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Internships

Looking for a creative and challenging museum career? The National Portrait Gallery, as a museum of the Smithsonian Institution, offers formal internships to qualified applicants. A Smithsonian internship is a prearranged, structured learning experience that takes place within a specific time period, usually two to three months. The experience should be relevant both to the intern's academic and professional goals and to the professional disciplines represented at the Smithsonian.

Library intern working in the library stacks

Questions?

Phone: (202) 633-8508
NPGInterns@si.edu

Mailing Address: 

Office of Education

National Portrait Gallery

P.O. Box 37012

Washington, D.C. 20013-0712

Various departments at the National Portrait Gallery sponsor interns throughout the year. Intern projects are based on interests and needs of the department, and are agreed upon by the mutual consent of the intern candidate and his or her supervisor.

The Lunder Conservation Lab is a visible lab in which conservation activities can be viewed by the public. Conservation examinations and treatments are completed for paintings, paper, and photographs in the Portrait Gallery’s collections.

An intern’s responsibility will vary according to level of experience. Activities include the examination and treatment of objects, as well as condition surveys and research.

Qualifications

Graduate level in conservation or above; however, the lab will consider pre-conservation program students with an undergraduate degree who are seriously considering a career in conservation when schedules permit.

Terms Internship Is Available

No internships are available at this time. Please check back for future internship opportunities.

Interns will assist the Department of History by helping to create and curate history-based exhibitions. They will assist historians in their service as advisers to the curators in matters relating to American history and biography, and evaluate the historical importance of individuals being considered for acquisition into the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.

Qualifications

An intern should be interested in American history, like historical research, and write well.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

 

The Department of Painting and Sculpture is a curatorial department responsible for acquiring, cataloging, and researching all paintings and sculpture in the Portrait Gallery. Members of the department also conduct research for special exhibitions and for publications on the history of American portraiture, as well as handle numerous public inquiries.

Interns in the department research objects in the NPG collections and conduct research on possible acquisitions. They may help with upcoming and current exhibitions curated by members of the department, and when appropriate they may support the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Qualifications

An intern should have a sound academic background in art history, American studies, or American history; good research and writing skills; and basic computer and image management skills. Preference will be given to college graduates and those with some graduate-level work.

Terms Internship Is Available

Summer 2016

The Department of Photographs is a curatorial office that has custody of the museum’s extensive collection of portrait photographs. The department’s activities include acquiring, documenting, researching, storing, and overseeing the conservation of these objects.

Collections management interns will assist the Department of Photographs with assessing, cataloging, and organizing the Frederick Hill Meserve Collection. This collection was a one-time acquisition of more than 5,400 wet-collodion glass-plate negatives, and a single vintage photographic print made by Mathew Brady and his studio. Duties related to this project include object handling, cataloging, assisting with assigning accession numbers, and working with the museum’s collections database, The Museum System (TMS).

Qualifications

Applicants should have a master’s degree or be in a graduate program, as well as have a strong background in art history, history of photography, American history, or museum studies; a familiarity with museum collections-management practices is preferred. Applicants should be organized and detail-oriented and be able to effectively communicate orally and in writing. Applicants must be comfortable working with Microsoft Word and Excel; familiarity with TMS is preferred.

Learning Objectives

This internship will provide an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a fast-paced work environment at a prestigious museum, and will offer valuable preparation for a future career in museums or other arts organizations. The intern will gain experience with cataloging, accessioning, and additional collections management skills.

Terms Internship Is Available 

Winter/Spring, Summer, Fall

The National Portrait Gallery’s Department of Prints, Drawings, and Media Arts oversees a diverse collection of portraits in forms ranging from advertisements, posters, lithographs, and pastels to videos, films, and digitized versions of hand-drawn animated film from the 1970s. The department’s curators acquire, document, and research these objects. They also organize special exhibitions, write interpretive texts, and answer public inquiries on a wide range of subjects.

The intern in this department will be introduced to the full range of curatorial activities and responsibilities. The intern will also be assigned several specific hands-on projects, in which he or she will work very closely with the two curators and the collections manager. Activities include handling works of art; observing conservation consultations; cataloguing objects; assembling documentary information for the permanent object files; and working with TMS, the NPG’s collection management system. The intern will also assist with future acquisitions and upcoming exhibitions.

