2020 Summer Internships
Since 1964 the National Gallery of Art has offered professional museum training to candidates from all backgrounds through a variety of internship programs. Nine-week summer internships provide opportunities to work on projects directed by a Gallery curator or department head. Biweekly museum seminars introduce interns to the broad spectrum of museum work, and to Gallery staff, departments, programs, and functions. New in 2020, interns will engage with museum visitors by developing and leading public tours in the galleries. At the beginning of the summer, interns will participate in an intensive training about gallery teaching. They will learn how to talk with visitors about original works of art in the galleries in a way that is relevant, engaging, and accessible. Interns then develop tours that incorporate their own interests and offer visitors an insider perspective on the National Gallery of Art and its collection.
Eligibility varies according to internship. A few are geared to undergraduates completing their degrees in May and June 2020, but most are for currently enrolled graduate students of all levels and those graduating in May or June 2020 with a relevant degree (such as MA, MBA, MFA, MArch, MEd, JD, or MLS). Please check prerequisites carefully. Candidates who are people of color, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. This is an international program.
Summer interns will be in residence at the Gallery from June 1 to July 31, 2020. Interns must be available for the entire nine weeks, 40 hours per week.
Interns receive a stipend of approximately $4,500 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 applications must be submitted online 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 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. Business and law students may decide to submit a case, advice memo, or brief. Applicants to conservation and design 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). 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.
March 15, 2020
Finalists will be selected.
All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Gallery staff and outside specialists.
Interviews are not required. Do not contact individual staff members about internships in their departments. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions if you have general questions about the program.
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 offers equal opportunity and treatment to all who apply and is committed to diversity.
Summer Internship Projects
Applicants may list up to two projects, in order of preference, on the application.
Administrative Services: Travel Office
The intern will assist with curatorial, invitational, docent, fellow, and courier travel. The intern will participate in a variety of administrative activities with a primary focus on travel operation functions. The intern will assist the travel office in reviewing travel authorization documents for completeness, accuracy, and compliance. The intern will also assist travelers and travel planners with the Gallery’s electronic travel processing software, Automated Travel and Expense Reporting System (ATERS). The intern will research and compile statistics and reports on Gallery travel and related activities. Candidates should have completed a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields: business management, hospitality, tourism, or travel management.
Architecture and Engineering
The department of architecture and engineering seeks an intern who is interested in the fields of architectural design and construction. The intern will review project files, construction drawings and progress photographs, and produce concise, understandable presentation materials showing the development and evolution of the Gallery’s major building renovation projects. Although some background in architecture, engineering, interior design, planning, architectural history, or historic preservation is desirable, such background is not essential. The ability to conduct research, write well, communicate clearly, and understand how to visually document, chronicle, and explain the evolution of the Gallery’s design and construction projects is essential. The intern must be a self-starter, research-oriented, and able to answer questions either by examining project documentation or consulting with staff members involved in our design and construction projects.
The Gallery Archives preserves and makes discoverable the institution’s unique past through its large collection of historical documents, photographs, architectural drawings, and audio/moving image recordings. Under staff direction and guidance, the intern will be assigned a hands-on project to organize, describe, and/or preserve historical materials using professional best practices and procedures. Candidates should have knowledge of archival principles and activities and an interest in archives and special collections work. Current art history, museum studies, and archival studies graduate students and 2020 program graduates are invited to apply.
Combined Internship – Conservation and Design & Installation Divisions
The departments of conservation and design & installation seek a summer intern to assist with projects in both divisions. The intern will assist the frame conservator and frame collection managers to rehouse and organize the Gallery’s inventory of antique and reproduction frames. The intern will learn frame styles, origins, and wood types. He or she will also help identify possible replacements for frames currently hung in the permanent collection and update a database so that the inventory is more easily accessed. The intern will also assist the frame conservator with routine frame maintenance in the galleries. In the design division, the intern will assist with design-related projects for upcoming exhibitions. Possible projects include constructing scaled maquettes and models of objects that will be on view in special exhibitions and the permanent collection. Familiarity with researching works of art and managing digital files is desirable. Helpful skills also include experience working with power tools and 3-D printers.
