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.

Interns are selected by a review committee made up of five NMAI staff. Approximately twenty-five percent of applicants are accepted for internships during any one-year period.

Internship projects for all internships at the NMAI, except in Conservation, are listed below. To apply for an internship in NMAI Conservation, visit Conservation Training.

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:

Spring: Starting third full week of March
Summer: Starting first 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 20
Summer: February 6
Fall: July 12

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 academic and professional 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 "National Museum of the American Indian" 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
  • Transcripts (unofficial are preferred)
  • CV or résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation: SOLAA system allows references to confidentially upload letters into your application.

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 301-238-1496.

Is there financial support (i.e., a stipend) for this internship?
Yes, stipends may be provided to students whose applications are submitted on time and who are accepted into the program. Students receiving stipends must intern full-time (forty hours per week). Per Smithsonian Institution regulations, stipend amounts can typically range from $1000 to $4000 for a ten-week session. The amount of the stipend depends on the amount of funds available and is at the discretion of the NMAI. Students who live in the Washington, D.C., region may receive a stipend that will offset the costs of commuting—approximately $500–$1000 for a ten-week session.

Do I have to be Native American?
No! The internship program is open to anyone.

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 on a 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 at the NMAI, you will spend ten weeks in one department only. If you want to gain a lot of experience in a specific aspect of museum work, then this internship will work for you.

If there are further questions, please email nmaiinterns@si.edu or call 301-238-1496.

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, D.C., 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 in Archivists' Toolkit, write collection records for inclusion in the Smithsonian's online MARC database, 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.

Repatriation
The Repatriation Department offers a departmental records archiving internship for the summer of 2018. The intern will assist in the arrangement, description, and development of an internal information organization system for the digital and hard copy files of repatriation cases that are maintained by the Repatriation Manager. The Intern will learn records management and become familiar with repatriation law, policy, and case-work. Responsibilities include but are not limited to scanning, archiving, cataloging, organizing and maintenance of digital and hard copy files. Students interested in archives, digital humanities, and repatriation history are encouraged to apply. The intern will also be encouraged to attend meetings, meet NMAI staff, and learn about the Museum, its projects and the Smithsonian in general during the period of the internship.

Safety
The intern will participate in the behind-the-scenes safety operations at the National Museum of the American Indian. Safety Interns will gain a general understanding of the Smithsonian Institution Safety program, occupational safety and health standards. An internship with the Safety Coordinator will focus on safety compliance at NMAI-DC and NMAI-CRC. Interns will assist in updating the recorded status of workplace hazards, creating 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 our inspection status NMAI-wide and for inclusion in the electronic safety newsletter. The intern may participate in operations meetings, provide safety updates and hazard condition reports. Students in Occupational Safety and Health programs, like 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. Computer 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 the 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, D.C.

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, WASHINGTON, D.C.

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, Washington, D.C., 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.

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 K-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 will also conduct research for prospective donors and grants, and assist in providing Development administrative support. Interns also learn about special projects, and NMAI initiatives to Native communities across the Americas.

Education
The education office works to support the continuance of Native cultures, traditional values and learning about contemporary Native issues by providing engaging educational experiences for teachers, parents, and students through our programs and resources. The intern will enhance the education work of the museum by helping provide relevant learning experiences to our primary audience of teachers and students through such things as lesson alignment with local, National and NMAI standards, 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, 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. Computer proficiency is required in Excel with knowledge of design programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator and In Design) preferred but not required. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required.

Exhibition Design
Exhibition design interns participate in the behind-the-scenes work of developing and planning exhibitions. Most of this work takes place long before any artifacts are installed. Exhibitions internships may include research, fact checking, planning and coordination, assembling visual resources, and other steps that contribute to an exhibit design. While interns may be assigned to a specific exhibit, multiple exhibits are at different stages of development simultaneously, and interns may be able to participate in other stages in the process. Students of Museum Studies and design-related fields such as Exhibition Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, or Graphic Design may benefit from this opportunity. Experience in 3D modeling, CAD drafting, or graphic design is desirable but not necessary. Computer proficiency is required. You may be asked to provide examples of your design or creative work.

