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John Wilmerding Internship in American Art,

The current application cycle has closed. This page will be updated in October 2017 with the information concerning the 2018‒2019 internship cycle. 

View the current listing of interns.

The John Wilmerding Fund for Education in American Art supports an 11-month internship in American art. The internship provides institutional training to students interested in pursuing a museum career. The John Wilmerding Intern works on a project directed by a Gallery curator or department head. Biweekly museum seminars introduce the intern to the broad spectrum of museum work, and to Gallery staff, departments, programs, and functions.

The John Wilmerding Internship in American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.


Although consideration will be given to students with a spring 2017 undergraduate degree, preference will be given to applicants who are enrolled in a graduate program or are recent MA or MFA graduates (degree must have been received no earlier than 2016). Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


The intern is in residence at the Gallery from September 11, 2017, to August 3, 2018, and works full time. The intern receives a stipend of approximately $32,000 that is subject to all applicable taxes. The intern, using an authorized public transportation method, will receive an employer-provided fare subsidy to apply toward monthly transit costs.

Application Timeline and Procedures 

January 13, 2017
Deadline for online applications. The application must include a writing sample (approximately 20 pages, including footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, and images).  A full résumé or CV, one copy of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended, and three letters of recommendation are required. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

March 10, 2017
Finalists will be selected.

Review Process
All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Gallery staff and external specialists.

Equal Opportunity
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for an internship, fellowship, or research assistantship without regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, or any other protected status. The National Gallery of Art offers equal opportunity and treatment to all who apply and is committed to diversity.

The current application cycle has closed. This page will be updated in October 2017 with the information concerning the 2018‒2019 internship cycle. 

Internship Projects

Applicants may list up to two projects, in order of preference, on the application.

Curatorial: American and British Paintings

The intern will assist with planning and research for an upcoming exhibition devoted to the focus exhibition Whistler: The Symphonies in White. Consisting of approximately thirty paintings, drawings, and prints, the show will take as its primary subject one of the most influential works of the 19th century: James McNeill Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl. It will explore in extensive technical and scholarly detail how the painting was made, the history of its travels between France, England, and the United States, and its significance for various artistic circles in Europe and America, as well as the fate of its enigmatic sitter, Joanna Hiffernan. The first exhibition ever devoted to Whistler’s great early masterpiece, the show will bring together, for the first time in the United States, all three of Whistler’s “symphonies in white” as well as works related to the fourth, final, and unrealized white symphony, The Three Girls. Applicants should have a special interest in late 19th-century painting, working knowledge of pertinent bibliographical and historical sources, and demonstrated excellent writing and research skills.

Curatorial: Modern Prints and Drawings

The American art intern will assist with planning and developing requirements for an in-depth web resource/catalog of the 18,000 watercolor renderings that comprise the Index of American Design (IAD), a collection created between 1935 and 1942 as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. This resource is intended to build upon the modest IAD web features currently and formerly online. The expanded resource will dramatically increase the amount of information available about the collection. Tasks will include augmenting, where possible, information about the IAD artists and renderings themselves—in particular, incorporating data describing the actual piece of material culture that served as a model for the rendering, much of which is already in the collections management database but not currently available online. Additional aspects of the project may include associating IAD materials (for example, original photographs of the pieces rendered) with information available in the Gallery Archives. Applicants should have a broad interest in American art and American material culture. Experience with web-program technologies would be extremely useful. Familiarity with the Museum System (TMS) database is highly desirable, but not essential.

Curatorial: Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The intern will work with curators to study and interpret American objects in the collection, including sculptures from the Corcoran Gallery of Art and furniture from the George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Collection. Responsibilities may entail updating bibliographies, advising on installations, and researching and writing texts for the website. The intern will also have the opportunity to collaborate with education division staff to develop interpretive material and programs related to the collection, including the presentation of gallery talks. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and a careful attention to detail.


Department of Academic Programs
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

Contact us by email
(202) 842-6257

Please do not contact Gallery curators or other department heads directly regarding possible placement or projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the FAQs about internships.