns typically range from approximately $1,000 to $8,000 for a ten-week session. Local interns who live in the Washington, DC, or New York City regions may receive a stipend that will offset the costs of commuting, approximately $500 to $2,000 for a ten-week session. Virtual interns may receive a stipend up to approximately $2,500 to offset the cost of home office equipment and technology needs. The stipend depends on the amount of funds available and is at the discretion of the NMAI.

NMAI internship stipends are generously funded by the Hansell Family, the Sterne Family, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.

Do I have to be Native American?
No! The internship program is open to anyone. The NMAI is an equal opportunity employer and follows equal opportunity employment guidelines in the selection of its interns.

Do you accept applications from international students?
Yes! We accept applications from international students. The Smithsonian's Office of International Relations will work with you in sponsoring a J-1 visa, if necessary, after you are accepted into the program. Unfortunately, international students may experience delays in stipends and receiving an ID badge due to Smithsonian security and banking requirements.

Academic Credit
The Smithsonian Institution welcomes the opportunity to work cooperatively with schools seeking to grant academic credit for internships. Applicants are encouraged to initiate arrangements for credit with their colleges or universities. The Smithsonian does not grant academic credit.

How competitive is the process and what makes a strong application?
The internship program is very competitive, especially in the summer. In general, strong applications demonstrate applicants' academic and professional goals, interest in the particular department selected, and reason for wanting to be at the NMAI. During an internship, interns may spend ten weeks in mainly one department. There may be opportunities to shadow a different department or intern part-time in two departments. Interns will gain experience in specific aspects of museum work.

If there are further questions, please email nmaiinterns@si.edu or call 202-633-6988.

The Smithsonian does not discriminate on grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, sexual orientation, or participation in protected activity.


INTERNSHIP PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS BY LOCATION

Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, MD

THE NMAI CULTURAL RESOURCES CENTER 

4220 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746-2863

Located just outside of Washington, DC, the Cultural Resources Center (CRC) houses the NMAI's collection of more than 800,000 objects, representing Indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. The following list provides a general overview of the ongoing work of departments within the CRC as well as associated internship opportunities. When you begin the application process, a drop-down menu will allow you to select from the choices that are currently available.

Archive Center
Archive Center internships provide students with the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the physical and intellectual arrangement, description, and preservation of the NMAI's archival collections. Intern projects may include processing manuscript, photo, audiovisual, or mixed-media collections, writing and editing finding aids and collections records, conducting condition assessments, and providing reference services. Interns may author finding aids and collection-level records in ArchivesSpace, and write blog posts about their experiences or collections they encounter. Students interested in library science, history of photography, Native American studies, anthropology, and related fields are encouraged to apply.

Collections Information and Asset Management
Collections Information and Asset Management interns support digitization initiatives to increase access to NMAI collections information and images. Assignments are centered around the digital curation of reformatted and born-digital assets; the creation of metadata in the NMAI's collection information system or the SI's digital asset management system; safeguarding of data integrity; enhancement of digital workflows; and creation of digital workflow documentation. Interns work under the mentorship of Collections Information System and/or Digital Asset Management System staff and receive extensive training and gain direct experience in those systems. Students seeking experience in digitization, digital preservation, and data management of cultural heritage materials are encouraged to apply.

Collections Research and Documentation (Archaeological)
Interns in Collections Research and Documentation support the study and interpretation of the more than 100,000 objects in the NMAI archaeological collections. Working with curatorial staff, interns learn how to document, examine, and research items made, created, used, or designed by the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere (excluding Hawai'i) prior to European contact. Interns may access collections and related information physically or through the NMAI's collections database, and learn how to investigate objects through a variety of means, possibly including literature reviews, contextual analyses, physical examination, morphological measurements, and consultations with Indigenous peoples, historians, archaeologists, and other experts. Interns may also assist in creating, managing, organizing, and distributing information about the NMAI's archaeological collections through various online platforms, including social media, blogs, and websites. Interns expand their understanding of Native American cultures and histories as well as their depth, complexity, diversity, and achievements.

Registration
Registration Department interns benefit from hands-on experience assisting with the annual inventory of the NMAI's object collection at the Cultural Resources Center. Registration interns learn about object handling, collections storage, cataloging, inventory practices, and using a collections database. Those interested in collections accountability, collections care, and Native material culture are encouraged to apply.

