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Graduate Curatorial Internships, 2020–2021

The application deadline for the Graduate Curatorial Internships has passed. Kindly check back in fall 2021 for information about the next application period.

Graduate Curatorial Internships at the National Gallery of Art provide in-depth training for advanced PhD students and recent PhD recipients interested in gaining curatorial experience in a museum setting. Interns work with curators on permanent collection and exhibition projects and attend a weekly seminar that introduces the staff, departments, programs, and functions of the Gallery. The duties and responsibilities are comparable to those of curatorial assistants.


Eligibility is limited to doctoral students who are in the advanced stage of their dissertations and to recent PhD recipients (dissertations must have been filed no earlier than September 2018). Neither previous museum experience nor a stated goal of a museum career is required. Candidates who are people of color, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. This is an international program.


Graduate Curatorial Interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 14, 2020, to May 7, 2021, and work full time. Interns receive a stipend of approximately $30,000 that is subject to all applicable taxes. Interns, using an authorized public transportation method, will receive an employer-provided fare subsidy to apply toward their monthly transit costs.

Application Timeline and Procedures 

Deadline: January 12, 2020
By the date above, all application materials must be submitted online and in English. We will not accept applications or related materials via email, postal mail, or in person. There is no fee to apply to any of the internships.

The online application will require you to provide the following:

  • A letter (single-spaced, about 750 words) to the selection committee stating your reasons for participating in the museum training program at the National Gallery of Art at this point in your education or career, including what you hope to achieve from the experience, what you feel you can contribute to the department(s) in which you are interested, and how such an experience would further your education and career plans.
  • A writing sample (no more than 20 pages, including footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, and images).
  • A résumé or full curriculum vitae of education, professional experience, honors, awards, and publications.
  • One copy of unofficial transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
  • Contact information for two references. One of these references must be someone who knows you in an academic context (either a professor or instructor). Once you have submitted your references’ names, titles, and email addresses, they will automatically be emailed instructions for uploading their letters online. We strongly encourage references to submit letters in English.

The deadline for all application materials, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, is January 12 at 5:00 p.m. (EST).

March 3 and 4, 2020
Interviews of finalists are tentatively scheduled for the dates above. Only finalists for the Graduate Curatorial Internships will be contacted for interviews. You will not need to travel to the National Gallery of Art for an interview. All interviews are conducted by phone or video chat.

March 13, 2020
Final selection of interns.

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.

Internship Projects

Curatorial: Special Projects in Modern Art

The department of special projects in modern art seeks an academic-year intern. The intern will assist senior curator, Lynne Cooke, in research and organization for an upcoming exhibition on modern abstraction and woven forms. Tasks may include assembling research materials, maintaining bibliographies and chronologies, establishing and updating research files, conducting research on selected topics, and administrative tasks relating to the exhibition. Current advanced art history graduate students with a special interest in modern art are encouraged to apply. Strong research skills and foreign language fluency in French or German are a plus.

Apply Online

Curatorial: Photographs

The intern will assist with research and organization for a variety of different exhibition projects. Tasks may include assembling research materials, maintaining bibliographies and chronologies, establishing and updating research files, conducting research on selected topics, and administrative tasks related to exhibitions. Knowledge or coursework in the history of 19th- or 20th-century photography or art is preferred.

Apply Online

Curatorial: Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The intern will assist with the planning and research for an upcoming international loan exhibition on the terracotta models of Antonio Canova. Duties will include corresponding with potential lenders, compiling bibliographies, conducting research for the catalog, and helping to coordinate the checklist. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in 18th- or 19th-century European sculpture and reading knowledge of Italian. A second European language is desirable. 

Apply Online

Department of Gallery and Studio Learning
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

[email protected]
(202) 842-6257

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

Please review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about internships.