Combined Internship – Object and Textile Conservation
The intern will assist with several projects throughout the summer in both the departments of object conservation and textile conservation. He or she will work with a team of conservators to perform the annual summer maintenance and treatment of the outdoor sculptures in the Sculpture Garden and surrounding the East and West Buildings. The treatments involve cleaning and protecting these large-scale pieces. Working with the textile conservation department, the intern will assist in examination and rehousing of selected textile collections. The intern will also help maintain both departments’ digital resources. He or she may help with annual condition examinations of textiles and sculpture in the galleries. As possible, the intern may assist conservators with their research or with other projects including x-radiography and technical study. Current or recent conservation graduate students and college graduates pursuing pre-conservation training are invited to apply. Graduate students in museum studies and collections management programs may be considered as well.
Curatorial: Modern Art
The intern will assist with assessing, storing, and bringing order to the department of modern art’s permanently valuable art object, exhibition, and collector files. The intern will collaborate with Gallery Archives and the department of curatorial records and files, creating file inventories and rehousing documents with archival supplies and following detailed procedures for this important work. The intern also will transfer inactive departmental files of value to Gallery Archives. The intern may choose to work on areas of interest within the scope of the files, which focus primarily on 20th century painting and sculpture. Candidates should have knowledge of modern and contemporary art. Current graduate students in library science, art history, collections management, or archival studies are invited to apply.
Combined Internship – Curatorial Records and Files and Education
The intern will assist the department of curatorial records and files with its responsibilities of maintaining the curatorial files and collection database records for the Gallery’s paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and time-based media art. Projects may include entering object bibliographies in the collection database; comparing information on the labels removed from backs of paintings with existing records and researching anything previously unknown; photocopying entries from catalogs to supplement exhibition history citations; and transferring curators’ research material to the official curatorial files. The intern will serve as a departmental assistant to curatorial records and files, helping Gallery staff and outside scholars use the curatorial files and assisting with its annual inventory. The intern will also serve as the lead intern for the education division. This role involves introducing ways for the summer interns to engage as a cohort. He or she handles communication and assists with planning group lunches, intern sessions, social media takeover, and the summer gallery talk series. Current art history or museum studies graduate students and 2020 graduates of such programs are invited to apply. A demonstrated ability for careful, precise, and independent work is essential, and familiarity with The Museum System (TMS) would be welcome.
Curatorial: Division of Prints and Drawings
The division of prints and drawings seeks an intern to review and reorganize files relating to donors of prints, drawings, and illustrated books to the National Gallery of Art. This project will entail cross-checking pertinent documents with records in The Museum System (TMS), the Gallery’s collection management database, as well as working closely with the objects themselves. In addition, the intern will consult with curators in the division to determine which donor files to retain and which to transfer to Gallery Archives. Tasks may involve updating cataloging information (and especially provenance) for prints, drawings, and illustrated books in TMS. Recent or current graduate students with demonstrable interest in the history of graphic arts are eligible to apply. Candidates also should have a background in European art history (15th to 19th century) and a working familiarity with collection management databases.
Curatorial: Department of Modern Prints and Drawings (Index of American Design Research Project)
The intern will research biographical data on artists of the Index of American Design, a collection of more than 18,000 watercolor renderings created between 1935 and 1942 as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Although more than 1,000 artists were employed by the Index, less than 100 have known life dates. In consultation with the curators, the researcher will examine the drawings by each artist, review the corresponding WPA data sheets, and access web databanks such as Ancestry.com and historic newspaper sites, among other resources, to gather biographical information, update records in The Museum System (TMS) database, and create digital document files for each artist researched. Recent MA graduates and current graduate students with demonstrable interest in American art history and material culture of the 19th–20th centuries are eligible to apply. Candidates should have a working familiarity with online research. Experience with collection management databases is desirable.
Curatorial: Northern European Paintings
The intern will work with the curators and painting conservators to study and interpret works from the permanent collection of northern Renaissance and baroque painting. The intern will also assist with the preparations for a permanent collection exhibition of the 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings funded by The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund. Tasks may include helping with wall labels and other didactic material. Recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students are encouraged to apply. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and advanced library research skills.
