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Nine-Month Graduate Internships, 2021–2022 Academic Year

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

Nine-month graduate internships at the National Gallery of Art provide institutional training to students interested in pursuing a museum career. Working closely with professional staff at the Gallery, interns participate in the ongoing work of the museum, complete a project or a discrete portion of a larger project, and attend a weekly seminar that introduces the staff, departments, programs, and functions of the Gallery.

The internship program will feature:

  • Gallery talks with curators
  • Discussions with top-level administrators, including the Gallery’s director
  • Conversations with staff from a wide variety of museum departments and former interns
  • Behind-the-scenes tours and demonstrations
  • Presentations on the museum’s history and collection
  • Opportunity to develop and present an original talk (10–12 minutes) about a work of art in the Gallery’s collection

Interdisciplinary Internship Project, offered across curatorial and education departments (up to four interns will be selected)

Many American art museums were established originally as repositories of art deemed valuable by civic and national elites of the time. Those social and financial leaders were particularly drawn to paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts that expressed the artistic traditions of Western Europe. Along with prominent critics and art historians, traditional art museums established canons that privileged and perpetuated a narrow view of human creativity.  

Interns will take a critical look at the Gallery’s collection of pre-1900 American and European paintings, decorative arts, and sculpture to trace the values embodied by particular works and groups of works, and the ways in which those values have been reaffirmed, redefined, deconstructed, and/or negated in the decades since the Gallery’s opening in 1941. Have the narratives of European art installations evolved—and if so, how and for whom do they function today? What other narratives are possible?

Working as a team, interns will assist the Gallery’s curators of pre-1900 paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, as well as educators, in reimagining the collections’ presentation both in the galleries and through digital media. While learning about interpretation strategies within a museum environment, interns will support a variety of projects, such as the planning and production of in-gallery texts and graphics, digital media resources for on-site and online audiences, and public programs.  

Interns & Fellows Online Application Portal


Although consideration will be given to students with a spring 2021 undergraduate degree, preference will be given to applicants who are enrolled in a graduate program or are recent graduates (degree must have been received no earlier than 2019). Consideration is given to candidates working in African and African American studies, anthropology, art history, gender studies, geography, history, literature, multi-/interdisciplinary studies, philosophy, and religion. Candidates who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and individuals with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.

NEW: Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on United States visas and entry, only United States citizens and foreign nationals currently in the United States on F-1 visas will be considered for internships in 2021–2022.


Interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 20, 2021, to May 6, 2022, and work full time. Interns receive a stipend of approximately $26,000 which 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.

Please note: Depending on the status of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 2021–2022 academic-year internships may be hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) or in-person. Any hybrid experience is subject to conversion to a virtual format, or postponement, to ensure the safety and health of our staff and interns.

Application Timeline and Procedures

Deadline: February 28, 2021

By the date above, all applications must be submitted online, in English, through our portal and in English. We will not accept applications or related materials via email, postal mail, or in person.

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, 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 research paper relevant to the Gallery’s mission works well.
  • 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 February 28 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). There is no fee to apply to any of the internships.

We recommend that you edit your application carefully before submitting, and perhaps ask one of your instructors or professors to look over your personal statement. If you are unsure about how to write a personal statement, or what writing sample to submit, consider contacting the career services center at your college or university for guidance.

April 5 and 6, 2021
Interviews of finalists are tentatively scheduled for the dates above. Only finalists for the nine-month graduate internship 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.

April 23, 2021
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 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 is committed to diversity and offers equal opportunity and treatment to all who apply.

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.