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, persons with disabilities, 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.
Docent and Intern Programs
The National Portrait Gallery’s internship program organizes and facilitates formal internships within the museum. Departmental placements are assigned based on their relevance to both the intern’s academic and professional goals and to the professional disciplines represented at the Portrait Gallery.
The Portrait Gallery’s docent program offers consistently high-quality tours that provide an interesting and engaging learning experience for visitors. Docents are specialized, part-time volunteer staff whose primary responsibility is to give tours that further the National Portrait Gallery’s mission of telling our country’s history through the significant
Interns assist with managing the day-to-day operations of the National Portrait Gallery’s intern program. Responsibilities include conducting administrative tasks such as maintaining the Portrait Gallery’s intern email account, ensuring observance of deadlines for special projects, overseeing outreach to intern supervisors and departmental directors, and providing general office support.
Additionally, interns organize enrichment events for current interns as a means of cohort building and professional development—these events include: tours to local museums and other Smithsonian Institutions and conversations with Portrait Gallery staff, administrators, and curators.
Interns also provide support for the National Portrait Gallery’s docent program. Responsibilities include: observing docent- led tours, attending training sessions, researching sitters and artists for training sessions and specialty requests, and developing informational hand-outs on topics including audience experience and tour facilitation.
Interns should be organized and have an attention to detail, and must be able to write clearly and concisely. 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 preferred. Interns should also be outgoing and personable; leadership or supervisory experience is helpful.
College undergraduates of any class year, as well as college graduates and graduate school students are encouraged to apply.
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 management, museums, or other nonprofits. The intern will learn valuable organizational and resource management skills including volunteer management and small event planning.
Terms Internship Is Available:
Fall, winter/spring, and summer.
Interns are responsible for providing support in the research, development, and production of The National Portrait Gallery’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’s collection visit and discuss some the subjects of their recent books with a live gallery audience.
"Portrait in a Minute": A 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 museum’s collection.
Film Screenings: Films linked to the history-makers represented in the museum’s collection are viewed, often accompanied with a discussion by presenters, who may include filmmakers, biographers, historians, actors, and activists, from all over the country.
Interns need to have general knowledge and interest in American history and art. To preform intern responsibilities, a proficiency in research is necessary. A strong writing ability and interpersonal skills are essential and required. Basic Microsoft knowledge is needed.
This internship will provide an exciting experience offering an introductory understanding of the essential role of public engagement, while yielding the opportunity to learn and work at a prestigious museum. After this experience, the intern will be prepared to pursue an entry level job in a museum, with the career goal of working in arts management, or other cultural institutions that emphasize community and education. Above all, the intern will further develop his/her research and writing skills, having provided valuable work at the inception of and for the production of a public program.
Terms Internship Is Available
All terms: fall, winter/spring, and summer.
Student and Teacher Programs
Providing professional development experiences for teachers and gallery experiences for students is critical to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery’s Office of Education. Portrait Gallery educators use portrait-reading techniques as a springboard for a deeper conversation about various sitters or the era in which they lived.
Interns will work with the Student and Teacher Programs Manager preparing for and implementing the Portrait Gallery’s Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institutes. In addition, they will work on researching content and brainstorming lesson ideas for student programs for the upcoming academic year. They will also be involved in other miscellaneous projects related to student and teacher programs.
An intern needs to have general knowledge of American history or art history, 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.
This internship will provide an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a fast-paced work environment at a prestigious museum, and will help prepare the intern for a career in museum education. The intern will learn valuable skills including program management, education program creation for a variety of audiences, and small event planning.
Terms Internship Is Available
Full Time, Summer; application deadline March 31
Interns assist the Teen Programs Specialist with the administration and facilitation of a range of programs, including the Teen Museum Council, IMAGINE = IMAGE Photography workshop and the Portraits Alive! Teen Ambassador Program. Interns assist the Teen Programs Coordinator with all aspects of these programs over the course of the internship term.
Interns provide support for Teen Museum Council, IMAGINE= IMAGE, and Portraits Alive! by conducting general clerical duties, such as scheduling and helping prepare documents, entering statistical data into spreadsheets and reports; calendar and timekeeping for teen participants, assisting in the preparation of program materials; and assisting with the facilitation of the programs and tours for visiting groups.
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 Teen Programs.
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 high school teenagers—from freshmen to seniors—is helpful. Candidates should possess basic knowledge and skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in education, art, art history, history, museum education, and museum studies are preferred.
This internship will provide a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in a fast-paced work environment at a prestigious museum, and will allow for the intern to develop skills in engaging teens, fostering creativity, and empowering young voices. The internship will also provide opportunities for the intern to engage with the National Portrait Gallery’s collections meaningfully and participate in educational programming.
Terms Internship is Available
Fall, Winter/Spring, 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 Portrait Gallery. Programming may correspond to a special exhibition or to the permanent collection. 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, including developing and demonstrating art activities; and facilitating programs, including occasional weekend programs. Interns may also conduct research on sitters, artists, and special topics for use in developing new programs and educational materials. Interns also assist the youth and family program coordinator with planning and scheduling Girl Scout programs for the academic year and preparing weekly educational programs for visitors learning English.
Interns should possess a general knowledge of (and interest in) American history, art, and portraiture. They 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. Interns should also possess basic knowledge and skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in education or art are preferred.
This internship will provide experience in planning and facilitating a variety of engaging public programs. The intern will learn skills and trends in museum education relating to visitors of all ages, from toddlers to adults. This hands-on experience will provide knowledge for a career in education, museums, or other nonprofits.
Internship available each term: fall, and winter/spring, and summer.