Qualifications

Applicants should have a master’s degree or be enrolled in a graduate degree program in art history (preferably American art), American studies, or American history. Familiarity with the history of printmaking and various printmaking processes or media arts is preferred. Excellent organizational, research, and writing skills and basic computer and image management skills are desired. A time commitment of 16 to 20 hours per week will be required.

Terms Internship Is Available

Application deadlines: fall term, July 1; winter/spring term, October 15; summer term, January 31. For each term, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Interns will work directly with the NPG’s Curator of Latino Art and History, who is in charge of bringing into focus the contributions of Latinos to U.S. history and culture through acquisitions, exhibitions, and research. Responsibilities include researching Latino historical figures and portraits of them, as well as Latino contemporary artists working in portraiture. They may help with upcoming and current exhibitions on Latino art or history.

Qualifications

An intern should have a sound academic background in art history, Latino or Latin American studies, or American studies; good research and writing skills; Spanish reading and writing proficiency, and be able to use a word-processing program. Preference will be given to college graduates and those with some graduate-level work.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

The Smithsonian American Art/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, which houses 180,000 books, exhibition catalogs, special collections and serials, is concentrated in the areas of American art, portraiture, history, and biography; it contains supportive materials in European art. The AA/PG Library also contains artist vertical files, artists’ books, ephemeral materials, auction catalogs, scrapbooks, microforms, and electronic links to other information resources. It is part of a consortium of five art library branches of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

The library attempts to match projects with interns’ interests and abilities, and provides experience with the daily operations of a large art library serving the American Art and National Portrait Gallery staff, visiting scholars, interns, students, as well as members of the general public. NPG Library interns may work on current and ongoing projects that include (but are not limited to) special collections, gift and exchange, item level cataloging of periodicals, inventory of back issues, vertical files, and maintenance of the physical collection through space management and conservation procedures.

Qualifications

Interns should have good organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy. Interest in working in the field of librarianship is a plus, but those interested in getting hands-on experience in the fields of American art and history research may apply. Interns should have knowledge of library research methods and some familiarity with Microsoft applications. The internship is available for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a degree program for history, art history, or library science.

Terms Internship is Available

Two internship positions all terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

New Media consists of Web and Digital Media, Photographic Services, and Computer Services. Each office has individual responsibilities but they work closely together, and cross-departmental internships are often possible.

Web and Digital Media

The intern will work primarily on photography and/or videography for NPG’s social media channels and website. Projects will be largely for digital marketing and promotion. Interns will document new exhibitions and take “behind-the-scenes” footage and photos of staff at work, like conservators and art handlers. Interns may also document newsworthy happenings at the museum like portrait dedications and public events.  The intern may also do small graphic design projects for web and social media.

Qualifications

Interns should have basic photography and/or videography experience and familiarity with the Adobe Creative Suite, especially Photoshop. For graphic design and video work, interns should be familiar with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Premiere, respectively. The intern should have a demonstrated interest in museums, art, or history, and general aptitude with social media.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Office of Photographic Services

The Office of Photographic Services is a twofold operation. The studio side—with two photographic studios and a digital imaging processing center—creates the photographic archive of the NPG collection. Black-and-white and color prints are produced in-house for archival and cataloging purposes, as well as for publicity and reproduction in various publications.

The archival and sales side serves as the repository for images from the NPG collection, as well as the rights clearance and sales center for reproducing these images. In addition to housing and maintaining the archival photography, black-and-white and color prints, slides, and transparencies are made available internally and to scholars and the general public.

Interns assist in the photography of exhibitions and events. Additionally, the intern assists in the processing of digital images, making various size files for use both internally and outside of the Smithsonian. As the Smithsonian moves closer to a central asset management system, the organization and transfer of digital files will become central to our mission.

Qualifications

For studio work, an intern must possess knowledge of basic photographic principles and a proficiency in Photoshop. For archival and sales work, an intern should possess word-processing and database knowledge, as well as research and organizational skills.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multi-faceted story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development, and culture. Through powerful imagery, we connect people and their stories. Apply for an internship at the National Portrait Gallery, and help us keep America’s stories alive and vibrant for future generations.

The Office of Advancement is responsible for raising private support for the National Portrait Gallery. While Federal funding allows the museum to remain open and free of charge, it is only because of private support we are able to reach, inform, and inspire audiences with our one-of-a-kind collections, exhibitions, and outreach programs.

Interns will assist the Office of Advancement with a variety of projects including prospect identification and research, database management, membership support, fundraising communications, and special events planning. Interns will also have the opportunity to volunteer at exhibition openings and donor cultivation events.

