Summer Scholars Internship Program

Applications for this program have closed for Summer 2023.

The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives provides students in library, archival, information science, and related disciplines a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with expert libraries and Archives staff to acquire the latest skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience needed for today’s information and cultural heritage workplace. Through this program, we aim to help diversify the library, archive, and museum fields by providing guided learning opportunities to students and other qualified candidates from varied economic, cultural, social, and educational backgrounds.

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.

Interns are eligible for a stipend of $700 a week (pro-rated if part-time). Appointees who perform their internship on-site may be eligible for an additional one-time travel allowance to offset relocation expenses. Virtual/remote interns should have reliable access to a computer and internet connection. Dates are flexible but a June start date is preferred. Appointments are typically eight weeks in length. 

Please be sure to select your preferred project(s) in your application and address project-relevant interests, experience, and qualifications. See “Application Instructions” for additional application details.


Please be sure to read each project carefully to determine if it is a good fit for you. This year, both projects will be performed on-site in Washington, DC. 

Researching Art Ephemera Legacy Collections
Full-time, on-site

From its inception, the  American Art and 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. This process includes intensive art historical research to determine whether the materials are appropriate for our collection and keeping detailed statistics. Additionally, the intern will hone skills in archival and library best practices when adding new materials including removal of corrosive materials and housing.

This project will allow important hidden materials to be organized and accessible. 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.

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

Museum Studies Research Library Ephemera Processing & Collection
Part-time, on-site

Working with the National Museum of Natural History Library staff, the intern will learn how to process an unusual ephemera collection. The intern will evaluate the material, help create a list which will inform a finding aid, and learn how to rehouse materials in archival folders and boxes. Intern may also help the librarian to assess other zoo-related library materials as well as participate in additional collections work.

This intern will build skills in rehousing archival materials as well as creating a finding aid that will benefit them in future archival work. They will also gain hands-on experience with collections management work. The ideal candidate would be a graduate level or undergraduate student that is considering an archives track. Some experience in archives is preferred but no required. Candidate should have attention to detail and experience with using Microsoft.


This program is geared towards students who are enrolled in a college undergraduate or graduate program. Candidates who are not students should be prepared to describe how this opportunity will enhance their educational background.

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 this program. In addition, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives welcomes students from community college programs.

Selection Criteria:

Through their application materials, including a resume and essay, candidates should be sure to demonstrate the following:

  • Interest in learning about libraries, archives, and museums, particularly as it relates to their selected project areas.
  • How the candidate’s background and experiences have prepared them for this opportunity.
  • How this opportunity will enhance the student’s learning or contribute to their future career goals.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointmentssystem (SOLAA). Applicants should select “Smithsonian Libraries and Archives” as the unit and the “Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Summer Scholars” program. Applicants may choose up to two projects for consideration.

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.
  • CV/Resume
  • 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.

For Summer 2023, the application deadline is February 13th, 2023. Applicants will be updated of their status by late March.

General Information about Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Internships