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John Wilmerding Internships, 2018–2019

The John Wilmerding Fund for Education in American Art supports two 11-month internships: one in American art and one in digital interpretation. The internships provide institutional training to students interested in pursuing a museum career. The John Wilmerding Interns work on projects directed by a Gallery curator or department head. Biweekly museum seminars introduce the interns to the broad spectrum of museum work, and to Gallery staff, departments, programs, and functions.

The John Wilmerding Internship in American Art and the John Wilmerding Internship in Digital Interpretation are made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

The current application cycle has closed. This page will be updated in October 2018 with the information concerning the 2019‒2020 internship cycle.


Although consideration will be given to students with a spring 2018 undergraduate degree, preference will be given to applicants who are enrolled in a graduate program or are recent MA or MFA graduates (degree must have been received no earlier than 2017). Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


The interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 10, 2018, to August 2, 2019, and work full time. The interns receive a stipend of approximately $32,000 that is subject to all applicable taxes. The interns, using an authorized public transportation method, will receive an employer-provided fare subsidy to apply toward monthly transit costs.

Application Timeline and Procedures 

January 12, 2018
Deadline for online applications. The application must include a writing sample (approximately 20 pages, including footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, and images). A full résumé or CV, one copy of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended, and three letters of recommendation are required. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

March 9, 2018
Finalists will be selected.

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: American and British Paintings

The intern will assist with planning and research for two upcoming exhibitions and publications. One exhibition will be devoted to James McNeill Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl. The show will explore in extensive technical and scholarly detail how the painting was made, the history of its travels between France, England, and the United States, and its significance for various artistic circles in Europe and America, as well as the fate of its enigmatic sitter, Joanna Hiffernan. The first exhibition ever devoted to Whistler’s great early masterpiece, the show will bring together all three of Whistler’s “symphonies in white” for the first time in the United States, as well as works related to the fourth, final, and unrealized “white symphony,” The Three Girls. The other exhibition will be the first ever to focus on John Singer Sargent and his six extended visits to Spain. During these trips, which occurred between 1879 and 1912, the artist executed over two hundred oil paintings and watercolors manifesting his love of the exotic qualities of Spanish life and character, its art both past and present, its flamboyant music and dance, its magnificent architecture, its literature, landscape, and its people.

Applicants should have a special interest in late 19th-century painting, working knowledge of pertinent bibliographical and historical sources, and demonstrated excellent writing and research skills.

Digital: American Pre-Raphaelites

In conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, The American Pre-Raphaelites: “Myriad Facts, Marvelous Delicacy” (April 14, 2019–July 21, 2019), a digital component will be designed to extend the reach and longevity of the exhibition. Watercolor was the primary medium for the American Pre-Raphaelites. Because of the fragility of the medium (limited light exposure permitted), the exhibition will be seen only at the National Gallery of Art. Many of the works included in the exhibition are privately owned and thus rarely available for viewing or study. A digital component including high-quality images of all the works in the exhibition, close-up views of details within the paintings, a virtual tour of the exhibition installation, a comprehensive and fully illustrated timeline of the movement (completed; reduced version in the exhibition catalog), commentary by scholars, and other features will both extend access to the exhibition and preserve, digitally, the brief moment when the works were seen together, as well as the new scholarship that confirms their importance to the history of American art.

Digital/Education: Digital Interpretation and Access

The digital interpretation intern will work with the department of interpretive resources and the department of media production to index and develop audiovisual interpretive materials related to the audio and video recordings of Gallery programs available on the museum’s website. This work will involve considering user needs as segmented by audience, assessing the volume of audiovisual material available, and thinking about areas where gaps exist. The candidate should have experience with content management systems, knowledge of the basics of audio/video editing, and an understanding of museum education practices and user experience design.

Digital: History of Early American Landscape Design Database

The intern will assist with the implementation of an in-depth web resource/catalog, the History of Early American Landscape Design Database (HEALDD). It is a comprehensive digital repository of primary source materials, both visual and textual, documenting the history of American garden and landscape design from the early colonial period through the mid-19th century. This online archive of people, places, texts, and images with accompanying scholarly essays and a bibliography offers a comprehensive and extensively cross-referenced compendium of information on the social and geographical history of landscape design in early America. 

The primary source materials include a corpus of more than 2,000 digitized images (prints, drawings, and paintings from collections throughout the United States) and several thousand historical texts (including poetry, travel literature, legal documents, and correspondence). By providing scholars worldwide with open access to an extensive body of historically significant images and primary texts, the HEALDD online archive contributes significantly to research on the role and meaning of gardens and designed landscapes in colonial and antebellum America.

The intern will be part of a research project team in the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts under the direction of Therese O’Malley, associate dean. Tasks will include augmenting, where possible, information about the concepts, artists, sites, and objects in the database; image research and acquisition; and entering data using MediaWiki software and bibliographic programs such as Zotero. Applicants should have a broad interest in American art and material culture. Experience with web development would be extremely useful. Editorial skills are preferable but not essential.  

Digital: Modernism in Washington, 1917–1950

Because the history of American modernism has traditionally been told from the viewpoint of New York, other national perspectives have often not received the attention they deserve. Current scholarship is now acknowledging the many American modernisms that flourished across the United States before midcentury. Perhaps the most complex and under-studied of these histories is Washington’s evolution, beginning in the late teens, from a city largely isolated from contemporary currents in the arts to a modern metropolis and cultural center. This transformation occurred as Washington played a central role in the momentous events that shaped modern consciousness and American identity from 1917 to 1950: World War I, the Great Migration, the Great Depression, and World War II. By considering the ambitious local, national, and international agendas directed from the nation’s capital by prominent individuals such as Alain Locke, Duncan Phillips, James Porter, Agnes Meyer, Holger Cahill, and others, as well as the role played by prominent institutions like the Smithsonian Institution, Howard University, the Phillips Collection, the New Deal agencies, and the National Gallery of Art—not in isolation but in relation to each other—this digital humanities project will seek to reconstitute a history of American modernism that has been largely overlooked. The keystone of this ambitious undertaking is the design of a dynamic, multimedia, interactive map that will encourage both scholars and general users to explore, chronologically and geographically, the many events, people, and places that constituted the history of modernism in Washington before midcentury. Concurrently, more focused features on individual topics could be developed.


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.

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