Repatriation
Internships in the Repatriation Department provide students with opportunities to learn about and contribute to the work of consultation, research, and physical repatriation of items in the museum's collection. Interns may conduct provenance research, investigate policy issues, produce internal reference reports, or participate in other repatriation projects and activities. Interns also attend meetings, meet NMAI staff, and learn about the museum and its projects, and the Smithsonian in general. Students interested in repatriation, archival work, provenance research, anthropology, Native American studies, and related fields are encouraged to apply.

Safety
Safety interns participate in behind-the-scenes safety operations at the National Museum of the American Indian, and gain a general understanding of the Smithsonian Institution Safety program and occupational safety and health standards. Internships with the Safety Coordinator focus on safety compliance at the museum in Washington, DC, and at the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, MD. Interns assist in updating the recorded status of workplace hazards, create graphs and charts to update communication tools, and assist in transferring safety documents and updates to the Safety website for employees to learn of their progress on reduced injuries, completed deficiencies, OSHA response to museum-wide inspection status, and inclusion in the electronic safety newsletter. Interns may participate in operations meetings, and provide safety updates and hazard condition reports. Students in Occupational Safety and Health programs, such as Fire Protection Prevention, Industrial Hygienist and environmental design with reference to OSHA compliance or graphic design-related fields in Visual Communications, may benefit from this opportunity. Proficiency is required in Adobe and Excel programs.

Technology
Technology internships provide students with an opportunity to gain valuable experience working alongside information technology staff in support of the museum's Internet and intranet websites, applications, and technological infrastructure. Whether running technology-based audiovisual and theater operations in the NMAI's exhibitions, supporting database application systems, or developing web pages and multimedia projects, interns enhance their skills in network operations, communications services, desktop support, information resource management planning, system development lifecycle management, web content management, or web design. Students studying information technology, electronic communications, telecommunication, or web development are encouraged to apply. Appointments may be available at either the museum in Washington, DC, or the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, MD.

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
WASHINGTON, DC

Fourth Street and Independence Ave., SW
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Opened on the National Mall on September 21, 2004, the National Museum of the American Indian is a major exhibition space for Native art and material culture as well as a center for educational activities and performances. The following list provides a general overview of the ongoing work of departments within the NMAI in Washington, DC, as well as associated internship opportunities. When you begin the application process, a drop-down menu will allow you to select from the choices that are currently available.

Collections Care
Collections Care interns participate in the day-to-day management of the museum's collections and loans on exhibit and in temporary storage at the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall. Interns learn handling, housekeeping, organization, monitoring, and preventative care techniques. Interns also work closely with several other departments in the building to understand how activities in the public spaces affect collections. Internships include an introduction to the Integrated Pest Management Program, use of the collections database, environmental monitoring, collections emergency management, and exhibit installation/de-installation.

Cultural Interpreter Program
The Cultural Interpreter Program promotes knowledge of American Indian heritage, culture, history, and the NMAI's collection by delivering interpretive programs to the visiting public with an emphasis on serving grade 4–12 school audiences. Cultural Interpreter Program interns assist in the research, testing, and development of dynamic and engaging school programs for the public. Interns gain experience in museum education practices, interpreting Native cultures utilizing a handling collection, and researching and developing working documents to be used in training and facilitation for staff and future volunteers.

Development
Interns in Development assist staff in the daily operations of national-level fundraising, and learn to work with the museum's fundraising database, PANDA. Interns gain a working understanding of how to update, tag, and identify organizations and entities within the database. Interns also conduct research for prospective donors and grants, and assist in providing Development administrative support. Interns learn about special projects, and NMAI initiatives to Native communities across the Americas.

Education
The Education Office supports the continuance of Native cultures, traditional values, and learning about contemporary Native issues by providing engaging educational experiences for teachers, parents, and students through programs, resources, and the Native Knowledge 360° curriculum. Education interns help provide relevant learning experiences to teachers and students through lesson alignment with local, national, and NMAI standards, and research on practice and impact, education technology, and hands-on learning. Responsibilities include assisting with teacher tours and education programs, supporting theme or exhibition-based teacher or student workshops, and developing and analyzing evaluation data. Qualifications include a strong interest in formal or informal education, art and visual culture, anthropology, or digital learning. Candidates should have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to engage the public, along with excellent research and writing skills, an interest and/or background in teaching social studies or related fields, anti-bias education, social justice, and community engagement. Candidates should be able to work independently and as a team player in a professional environment; handle multiple tasks at once; and adhere to deadlines. Proficiency is required in Excel, with knowledge of design programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) preferred, but not required. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required.