This internship will provide an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a fast-paced work environment at a prestigious museum, and will prepare the intern for a career in the arts, museums, or nonprofits. The internship schedule is flexible, but full-time is preferred.

Qualifications

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 prospective and current donors, board members, museum visitors and fellow staff members. An interest in history and the visual arts is preferred. Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite is required.

Terms Internship is Available

All terms: Fall, Winter/Spring, and Summer.

The Office of Collections Information and Research administers reference and online programs for the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). Resources for staff and researchers include the NPG Collections Information System; the Catalog of American Portraits (CAP), a national portrait archives maintaining images and data for nearly 200,000 portraits in public and private collections; and the NPG website, which features a search menu for both NPG and CAP collections. The portrait archives and online database provide researchers with biographical information on subjects and artists, artist attributions, provenance, bibliographic and exhibition information, related works, and images of the portraits. A costume study composed of images of dated American portraits is also available to assist researchers in estimating execution dates for undated works.

Office of Collections Information and Research interns conduct research, verifying and updating information concerning American portraits in major public and private collections in the United States and abroad. Using library and online resources, interns catalogue portraits and research sitter and artist biographies, artist attributions and copyrights, execution dates, history of ownership and exhibitions, bibliographic citations, and related works. Interns scan and digitize images and add data and images to the computer database. Training on NPG’s database provides interns with knowledge of the information system used by most of the major museums in the US. Interns also work with the archival portrait files and assist in answering research requests from curatorial staff, scholars, and the public.

Qualifications

Interns should have good organizational skills and attention to detail, knowledge of library research methods, familiarity with computer systems, and an interest in American history or art history.

Terms Internship Is Available

Three internship positions all terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

The Office of Communications is responsible for all public relations for the museum, including corresponding with media, assisting with publicity for exhibitions and supporting media needs at special events. The Communications intern attends to daily responsibilities and ongoing special projects.

Routine tasks include monitoring and recording publicity garnered for the museum, researching media contacts, responding to visitor comments and addressing media inquiries. Digital image and credit line requests from independent researchers, media and museum visitors are commonly directed to the intern.

Prior to exhibition openings or special events, the intern assembles press kits and supports the public affairs staff at press previews. The intern may be asked to assist with film crews or photographers at the museum. There are often writing assignments, such as drafting media advisories, the calendar of events and materials for social media outlets. A candidate possessing strong writing skills is valued.

Qualifications

Interns are expected to be professional and reliable in the office. An intern must work well with museum visitors and the media, as well as NPG staff. An intern must possess the ability to research and organize information, then synthesize a concise written piece. The ability to manage time effectively and work independently is important. It is necessary to be comfortable with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: Fall, Spring and Summer.

The Office of Design and Production is responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of NPG’s public spaces, with particular emphasis on permanent collection and special exhibitions galleries.

Design and installation involves space planning, construction, selection of color, carpet, and all other decorative elements, case and pedestal design, fabrication, finishing, design and fabrication of object supports, collection installation, as well as graphic and lighting design and installation.

Interns should have knowledge of, or experience in, at least one of the following: general or graphic design, drafting, cabinet-making, and computer-assisted design (CAD) (e.g., VectorWorks, Mini-CAD), Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign.

Other exhibition-related experience, such as art-handling and installation, would be useful. Internships are available in graphic and in lighting design.

Exhibit and Graphics Production

The graphic design staff is responsible for the design, production, and installation of graphic elements of exhibition and other public spaces. This includes assisting with exhibition layouts; doing preparatory work for the exhibition planning process; typesetting labels and other texts; and producing and installing these labels and texts. The production staff is responsible for preparatory work in gallery spaces as well as art installation. The graphic design and production staffmembers are jointly responsible for maintaining gallery appearance and updating signs, banners, and posters.

Qualifications

Interns should have experience with at least two of the following Adobe Creative Suite programs: Bridge, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel is helpful. Interns should also have training in areas of graphic design such as typesetting and image scanning.Other useful skills include using production tools (cutting tools and tape measures) and mounting prints.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Lighting Design

The lighting design staff is responsible for the design and installation of exhibition lighting elements. Responsibilities include lighting artwork, architecture, and art objects.

