General Internship Program

Intern with ipad and natural history bookBelow are a list of projects currently available for the Spring 2018 General Internship Program. Although most internships are part-time and in the DC area, please note the specific hours and geographic location for each. Intenrships in this program are unpaid learning experiences but 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 ( 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 are due November 15th, 2017 or until filled. 

Modern and Contemporary Art, A to Z
(Artists’ Files at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library)

Dates preferred:  Spring academic semester    

Location of internship: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, Washington DC
This opportunity would be ideal for a candidate who is an undergraduate or graduate student studying art history, art, library science, or archival studies. Some prior knowledge of the major movements in 20th and 21st century art is preferred. Knowledge of additional world languages is useful but not required. The ability to focus on detailed work and perform fine motor skills is necessary.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries artists’ files are an exceptional resource for art historical research. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library holds more than 41 file drawers on over 2,000 artists, art institutions, and collectors of modern and contemporary art. This project consists of learning how to evaluate the existing folder content for retention and deaccession; updating the physical housing of the collection to current archival standards; reorganizing and relabeling folder content; and reconciling collection holdings in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Art & Artist Files Database. The intern will also develop social media stories and blog posts to highlight the collection, the content of which could be thematic or focused on one or more objects or artists.

Through this experience, the intern will learn or bolster collections management experience in the areas of preservation assessment, use of online resources to assess digitization need, effective use of electronic catalog records and databases to identify items, and how to collaborate across departments.         

Natural & Physical Sciences Libraries Intern

Dates preferred: February-May, 2018
Location of internship: National Museum of Natural History Library, Main Branch, National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC)
This opportunity would be ideal for a candidate who is a library school candidate with an interest in science and some background in writing.  

The intern would research individual books and learn how to create Adopt-a-Book descriptive entries for the Smithsonian Libraries’ website. The intern will also work with the Libraries’ research guides, learning to develop research guides for the Web in a real-world situation and gain experience in developing a project plan to subdivide and better adapt research guides to user needs.  In addition, the intern may have the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in other common areas of research library work, including shelving and Information Desk duty.

Evaluation of scientific opuscula held in the Botany and Horticulture Library

Dates preferred: April-May 2018, part-time.

Location of internship: Botany and Horticulture Library, National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC).

This opportunity would be ideal for students who want to go into library reference work, specifically science reference, who have well-developed online search skills.

This internship position will involve learning more about general library service assistance, particularly in the Botany and Horticulture Library, in addition to a major project.  This internship will be part time, a maximum of two days a week and a maximum of two months.  The intern will have the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in general library skills such as: accurately reshelving materials, handling circulation issues, and providing reference assistance to patrons (independently or under general supervision by the Branch Librarian).  

The major project will involve evaluating the library's holdings of uncataloged opuscula scientific works.  These are works where articles and monographs have been bound together based on author or subject matter or both (a common practice in the early twentieth century by scientists).  The project will involve determining which items are duplicates and already in the collection and/or available online electronically.  The ultimate goal is to figure out which ones are rare and valuable enough that they should be candidates for future original cataloging.

Social Media & Outreach

Dates preferred: Any 4-8 weeks during the spring semester, part-time.

Location of internship: Combination of in-person and virtual participation is preferred. In-person duty station will be the National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC).
This opportunity would be ideal for students pursing a Library and Information Science Masters with strong writing and research skills and experience with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  Students with a demonstrated interest in library marketing are strongly encouraged to apply.

In 2018, the Smithsonian Libraries will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a variety of exciting outreach activities.  The Social Media and Outreach Intern will be mentored by the Outreach Librarian and learn to produce social media content that is designed to support the Libraries’ outreach objectives. In addition, the intern will assist in organizing lectures and tours and learn to market library programs. The intern may also have the opportunity to create custom graphics and experiment with animated media such as GIFs and video for post content.