Curatorial: Old Master Drawings
The intern will work with the Gallery’s collection of cuttings from illuminated manuscripts dating from the late 11th century to the early 16th century, researching the material and updating its object files. Tasks will include reviewing and verifying provenance, exhibition histories, and bibliographic references; ensuring that paper object files are as complete as possible; and updating and correcting information in The Museum System (TMS). The intern may also be asked to do research on recent acquisitions and other drawings in the collection, as needed. Recent or current graduate students with demonstrable interest in drawings and/or illuminated manuscripts are eligible to apply. Candidates should also have a background in European art history (preferably of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance) and a working familiarity with collection management databases.
Curatorial: Photographs, African American and Women Photographers in the Collection
The intern will assist in research and organizing materials focused on African American and women photographers in the collection. Tasks may include assembling reference materials, maintaining bibliographies and chronologies, establishing and updating research files on individual photographers, conducting research on selected topics, and researching photographers whose work should be included in the collection. The intern may also work on other projects related to the storage and care of the permanent collection as needed. We welcome applications from recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students. Knowledge or coursework in the history of photography is preferred.
Curatorial: Photographs, Robert Adams and Robert Frank
The intern will assist with planning and research for an upcoming major exhibition on Robert Adams, opening in the spring of 2021, and assist with research on Robert Frank’s later career and works. Tasks may include conducting research on selected topics, compiling bibliographies and chronologies, assigned tasks related to the production of exhibition catalogs, coordinating object lists and layouts, assisting with the preparation of wall texts, and other administrative tasks. The intern may also work on other projects related to the storage and care of the permanent collection as needed. We welcome applications from recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students. Knowledge or coursework in 20th-century photography and American art is preferred.
Curatorial: Sculpture and Decorative Arts
The intern will work with the curators and object conservators to study and interpret objects from the permanent collection of sculpture and decorative arts, chiefly but not exclusively Italian (15th and 16th century) and French (18th and 19th century). The intern will also assist with the preparations for an exhibition on Antonio Canova. Tasks may include helping with wall labels and other didactic materials and undertaking research for the catalog. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and advanced reading knowledge of Italian or Spanish.
Division of Imaging and Visual Services
This is an excellent opportunity for a photographer interested in exploring a career in museums. The intern’s projects will vary from assisting with a grant-funded project to photograph the entire sculpture collection to using our unique computerized painting easel. This technology is used to produce color-accurate, high-quality representations of paintings at ultra-high resolution for a multitude of uses. An aptitude for working creatively and collaboratively is essential. Students in photography programs and recent graduates of such programs are encouraged to apply. Previous experience in a museum or gallery is desirable.
Education: Summer Institute for Educators
The intern will assist with the National Teacher Institute, a weeklong professional development seminar held at the Gallery during the summer. Duties will also include helping to develop and coordinate teaching resources, assisting with program arrangements for speakers, and working directly with teachers during the Institute session. The intern will research educational materials for teacher programs in the academic year ahead. Current graduate students in art education, museum education, studio art, fine arts, or art history, and 2020 graduates of such programs are invited to apply. Interest in working with K–12 teachers and expertise in PowerPoint are essential.
Education: Teen Programs
Do you like working with teens? Want to create a positive impression on the future generation of museum professionals? The education division seeks an intern who will work closely with educators to assist with the Gallery’s participation in the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP). MBSYEP is a locally funded initiative sponsored by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) that provides DC youth with enriching and constructive summer work experiences through paid placements in the private and government sectors. The intern will assist with the planning and facilitation of this six-week creative, pre-professional program geared to provide six local young adults (18–21 years old) transferrable job skills, a better understanding of museum operations, and a way to build upon positive attitudes toward arts and the museum field. The intern must have experience in museum education or teaching, strong collaboration and communication skills, and demonstrated interest in working with youth. Recent college graduates or current graduate students in art history, history, education, museum studies, or museum education programs should apply.
NGA Retail is seeking an intern to assist in developing exciting online content for the ecommerce department. Tasks may include developing a retail social media strategy and creating engaging social content; copywriting compelling product descriptions that relate merchandise to the Gallery’s collection and mission; and generating email marketing campaigns to drive revenue. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. Candidates should have some familiarity with graphic design and email marketing. This is an excellent opportunity for current and recent graduate students pursuing a degree in business administration and marketing.
The intern’s time will be divided between daily horticulture operations and the preparation of a campus-wide tree inventory. The intern will learn all aspects of horticulture at the Gallery. They will also help the deputy chief of horticulture update a tree inventory and computer-aided design (CAD) map of trees on the Gallery property. Recent college graduates or current graduate students with a love of horticulture are invited to apply.
