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Internships in the Museum Profession, 2020–2021

The application deadline for the 2020-2021 Internship Program has passed. Kindly check back in fall 2020 for information about the next application period.

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 2020 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 2019). Candidates who are people of color, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  This is an international program.


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 $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, 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). 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 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).

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 3 and 4, 2020
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 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: Old Master Prints (18th-Century Print Research & Cataloging Project)

The department of old master prints in the division of prints and drawings seeks an intern to research and catalog 18th-century European prints, albums, and illustrated books in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. This project will entail working closely with objects and entering cataloging information (artist names, titles, dates, media, dimensions, inscriptions, provenance, and catalogue raisonné references) into records in The Museum System (TMS), the Gallery’s collection management database. The intern will regularly consult with staff in the division of prints and drawings as well as the department of paper conservation. Tasks may involve assisting with visitors in the Print Study Room and participating in various activities across the division’s departments.

Applicants should have an MA in art history, reading proficiency in at least one European language (preferably French, German, or Italian), previous work experience in a department of prints and drawings, and a working familiarity with both the history of graphic arts before 1900 and collection management databases.

Apply Online

Curatorial: Northern European Paintings

The intern will assist the department of Northern European paintings with a variety of research tasks related to its permanent collection of 15th through 17th-century Northern European paintings. Duties may include assistance in the preparation of a forthcoming exhibition project, research regarding potential acquisitions, and research related to the online systematic catalog of 17th-century Dutch paintings, which involves tracing provenance, exhibition history, and bibliographic references; drafting brief texts on individual works; and writing a long-form essay on individual works. Applicants should have specialized knowledge or coursework in Northern Renaissance and baroque art. Reading knowledge of Dutch is preferred.

Apply Online

Library: Rare Photographs (Adolphe Braun Project)

The intern will begin inventorying then cataloging and digitizing the department’s photographs by French photographer Adolphe Braun (1812–1877) and his company Braun et Cie.  Braun began photographing flowers around 1852 to assist his work as a textile designer. He published a book of these photos in 1855 and exhibited them in the Exposition Universelle of 1855. Two years later he established his photographic firm Braun et Cie. In 1867 the firm began producing carbon prints of art works, which they continued making well after Braun’s death. The intern will begin surveying the entire archive, locate Braun prints and create an inventory, then will make full catalog records and digitize the prints and load them in the Library’s online system. Current graduate students with a background in art history are eligible to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods is desirable, plus a working knowledge of the French language will be useful. An ability to work with database software or library cataloging systems is highly desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archival procedures and methods.

Apply Online

Library: Rare Photographs (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. Current graduate students in library science (with an undergraduate art history degree) or art history (15th to 20th century) are eligible to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods is desirable. An ability to work with database software or library cataloging systems is highly desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archival procedures and methods.

Apply Online

Library: Rare Prints Project

The intern will assist with researching and cataloging the Library’s collection of ‘reproductive’ chalcographic prints from the Chalcographie du Louvre (1797–present), the Calcografia di Roma (1738–present), the International Chalcographical Society (1886–1892), and the Arundel Society (1848–1897). The prints represent a variety of techniques—including etching, engraving, aquatint, chromolithographs, and photogravures—and depict works largely by 17th–19th-century Italian and French painters. Many of the prints were pulled in the early 20th century from 17th–19th-century plates and represent work from some of the most well-known engravers of their time. Current graduate students interested in the history of printmaking (particularly 19th-century printmaking practices and institutions) or European art history (17th–19th century) are eligible to apply. Basic knowledge of Italian and French is required. An ability to work with database software or library cataloging systems is highly desirable. Candidates should also possess an understanding of printmaking techniques and materials as well as familiarity with museum registration and archival procedures and methods. 

Apply Online

Department of Gallery and Studio Learning
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.