Qualifications

Interns should have knowledge of, or experience in, at least one of the following areas: design, drafting, graphic design, computer assisted design (CAD), or graphic computer skills in VectorWorks or Photoshop. Any other related experience, such as photography, electronics, museum conservation, or studio art, is useful.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

The Office of the Director oversees all aspects of the National Portrait Gallery. Interns work on special projects in museum management, board meeting preparation and execution, correspondence, and other duties as assigned. Qualifications

Graduate students with a relevant interest and background in museum management are encouraged to apply. Knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point is required. Candidates should also have exceptional written communication skills, strong organizational skills, the ability to work independently as well as with a team, and must be extremely detail-oriented. Interns must be able to communicate in a professional, effective manner with prospective and current donors, commission members, museum visitors and fellow staff members and possess strong critical thinking skills. Interns are expected to be professional and reliable in the office. The ability to manage time effectively and work independently is important.

Terms Internship is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

The Office of Education is charged with making history come alive for its visitors through the art of portraiture. The department interacts with elementary and secondary school students, senior citizens, disabled persons, daily visitors, and interns. Information is disseminated through gallery tours, public programs, and educational outreach programs in order to address the full range of American history and portraiture and to reach the widest possible audience.

Intern and Docent Programs

NPG’s internship program organizes and facilitates formal internships within the museum. Internships should be relevant both to the intern's academic and professional goals and to the professional disciplines represented at NPG.

NPG’s docent program offers consistently high-quality tours that are fresh and interesting to visitors. Docents are specialized, part-time volunteer staff whose primary job is to give tours furthering NPG’s mission of telling our country’s history through the significant individuals depicted through the art of portraiture.

Intern and Docent Programs Internship Description

Interns assist with managing the day-to-day operations of the NPG intern program, which includes drafting, updating, and managing responses to applications; ensuring observance of deadlines; organizing and maintaining a file system for incoming applications; creating and updating the application process spreadsheet; and distributing applications to appropriate NPG staff. Interns also organize enrichment events for current interns and monitor the Internship Program Manual to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date, drafting new sections as requested. In addition, interns answer public inquires about museum programs, referring inquiries to staff as appropriate, and review NPG’s intern Web site for information accuracy, drafting updates as appropriate.

Interns also assist with the docent program, including researching sitters and artists for training sessions; assisting with development of text for training materials; assisting with the adult tour scheduling program; and drafting materials for the public, such as the Web site and tour scheduling modules. Interns also respond to oral and written inquiries about the adult tour program and schedule tours.

Qualifications

Interns should be organized and have an attention to detail. Experience with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel or sufficient experience with similar programs and the demonstrated ability and willingness to quickly learn these programs is required. Interns must have the ability to write clearly and concisely. Interns should be outgoing and personable; leadership or supervisory experience is helpful.

Terms Internship Is Available:

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Public Programs

Interns are responsible for providing support in the research, development, and production of NPG’s public programs. They provide logistical, administrative, and research support for our ongoing offerings to the public. The work requires interns to be flexible and open in their approaches to programming, as resources and priorities are subject to change. Areas of programming can include but are not limited to:

Author talks where authors of biographies on people in the Portrait Gallery collection visit and discuss son the subjects of their recent books with a live gallery audience.

Our "Portrait in a Minute" YouTube series, in which mini-biographies of sitters in our collection are researched, written, narrated and filmed for presentation as part of our on-line conversation with the nation about the diverse sitters and cultures that make up the NPG collection.

Living Self-Portraits identifies living persons who have made significant contributions to American culture and can expect to be included in our collection of sitters. The program interviews the sitters in front of live audiences

Film presentations where films linked to the history-makers in NPG’s collection are viewed and discussed by presenters, including filmmakers, biographers, historians, actors, and activists, from all over the country.

Qualifications

Interns need to have general knowledge of American history or art, as well as proficiency in library research. Interpersonal and writing skills are essential, and some knowledge of word processing, PowerPoint, and computer spreadsheet programs is required.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Teacher Programs

Providing professional development experiences for teachers across the nation is critical to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery’s Office of Education. NPG educators use portrait-reading techniques with teachers as a springboard for a deeper conversation about various sitters or the era in they lived. The office takes part in the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History (TAH) Grant Program. The program is designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge and understanding of and appreciation for traditional U.S. history. School districts partner with entities such as the Portrait Gallery to develop, document, evaluate, and disseminate innovative and cohesive models of professional development.

