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Internships in the Museum Profession, 2019–2020

Applications are now closed. Please see the current interns and Fellows.

Internships in the Museum Profession 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 a department, 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.


Although consideration will be given to students with a spring 2019 undergraduate degree, preference will be given to applicants who are enrolled in a graduate program or are recent MA, MS, MFA, or MLS graduates (degree must have been received no earlier than 2018). Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This is an international program.


Interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 9, 2019, to May 8, 2020, and work full time. Interns receive a stipend of approximately $26,000 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, 2019

By the date above, all application materials must be submitted online and in English. We will not accept applications or related materials via e-mail, 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: 1) what you hope to achieve from the experience, 2) what you feel you can contribute to the department(s) in which you are interested, and 3) 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). An academic paper works best for a research position. Applicants to conservation internships are asked to submit a portfolio of completed projects.
  • 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 e-mailed 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).

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.

March 4 and 5, 2019
Interviews of finalists are tentatively scheduled for the dates above. Only finalists for the Internships in the Museum Profession 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 15, 2019
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

Conservation: Objects Conservation

The intern will work with object conservators in all aspects of the department’s activities, including maintenance of outdoor sculpture, environmental monitoring, annual survey of collection objects, and the examination and treatment of the wide variety of sculpture and decorative arts in the Gallery’s collection. The intern will participate in ongoing research for the systematic catalog and learn techniques of digital x-radiography, x-ray fluorescence analysis, and microscopic examination of sculptures. The intern may also be involved in condition examinations for sculpture exhibitions scheduled for Fall 2019. Applicants must either have completed all but the final year of graduate studies in an accredited Master’s degree program in object conservation or have recently graduated.

Apply Online

Conservation: Paintings Conservation

The intern is expected to carry out a range of painting treatments including scientific research into materials, technique, and condition. The intern will also assist the paintings conservators with monitoring the condition and maintenance of the collection, preparing paintings for loans, writing condition reports, installing and de-installing exhibitions, and assisting with ongoing research projects. The department of paintings conservation works closely with the curatorial departments, and the intern will be expected to participate in discussions about ongoing treatments and research projects. Applicants must have completed two years of graduate study in an accredited Master’s degree program in conservation.

Apply Online

Library: Digital Cicognara Project

The intern will assist with digitizing the NGA Library’s unique holdings of titles matching those held in the Vatican Library’s Fondo Cicognara. Count Leopoldo Cicognara (1767–1834) assembled some five thousand early imprints that represent the foundational literature of art and archaeology from the 16th century to the early 19th century. Cicognara’s famous, two-volume inventory of his library, the Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità, published in 1821 and often reprinted, remains an essential tool for scholars and bibliophiles. Cicognara sold his library to the Vatican in 1824. Links to the library’s digitized titles will join those of other contributing partners via the Getty Research Portal for presentation on the project’s website hosted by Princeton University. Best-qualified candidates will be familiar with rare book descriptive cataloging practices and imaging metadata standards, the Western art historical literary canon, and state-of-the-art scanning technology. Ability to read Italian and Latin is desirable.

Apply Online

Library: Rare Photographs Project (Francis Bedford Archive)

The intern will assist with cataloging, inventorying, and digitizing the Francis Bedford Archive. Bedford (1816–1894) began studying the photographic medium around 1852 and soon made his reputation with a number of projects involving the court of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In 2016 the Library acquired the core collection of his photographs numbering 4,400 prints as well as his studio index. The Bedford Archive primarily documents architecture and landscape in England and Wales. Current graduate students with a background in architectural or art history are eligible to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods is desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archival procedures and methods.

Apply Online

Library: Rare Photographs Project (David Finn Archive)

The intern will assist with cataloging, inventorying, and digitizing the David Finn Archive. Finn (b. 1921) is a noted photographer of sculpture and the Library has recently acquired his complete archive of over 110,000 negatives and corresponding prints. The Finn Archive documents the medium of sculpture from antiquity to the modern era and has considerable depth in Italian Renaissance sculpture and the work of Henry Moore. Current graduate students in American or European art history (15th to 20th century) are eligible to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods is desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archival procedures and methods.

Apply Online

Publishing Office: Mark Rothko, Works on Paper

The intern will assist with the forthcoming online catalogue raisonné of Mark Rothko’s works on paper, which includes more than 2,600 objects. Duties may include conducting research on thematic topics (history of display of Rothko’s and his contemporaries’ works on paper, proceedings of court case over distribution of Rothko’s estate); conducting provenance, exhibition history, and bibliographic research for individual works; assembling data for a robust biographical chronology; drafting brief texts on individual exhibitions; assisting with tasks related to the production of the catalogue (fact checking, editing, and researching content submitted by in-house and outside contributors). Applicants should have specialized knowledge or coursework in 20th-century American art. Familiarity with FileMaker Pro is desirable.

Apply Online


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.


Please review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about internships.