Library: Auction Catalog Project
The intern will assist in updating bibliographic records for the library’s extensive collection of auction catalogs as well as conducting a detailed inventory of rare catalogs from before the year 1900. The National Gallery of Art Library holds one of the most extensive and comprehensive collections of European and American sales catalogs from the early 18th century to the present. Many are especially valuable to art historians and provenance researchers, often thanks to the handwritten annotations that provide insight into bids and the identities of buyers and sellers. By enhancing the level of searchable information in the records, the project aims to improve access to this collection for both staff and fellows at the Gallery and the wider public. The ideal candidate would be a student of library science with an interest in cataloging. Knowledge of European and US art history and languages would also be desirable.
Library: Evans-Tibbs Collection
The intern will assist with research, cataloging, and digitizing the Evans-Tibbs Collection. Thurlow Evans-Tibbs Jr. (1952–1997) was a prominent art collector and gallerist in Washington, DC, who bequeathed his art collection to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Many of these works are now at the National Gallery of Art—along with Tibbs’s personal collection of reference materials. Known as the Tibbs Archive, the Evans-Tibbs Collection comprises primary and secondary source materials on Tibbs himself, on the history of Washington, DC, and on African American art and artists. Current graduate students in American art history (19th to 20th century) and/or library and information science are eligible to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods is desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archives procedures and methods.
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 artworks, 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 upload 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 archives procedures and methods.
Library: Rare Photographs (David Finn Archive project)
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 archives procedures and methods.
Library: Rare Prints
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.
Personnel: Labor and Employment Law
The intern will perform legal research and analysis related to employment and labor law issues and will assist in various stages of the disciplinary and/or grievance process. The intern may assist attorneys in the personnel office to prepare cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, or the Federal Labor Relations Authority by developing case files, assisting in discovery, and drafting motions. Only law school students who have completed their first year and are entering their second year of law school will be considered.
Procurement and Contracts
The intern will work closely with procurement and contracting staff to perform critical functions during the final quarter of the fiscal year. He or she will be involved in performing closeout activities for contracts that have completed the delivery of products or services. The intern will use the Gallery’s Financial Management System to identify whether payment in full for goods or services has been met and will communicate with vendors to reconcile any discrepancies that hinder the contract closeout process. The intern will assist in the preparation of formal contract closeout modification documents. The intern will also assist in the preparation of statements of work and solicitation documents, receive and catalog offeror proposals, take part in the source selection evaluation process, prepare contract documents, attend site visits, and participate in, and possibly lead, post-award conferences. Candidates should have completed a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields: business management, marketing, or finance.
Protection Services: Security Research
The division includes security officers and technical, administrative, investigative, identification, health/safety, risk management, and visitor services staff. The intern will assist the division in conducting research pertaining to various aspects of the Gallery’s security program. Strong interest in museum security management and excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. Preference will be given to candidates with recent undergraduate degrees in relevant disciplines or graduate students currently enrolled in a relevant degree program.
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, court proceedings over the 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.
Do you want to work at an internship in Washington, DC, that will focus on both technology and data science? Are you interested in learning more about technology and art from museum experts? The office of technology solutions is looking for an intern to help bring technology further into the art domain at the National Gallery of Art, a large-scale, nonprofit institution. The intern will have the opportunity to learn and work with virtual assistant technologies such as Alexa and Google Home. Other potential projects include utilizing artificial intelligence for image analysis, virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance visitor experiences, and data visualization for storytelling. Applicants must be comfortable using programming languages such as Python and have basic understandings of data science techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Preference will be given to candidates pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering.
The Treasurer’s Office offers candidates the opportunity to learn about financial management and reporting for a large-scale, nonprofit organization. Interns will see firsthand the financial operations of an institution of this size and caliber as well as learn about the unique private-public partnership of the National Gallery of Art. The internship includes one-on-one training as well as self-directed projects. Interns will work closely with staff of the Treasurer’s Office who handle accounting, investment, insurance, financial reporting, cash management, and information technologies for the Gallery. Current graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in business administration, finance, or similar programs are invited to apply.
Department of Academic Programs
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
Contact us by email
Please do not contact Gallery curators or other department heads directly regarding possible placement or projects.