Executive Planning and Executive Offices
The Executive Planning Office (EPO) and Executive Office (EO) facilitates the NMAI's most complex and high profile projects including major exhibitions, sponsored programs, building renovations, large object loans, and public art installations. Project managers and staff assistants work across the various units of the museum on the coordination of time, personnel, and potentially large financial resources, given a project's multi-faceted components. In addition, they work to address legal implications of project work such as copyright and contractual obligations. Internships in the EPO and the EO offer an opportunity to learn more about the integration of work across diverse areas such as conservation, customer service, education, media, visitor services, and with other units across the Smithsonian. There is a strong emphasis on strategic planning, team leadership, and the tools available for project managers to succeed. An internship experience in the EPO and EO will explore general museum operations and the project planning process, and is best suited for those students interested in pursuing the fields of museum and native studies and/or non-profit management, project management in museums, legal issues in museum administration and executive office protocol and representation.

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. The intern will gain an understanding of museum education practices by exploring strategies that engage young visitors and interpret Native American cultures; experience various facets of the public program divisions such as Visitor Services, Community Programs, and solve on-the-job museum challenges. Prerequisites include an interest in American Indian cultures of the Western Hemisphere, early childhood and museum Education; being comfortable interacting with children (0-12 years) and their families; showing ability to be outgoing and reliable. Bilingual candidates are a plus 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. Please note the work schedule of Tuesday to Saturday from 9AM to 5:30PM. This internship involves frequent walking, standing, bending down, or sitting on the floor and on small chairs for extended periods.

Interpretive Program Development
Interpretive Program internships are designed to provide interns with broad experience in the best practices of program development and implementation methodology, and techniques and to explore how these are used at the NMAI on the National Mall. Interpretive Program interns participate in prototyping and evaluating new interpretive programs.

Marketing and Communications
Interns will learn how to effectively promote museum activities through marketing, publicity and social media. They will learn how to analyze and compile reports on the efficacy of social media and learn to report on trending social outlets/topics to enhance their learning objectives and contribute to the social media mix for the museum. Interns will 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 either 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
The Public Program department plans and implements all aspects of the museum's programs calendar. In collaboration with other NMAI departments, Smithsonian museums, Washington, D.C., embassies, 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 with the museum's visitors. 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 Public Programs records.

Special Events
Special Events oversees internal museum events and works with external partners looking to host celebrations in the NMAI. Interns with Special Events will assist with NMAI event preparations including compiling invitation lists, sending out mailings and tracking RSVPs, coordinating vendors, and providing day-of event support. Interns will also assist with managing the museum's booking calendar, departmental files, and donor database. Interns will 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 the 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
GEORGE GUSTAV HEYE CENTER

One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004

The George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) opened in 1994 in the newly renovated Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in lower Manhattan. The Heye Center features temporary exhibitions and a range of public programs./p>

Due to building renovations and limited staffing at the NMAI-NY, internships in the following areas are available intermittently.

Education
The Education Department works to inspire and promote improved teaching about American Indians and transform popular and widely taught interpretations of Native history, cultures, and contemporary lives. The intern will enhance and support the education work of the museum by helping to provide relevant and engaging learning experiences and resources for our diverse school and community audiences, which includes teachers, students, youth, children, and families. Responsibilities include assisting with: curriculum development, such as lesson alignment with local, National and NMAI standards; research on teaching strategies and approaches, such as inquiry-based learning, practice and impact, education technology, and hands-on learning; theme or exhibition-based Education programs, such as teacher training, student group visits, weekend and afterschool workshops, and family programs; community engagement and outreach; and developing, improving, and analyzing evaluation tools and data. Qualifications include a strong interest in formal or informal education and related fields such as anthropology, museum, social studies, and social justice education, digital learning, and art and visual culture education. Candidates should be able to apply theory to practice, have excellent research, writing, and interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to engage audiences with diverse backgrounds and learning styles,. Candidates should be able to work independently and collaboratively in a professional environment; handle multiple tasks at once; and adhere to deadlines. Computer proficiency is required in Adobe and Excel, design programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and In Design are preferred but not required. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required. Note for the Summer 2018 term, only a part-time position is available with required hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Marketing and Communications
Interns will learn how to effectively promote museum activities through marketing, publicity and social media. They will learn how to analyze and compile reports on the efficacy of social media and learn to report on trending social outlets/topics to enhance their learning objectives and contribute to the social media mix for the museum. Interns will 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 either the museum in Washington, DC or the museum in New York, NY.


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 Community Scholars Awards
Native American Visiting Student Awards