Interns will work on researching content for and brainstorming lesson ideas for Teaching American History workshops. They will also be involved in other miscellaneous projects related to school and teacher programs.

Qualifications

An intern needs to have general knowledge of American history or art, as well as proficiency in library research. Interpersonal and writing skills are essential, and some knowledge of word processing and computer spreadsheet programs is required. A degree in education or coursework in pursuing a degree at the undergraduate or graduate level is preferred.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Qualifications

An intern needs to have general knowledge of American history or art, as well as proficiency in library research. Interpersonal and writing skills are essential, and some knowledge of word processing and computer spreadsheet programs is required. A degree in education or coursework in pursuing a degree at the undergraduate or graduate level is preferred. Terms Internship Is Available: All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Youth and Family Programs

Youth and Family Programs at the National Portrait Gallery are created with the Office of Education's goals in mind: to present programs that “inform, involve, and inspire” the visitor. Each program contains components that allow visitors to have an interactive gallery experience and a chance to create something inspired by their visit to the NPG. Programming may correspond to a special exhibition or to the permanent collection.

Youth and Family Programs Academic Year Internship Description

Interns assist the youth and family program coordinator with the administration and facilitation of a range of programs, including assisting with clerical duties, such as scheduling programs and entering statistical data into spreadsheets and reports; assisting in the preparation of program materials; and facilitating programs on weekends.

Interns may also assist with the research of sitters, artists, and special topics for use in developing new programs and educational materials. Interns respond to registration requests for programs, both oral and written, and answer basic questions about youth and family programs. They support the youth and family program coordinator with the scheduling of Girl Scout and after-school programs for the academic year and tours for children’s groups in the summer and help prepare documents and for the Portraits Alive! Teen Ambassador Program.

Qualifications

Interns should possess a general knowledge of (and interest in) American history, art, and portraiture. Interns should be organized, with a strong attention to detail, and have good interpersonal and writing skills. A proficiency in library research and interest in museum education is important. Experience in working with children and their families—from ages pre-K through grade 12—is helpful. Candidates should possess basic knowledge and skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in education or art are preferred, but mature high school students will be considered.

Internship Availability

Internship available each term: fall, and winter/spring.

Portraits Alive! Teen Ambassador Program Summer Internship Description

Interns assist the youth and family program coordinator with all aspects of the administration and facilitation of the Portraits Alive! Teen Ambassador Program during a ten-week period from mid-June through the third week in August. The duties for this internship include calendar and timekeeping for teens, general office duties, and assistance with facilitating tours for visiting children’s groups. (See Portraits Alive! Teen Ambassador Program on the Web site’s Youth and Family page for more information on this program.)

Qualifications

Interns should possess a general knowledge of (and interest in) American history, art, and portraiture. Interns should be organized, with a strong attention to detail, and have good interpersonal and writing skills. A proficiency in library research and interest in museum education is important. Experience in working with school-age children and teens is required. Candidate should possess basic knowledge and skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in education or art are preferred.

Internship Availability

Internship available each summer: mid-June through the third week of August.

Internships within the Office of Exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery provide recent college graduates, graduate students, or qualified college students with experience in exhibition-related and audio/visual projects. Intern will become proficient in and utilize the Portrait Gallery’s collections management software, The Museum System (TMS) and may also be tasked with using the Smithsonian’s Digital Access Management System (DAMS).

Responsibilities in the Exhibitions Department will include creating and updating object, loan, and exhibition records; entering loan agreement requirements; tracking loan fees; researching and tracking license and copyright information; and preparing license requests. The intern would also have the opportunity to work on projects related to traveling exhibitions such as assisting with drafting marketing language for exhibition prospectuses, researching potential venues, assembling and mailing marketing materials to prospective venues, and documenting results from museums who have hosted an exhibition.

The intern would be involved with ongoing work in the Audio/Visual (AV) Archive. The intern would assist the AV Cataloguer with tasks such as reviewing, processing, and cataloguing analog and digital media, performing research to enhance current records and archival procedures, and transcribing digital videos. The intern may be asked to create/maintain MS Excel and Access databases.

The intern may also assist New Media department with similar tasks of preparing audio/visual assets for transfer to DAMS, including cataloguing recent audio and video files and ensuring naming conventions match TMS cataloguing format. The intern may be asked to assist department staff and/or AV Cataloguer with other short-term tasks as needs arise, and according to the intern’s interest in wider exposure to the activities of the Department of Exhibitions.

