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Internship Projects

Internships with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) are a unique opportunity to participate in the making of a new museum. Interns complete projects using the resources of NMAAHC and other Smithsonian Institution museums and offices. Internships are an opportunity for students to assist in the building of the museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs and to meet professionals in the museum field. Projects vary by department. Most projects provide interns with museum practice and program development experience; some projects are research oriented. Internships are offered based upon the availability of professional staff. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Office of Curatorial Affairs Internship Projects

Cataloging and Meta Data

Interns assist the Registrar and Collections Managers on projects to create catalog records for and enhance records in the Museum’s Collection Information System, TMS, and for the Digital Assets Management System (DAMS). Tasks may involve creating inventories of collection items or digital assets; conducting research on collection items and on makers, authors, and artists of collection items; drafting content for TMS core fields; entering data into TMS; assisting with production of a guide to data and content standards; and assisting with reviewing records for accuracy.

Collection Preservation

Interns assist the Registrar and Collection Managers to process collections and prepare them for storage. Tasks may involve photographing collection items; assisting with condition reports; cleaning and numbering collection items; and assisting with rehousing and placing collection items in storage units.


Interns assist Curators and Historians with tasks related to collection acquisition, exhibitions, and specific research topics. Tasks may include conducting research for and preparing acquisition proposals; conducting research and assisting with the planning of the Museum’s pre-building and inaugural exhibitions; and conducting research on collection items and specific research topics.

Education Internship Project

The intern will assist the members of the Education Department staff in one or more of the following areas: public programs, teacher and student programs, publications, audience evaluation, and technology and exhibition research. The intern must have solid computer and research skills, demonstrated initiative, and the ability to work independently.

Exhibition Design and Development Internship Project

The intern will assist in the planning and development of the museum’s ten inaugural exhibitions as well as pre-opening changing exhibitions at NMAAHC’s gallery located within the National Museum of American History (NMAH). Duties may include design research and planning, review and tracking of design deliverables (drawings, specifications, samples, etc.), visiting and critiquing exhibitions in other DC museums, assisting with the installation of changing exhibitions as NMAH, and meeting with suppliers and manufacturers of design-related products and services.

The intern will work closely with and be supervised by the NMAAHC Chief of Design.

Media Relations Project

The intern will assist the Media Relations Officer in all facets of a busy media office. Under supervision, the intern will write press releases and media advisories. The intern may be given some writing assignments for the Smithsonian employee newspaper, the Torch. Other support duties include compiling mailing lists, faxing and copying press releases, maintaining media files and producing press kits. The intern must have solid computer and research skills, demonstrated initiative and the ability to work independently.