Internships and Fellowships
The internship program of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives provides students in library, archival, or information science and candidates in related disciplines a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Interns work with expert Libraries and Archives staff and other Smithsonian staff to acquire the latest skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience needed for today’s information and cultural heritage workplace.
All academic appointees, including virtual or remote interns, must be fully vaccinated for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized (or, for international remote interns, a WHO-recommended) COVID-19 vaccine or have an approved Reasonable Accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements. Please see additional information regarding reasonable accommodations here.
The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives welcomes current or recent undergraduate and graduate students who wish to gain experience in archives or museum libraries. The Libraries and Archives is dedicated to building diversity in the library, archival, and information science profession.
Students and graduates from Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) of higher education, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) are encouraged to apply to our programs. In addition, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives welcomes students from community college programs.
Internships are typically eight weeks in length offered for summer semesters. Part-time options, practicums and for-credit internships may be available. Opportunities vary and are based on available programs and projects. Please see “Programs and Projects” for complete information. In addition to opportunities specific to their project, interns will participate in activities designed to enhance their learning experience, including tours, presentations, and informational interviews. All Smithsonian Libraries and Archives interns prepare a blog post summarizing their work.
Smithsonian Libraries and Archives does not award academic credit, but many U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning. Contact your academic advisor for instructions on how to receive credit. Interns are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation. There is no parking specifically available for interns at the Smithsonian. Public transportation options, including rail and bus, are located close to most internship sites. Interns do not receive transportation benefits. Virtual/remote interns should have reliable access to a computer and internet connection.
For general information about internship opportunities with other Smithsonian museums and research centers, please visit the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships website. For all Smithsonian Libraries and Archives internship inquiries, please email SLAintern@si.edu.
Programs and Projects
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library: Modern and Contemporary Art, A to Z Internship
Kathryn Turner Diversity and Technology Internship (on hold for 2023)
Professional Development (CANCELED for 2023)
Practicum/Field Study Program (limited availability)
Applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments system (SOLAA). Applicants should select “Smithsonian Libraries and Archives” as the unit and the appropriate program and project. Please be sure to review individual program and project descriptions before submitting your application.
The following items must be included and uploaded into the SOLAA system as part of your application:
- Essay of 500 to 1,000 words describing your learning objectives, qualifications, and career aspirations and how they relate to this internship.
- Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded into SOLAA. Do not mail physical copies.
- Contacts for two professional or academic recommendations.The candidate inputs names and emails into the SOLAA application system. References are automatically sent an electronic survey and have an opportunity to upload a traditional reference letter. Candidate should be sure to communicate this process to their references and input email addresses accurately.
The Smithsonian is committed to ensuring that all employees and affiliated persons (including interns) are treated equitably in an environment that is free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, gender stereotyping, pregnancy, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status or marital status. All personnel practices, including the selection of interns, must comply with this policy.
Most Smithsonian Libraries and Archives projects take place during the summer (late May through early September). Applications typically open in early December for the following year.
For Summer 2023, the application deadline for is February 13th, 2023. Applicants will be updated of their status by late March.
Fall: Pending project availability.
Spring: Pending project availability.
Situated at the center of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries is a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record of the past. The Libraries is uniquely positioned to help scholars understand the continuing vitality of this relationship, via exceptional research resources ranging from 13th-century manuscripts to electronic journals.
Deadline: Normally, the deadline for applications for the Smithsonian Libraries Resident Scholar Programs is January 15 for appointments during the following academic year (September 1 through August 31). Due to the pandemic closure (March 2020 – June 2022), however, we are currently hosting fellows deferred from 2019-2021 and not accepting applications for the 2024 academic year (September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024).
The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program provides support for scholarly research in the history of science and technology that makes use of the rare books and manuscripts of the Dibner Library. The Baird Society Resident Scholar Program provides support for scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC and New York, NY, in an extensive range of subject areas.
Please see the individual program websites for details.
Travel awards to work with collections
The Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards allow mid-career educators to be in residence and utilize the Smithsonian Libraries distinctive collections, focusing on science, history, culture and arts. The awards are open to middle & high school teachers, college teachers, and museum educators working on curriculum development or publications in print or electronic form.