In addition, the Exhibitions intern will be invited to department meetings and Exhibition committee meetings, encouraged to take part in SI-wide internship activities and related workshops, and learn the ins and outs of the National Portrait Gallery.

Qualifications

Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in museums, art, or history, as well as an understanding of historical research, project management, and exhibition development. Experience in collections work is a plus. Additional qualifications include: familiarity with Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel; strong organizational skills; knowledge of database software (ex: Microsoft Access); and strong writing skills.

Terms Internship Is Available

Fall, Spring, and Summer intern applications will be reviewed; selections subject to office needs and applicant experience and programmatic compatibility.

The Publications Department is responsible for developing, editing, and producing books, catalogues, and brochures for the Portrait Gallery. All material published by NPG staff comes through this office to ensure accuracy and uniformity of style. An intern should have an interest in publishing and the publications process and should be detail-oriented, with a background in American history, art history, or English. Facility with Microsoft Word is a must; knowledge of Excel and Access is helpful. Exceptional grammar and proofreading skills are required.

Terms Internship Is Available

No internship currently available. Please check back for future internship opportunities.

The Office of the Registrar is responsible for the safekeeping of objects in the Portrait Gallery’s collections, as well as objects in temporary custody for possible acquisition, special exhibitions, and study purposes. The office creates and maintains the official records for all objects in NPG collections. The office also oversees the storage, packing and shipping of objects, and maintains insurance documentation and legal custody agreements (loan agreements) for loaned objects

Interns will work on the on-going accession file project, creating the files that hold the official documents pertaining to the acquisition of collection objects. Interns will assist the Registrar staff with collections movement and inventory, as well as condition reporting and packing/unpacking art objects. Interns may have the opportunity to work on collections storage projects and object cataloging projects. Interns will be trained to use the gallery's collections management database, The Museum System (TMS), for the purposes of generating reports, and possible data entry. Interns may be asked to assist department staff with other short-term tasks as needs arise. Work will occur at the NPG's offices in the Victor Building, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art & Portraiture, and at the off-site storage facility in Largo, MD.

Qualifications

Applicants should have a background in American history, art history, or museum studies and have a knowledge of basic museum collections management practices, including collections care, documentation, and information systems. Applicants should be organized and detail-oriented and be able to effectively communicate orally and in written format with NPG staff and other interns. Applicants must be comfortable working with computers in a Windows environment and must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel and Access. Familiarity with Adobe Photoshop is a plus.

Terms Internship Is Available

All terms: fall, winter, spring, and summer

Please apply using the Smithsonian online application system at https://solaa.si.edu.

Please be aware that complete applications must include the following:

  • Internship program application form
  • Academic transcripts (unofficial are acceptable)
  • Personal essay (use this to tell us how the internship will advance your academic/career goals)
  • Two letters of reference

The application deadline for summer 2016 internships is March 1, 2016. Applications for fall, winter, and spring internships are accepted on an ongoing basis. The length of time that an applicant is available as an intern is a consideration in the evaluation of applications. Interns are encouraged to have health insurance.

Essential Tips for the Online Application

  • Do NOT submit your application until all necessary components are uploaded (i.e., transcripts, personal essay, resume). Once these are submitted, you cannot upload anything else or change anything within the application.
  • Upload your documents as a .pdf or .jpeg file. Other file formats will upload, but may not hold your formatting commands.
  • An unofficial or official transcript can be uploaded by first scanning the document and saving it as a pdf or jpeg.
  • Make sure that you click the “send e-mail” button. This triggers the system to e-mail your references with instructions to them for uploading the reference letter. Please advise your references of this in advance.

Eligibility

The National Portrait Gallery offers internships to undergraduate and graduate students and to individuals not affiliated with academic programs who have research or museum career interests. The availability of internships depends upon departmental projects and staff needs, as well as the background, skills, and interests of the applicant. Qualifications vary depending upon the project, but most are for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. Please read the specific intern positions above before selecting projects on your application.

Credit

The Smithsonian does not award college credit, but many U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning. Contact your academic adviser for instructions on how to receive credit.

Stipends

Most NPG internships are unpaid volunteer positions. Some funded internships are available on a competitive basis through the Office of Fellowships (202-633-7070).

Questions

If you have any questions about the application process, please send inquiries to npgInterns@si.edu. If you have questions concerning the SOLAA application, please go to the Help section on the SOLAA Web site.