Executive Office
The Executive Office provides interns with the opportunity to work on projects of strategic relevance for the museum as a whole. Interns are offered the opportunity to work on a variety of assignments depending on their educational background and work experience. Through assignments and project work under the guidance of a member of the Executive Office, interns gain a thorough understanding of museum operations, strategic initiatives, and decision-making processes.

imagiNATIONS Activity Center
The interactive, family-friendly imagiNATIONS Activity Center provides visitors of all ages with a multitude of unique learning experiences about Native peoples of the Americas. Activity Center interns gain an understanding of museum education practices by exploring strategies that engage young visitors and interpret Native American cultures; experience facets of operations in Visitor Services and Community Programs; and solve on-the-job challenges. Prerequisites include interest in American Indian cultures of the Western Hemisphere; early childhood and museum education; being comfortable interacting with families and children (0–12 years); and ability to be outgoing and reliable. Bilingual candidates are desired and basic computer skills are required. Duties include staffing various interactive stations and assisting in facilitation of hands-on interactive programs; assisting with space and program upkeep; and general operating procedures. The work schedule is Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 AM to 5:30 PM. Internships involve frequent walking, standing, bending down, or sitting on the floor and on small chairs for extended periods.

Marketing and Communications
Interns in Marketing and Communications learn how to effectively promote museum activities through marketing, publicity, and social media. They also learn how to analyze and compile reports on the efficacy of social media and report on trending social outlets/topics to enhance their learning objectives and contribute to the social media of the museum. Marketing and Communications interns also learn about associated communications methodologies related to contacting members of media, building media contact lists, and helping publicize the museum's events and exhibitions through community calendars and events outlets. Appointments may be available at the museum in Washington, DC, or the museum in New York, NY.

Media Production
Interns in Media, which produces and develops digital media across the museum, work with Media staff to support production for projects, learning and developing skills in webcasting, hands-on video and audio production and editing, mobile tour development, exhibit interactive development, and media archiving.

Public Programs
In collaboration with other NMAI departments, Smithsonian museums, and national and international Native American communities, NMAI programs support and enhance the museum by bringing in Native artisans and cultural demonstrators to share the cultures of diverse Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Public Programs interns learn about Native cultures, the history and mission of the museum, and details of museum programming, from research and outreach to documentation and implementation, within a team-oriented environment. Public Programs interns engage with artists and museum visitors to share what they learn about the history and ongoing activities of the museum, and learn program operations, develop logical solutions for hands-on activities, and archive records.

Special Events
Special Events oversees internal museum events and works with external partners hosting celebrations in NMAI spaces. Interns in Special Events assist with event preparations, including compiling invitation lists, mailing and tracking RSVPs, coordinating vendors, and providing day-of event support. Interns also assist with managing the museum's booking calendar, departmental files, and donor database. Special Events interns learn Smithsonian event policies and procedures, logistics involved with event coordination, and donor and database management. Students interested in detail-oriented work who bring strong problem-solving skills, flexibility, and an enthusiasm for the museum's diverse audiences are encouraged to apply.

Technology
Technology internships provide students with an opportunity to gain valuable experience working alongside information technology staff in support of the museum's Internet and intranet websites, applications, and technological infrastructure. Whether running technology-based audiovisual and theater operations in the NMAI's exhibitions, supporting database application systems, or developing web pages and multimedia projects, interns enhance their skills in network operations, communications services, desktop support, information resource management planning, system development lifecycle management, web content management, or web design. Students studying information technology, electronic communications, telecommunication, or web development are encouraged to apply. Appointments may be available at either the museum in Washington, DC, or the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, MD.

George Gustav Heye Center

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
NEW YORK

One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York opened in 1994 in the newly renovated Alexander Hamilton US Custom House in lower Manhattan. The NMAI in New York features temporary exhibitions and a range of public programs. Internships in the following areas are available intermittently.

Collections Care
Collections Care interns participate in the day-to-day management of the museum's collections and loans on exhibit and in temporary storage at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York. Interns learn handling, housekeeping, organization, monitoring, maintenance, and preventative care techniques. Interns also work closely with several other departments in the building to understand how activities in the public spaces affect collections. Internships include an introduction to the Integrated Pest Management Program, use of the collections database, environmental monitoring, collections emergency management, and exhibit installation/de-installation.

