General Internship Program

Opportunities for our General Internship program are posted here when available. Although most are part-time and in the DC area, please note the specific hours and geographic location for each. While most are unpaid learning experiences, we are happy to work with a student’s college or university to help them obtain credit. 

Applications for all projects will be collected through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (https://solaa.si.edu/). Be sure to select "Smithsonian Institution Libraries" as the unit and "Smithsonian Institution Libraries Internship Program" as the program. You may then select the applicable projects.  Applications should include an essay detailing your academic and career goals and what you hope to learn through this internship, as well as a resume, academic transcripts and two references. 


Fall 2019 Opportunities are now open. Apply by July 3rd, 2019 for best consideration. Project details below.

Collections Processing: Cultural Heritage Legacy Library 
Location: Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex, Landover Maryland 

The intern will assist the branch librarian with collections processing of a large body of printed monographs. The intern will learn how to review un-accessioned monographs for possible integration or acquisition into the Smithsonian Libraries legacy collections. The intern will learn how to search materials against the Smithsonian's online catalog, SIRIS, and the global cooperative catalog, WorldCat. The intern will also have the opportunity to gain experience pre-processing monographs, creating provisional records, and applying bookplates in accordance with preservation standards, as needed.

The intern will gain library collections experience in a large government library environment at a prestigious research institution, will hone the bibliographic research strategies needed in a research environment, and gain insight into lifecycle and the development of a research library.  

The ideal candidate is an undergraduate in any research discipline with an interest in research libraries, how research collections are developed and maintained, and has a desire to explore if library collections work is suited to them; or, a student in a graduate program with an interest in folkloric and cultural heritage research collections. The candidate should have an astute attention to detail, good proofreading and editing skills, a willingness to ask questions, an ability to work independently in an organized work space, and comfort in quiet settings. The candidate must know how to navigate online research catalogs and enter data into Excel spreadsheets. Note: this internship takes place in a research library 30 minutes from downtown DC and is accessible by car, metro, and Smithsonian Shuttle. 


Donor Stewardship Program Development 
Location: Advancement Department, Washington  DC 

The Advancement Department seeks an intern to provide support in donor stewardship. The intern will have the opportunity to draft donor correspondence, create innovative and creative donor stewardship pieces and programs, learn about the process of writing and creating funding proposals, and learn about fundraising and stewardship as a field, an ever-growing and important area of library and museum work.  

The intern will work closely with all members of the SIL Advancement team, and have the opportunity to build relationships within the Director's Office as a whole and across the Smithsonian Libraries.  

Understanding and participating in fundraising has become more important for librarians especially those interested in special collections and library administration. This internship will give insight into the fundraising operations for the largest museum library system in the world. 

This opportunity would be ideal for an undergraduate or graduate student in libraries, information science or a related discipline. Candidate should have excellent oral and written communication skills and moderate to advanced proficiency in Microsoft products, especially Excel and Power Point, and graphic design. Preference for individuals with fundraising experience working with donors, board members or friends groups. 


Education: American Women's History Project
Location: Education Department, Washington, DC 

The ideal intern will currently be enrolled in or recently graduated from an undergraduate or Masters program in History, English, Communications, Museum Education, Library Science, or a related field. 

Smithsonian Libraries Education Department is looking for a Fall intern to further develop our American Women's History traveling trunk program. Through this internship, the candidate will: Assist with selection of Smithsonian Libraries and Archives images that explore and represent American women; Assist with selection of Smithsonian Institution 3D objects that complement SIL images and explore and represent diverse women; Assist with authoring lessons plans for classrooms on how to interact with the visual, tactile, and audio elements; Assist with differentiating these lesson plans based on 4 age groups across P-12 grades; Differentiate these lesson plans across 4 core concepts: STEM, Cultural History, Language Arts, and Social Justice. 

Through this internship, the student will have the opportunity to learn about working with historic materials to in developing Education programs. The student will learn how to work alongside experienced professionals. The student will hone skills in research, administrative management, digital media marketing, social networks, and developing an educational tool to be sent out to schools nationwide. Finally, the student will strengthen their knowledge of the library and museum fields. 

Education: School and Family Resources Development
Location: Education Department, Washington, DC 

The ideal intern will currently be enrolled in or recently graduated from an undergraduate or Masters program in English, Communications, Museum Education, Library Science, or a related field. 

Smithsonian Libraries Education Department is looking for a Fall intern to further develop our P-12 and family resources. Projects will include assessing the Fall launch of traveling trunk P-12 classroom resource and developing additional materials; Assisting in preparations for SIL's monthly story time program, teen docent program, and quarterly mystery event. Practical knowledge of youth, educational practices, and public programming highly desired. 

Through this internship, a student will learn how to develop and grow original digital and programmatic educational content; strengthen their knowledge of museum and library collections; and gain experience in assessment of current programmatic practices.  

Researching Art Ephemera Legacy Collections
Location: American Art/Portrait Gallery Library, Washington DC 

The internship is available for undergrad or graduate students enrolled or recently graduated from a degree program in library science, archives track, or art history. Intern should have good organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy. Interns should have knowledge of library research methods. Interest in solving mysteries a plus! 

From its inception, the American Art & Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library has collected ephemera from donors, curators, and other departments from within the Smithsonian to support American Art research. The intern will help process some of these legacy collections into the AAPG Art and Artist File Collections. Processing will include intensive art historical research to determine whether the materials are appropriate for our collection and keep detailed statistics. Additionally, the intern will consider archival and library best practices when adding new materials including removal of corrosive materials and housing. This will allow important hidden materials to be organized and accessible. 

Through this opportunity, the student will learn collection analysis techniques for a fine arts museum library and will have the opportunity to expand knowledge of the core research materials related to artists, movements, history, and theory. The intern will learn more about higher degrees of art historical research through researching the materials. 


World of Maps
Details on project description page.  

Additional Information

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Resume detailing your experience, career interests and internship goals
  • Unofficial Academic Transcriptions from all colleges/universities attended
  • Cover letter describing how academic goals, qualifications and career aspirations relate to the internship at Smithsonian Libraries
  • Two letters of professional or academic recommendation

All applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system: https://solaa.si.edu . Applicants should be sure to choose "Smithsonian Institution Libraries" as the unit, "Smithsonian Institution Libraries Internship" as the program and then their preferred projects.

Further inquiries about Smithsonian Libraries Internships should be directed to Erin Clements Rushing (rushinge@si.edu).

Additional information about the Libraries internship program may be found online: http://library.si.edu/internships-and-fellowships