Summer Scholars Internship Program

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.

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. Most opportunities are virtual, but one does require on-site work. In addition, some projects are part-time, while others require a full-time commitment.

Art Students League of New York Artist File Project

Full-time, On-site*

The American Art and Portrait Gallery Library holds a significant collection of ephemera from the Art Students League of New York. The League, which was founded in 1875 and remains one of the most venerable art schools in the country, has been home to hundreds of major American artists as students and teachers, including Thomas Eakins and Jackson Pollock. Mentored by the Reference Librarian, an intern will learn how to process an ephemera collection to integrate it with the existing material, both physically and digitally. They will also learn how to determine Library of Congress Authorized names using metadata to enhance accessibility. This intern will have the opportunity to explore items from the collection and conduct deeper research to help highlight the material for scholars. This is a great opportunity to work with primary source collections related to 19th and 20th-century American art and to enhance research and writing skills.

An ideal candidate for this project would have good organizational skills and attention to detail. Interns should have knowledge of library research methods. This would be an excellent opportunity for a student (or recent graduate) of a library science, archives, or art history program.

*Note: This internship is expected to be performed on-site in the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library in Washington, DC. It may be deferred, canceled, or otherwise adjusted if the Smithsonian’s operating status changes due to the ongoing pandemic.

Archiving Smithsonian Websites and Social Media

Full-time, Virtual

Working with the Smithsonian Institution Archives Digital Services staff, the intern will learn about the Archives’ web and social media archiving program by conducting web crawls with Archive-IT and Webrecorder/Conifer, completing quality assurance checks of web crawls, updating internal registries, and filling out Dublin Core elements within Archive-It to enhance searching of these archival collections.

The intern will gain real-world skills in web archiving and understand the complexities of capturing “moments in time” of web and social media sites. The intern will also be exposed to a variety of applications, systems, and formats that are used for digital curation and digital preservation, as well as the OAIS reference model.

The ideal candidate can be a current undergrad or higher who has an interest in digital curation and digital preservation. Must be comfortable using multiple applications that include spreadsheets and web browsers. Interest in website archiving is a plus.

Smithsonian 175th Anniversary Oral History Project Processing

Part-time, Virtual

The Institutional History Program virtual intern will be mentored by the Institutional Historian to learn how to process an oral history collection documenting the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the Smithsonian. The intern will have an opportunity to work with digital av, photographic and text files. The intern will learn how to review interviews for appropriateness prior to loading on a website, ensure digital preservation of the original digital files, audit check transcript drafts, verifying names, specialized terms, etc., and prepare an archival finding aid to the collection.

An ideal candidate for this project would have some background in American history, public history, digital history, and/or oral history. An excellent opportunity for upper-level undergraduate or graduate students in history programs.


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 2022, the application deadline is February 13th, 2022. Applicants will be updated of their status by late March.