Cultural Interpreter Program
The Cultural Interpreter Program promotes knowledge of American Indian culture, history, and the NMAI's collection by delivering interpretive programs to the visiting public with an emphasis on serving school groups grades 1–12, summer camp groups, and higher education audiences. Cultural Interpreter Program interns assist in the research, development, and testing of dynamic, engaging, and exhibition-specific programming for school groups, summer camps, and the general public. Interns gain experience in museum educational practices, interpreting Native cultures, utilizing the museum's handling collection, and researching and developing working documents to be used in training and facilitation for staff and volunteers. Qualifications include a strong interest in education, art and visual culture, anthropology, or digital learning. Candidates should have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to engage the public, along with excellent research and writing skills, and interest and/or background in teaching and community engagement. Candidates should be able to work independently and as part of a team in a professional environment; handle multiple tasks at once; and adhere to deadlines. Bilingual candidates are desired. Proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite is required and knowledge of design programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) is preferred. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required.

Education
The Education Office supports the continuance of Native cultures, traditional values, and learning about contemporary Native issues by providing engaging educational experiences for teachers, K–12 students, and youth and families through programs and resources, and the Native Knowledge 360° curriculum. Education interns help provide relevant learning experiences to teachers, students, and youth and families through lesson alignment with local, national, and NMAI standards, and research on practice and impact, education technology, and hands-on learning. Responsibilities include assisting with developing and implementing various education programs, such as supporting theme or exhibition-based teacher or student workshops; developing and analyzing evaluation data; designing learning materials and activities; supporting online lesson development; curriculum; engaging youth and families; and/or attending outreach events. Qualifications include a strong interest in formal or informal education, art and visual culture, anthropology, or digital learning. Candidates should have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to engage the public, along with excellent research and writing skills, an interest and/or background in teaching social studies or related fields, anti-bias education, social justice, and community engagement. Candidates should be able to work independently and as a team player in a professional environment; handle multiple tasks at once; and adhere to deadlines. Proficiency is required in Excel with knowledge of design programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) preferred but not required. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required.

imagiNATIONS Activity Center
The interactive, family-friendly imagiNATIONS Activity Center provides visitors of all ages with a multitude of unique learning experiences about Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Interns gain an understanding of museum education practices by exploring strategies that engage visitors and interpret Native American cultures; experience facets of operations in Visitor Services and Community Programs; and solve on-the-job challenges. Prerequisites include interest in Indigenous cultures of the Western Hemisphere; museum education; comfortable interacting with youth (10 years +) and their families; outgoing, flexible, and reliable. Bilingual candidates are desired. Proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite is required and knowledge of design programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) is preferred. Duties include staffing interactive stations and assisting in facilitation of hands-on interactive programs; working with large groups; assisting with space and program upkeep; and general operating procedures. The iAC is open daily from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, and work schedules may vary due to programming opportunities. Internships involve frequent walking, standing, bending down, or sitting on the floor and on small chairs for extended periods.

Marketing and Communications
Interns in Marketing and Communications learn how to effectively promote museum activities through marketing, publicity, and social media. They also learn how to analyze and compile reports on the efficacy of social media and report on trending social outlets/topics to enhance their learning objectives and contribute to the social media of the museum. Marketing and Communications interns also learn about associated communications methodologies related to contacting members of media, building media contact lists, and helping publicize the museum's events and exhibitions through community calendars and events outlets. Appointments may be available at the museum in Washington, DC, or the museum in New York, NY.

Special Events
Special Events oversees internal museum events and works with external partners hosting celebrations in NMAI spaces. Interns in Special Events assist with event preparations, including compiling invitation lists, mailing and tracking RSVPs, coordinating vendors, and providing day-of event support. Interns also assist with managing the museum's booking calendar, departmental files, and donor database. Special Events interns learn Smithsonian event policies and procedures, logistics involved with event coordination, and donor and database management. Students interested in detail-oriented work who bring strong problem-solving skills, flexibility, and an enthusiasm for the museum's diverse audiences are encouraged to apply.


Additional fellowship and internship opportunities across the Smithsonian

Smithsonian Fellowships
Smithsonian Fellowship Program
Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship
Minority Fellowship Program

Smithsonian Internship Programs for Native Americans
Native American Awards Program
Native American Community Scholars Awards
Native American Visiting Student Awards