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John Wilmerding Internships, 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.

The John Wilmerding Fund for Education in American Art supports two nine-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.


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 or MFA 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.


The interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 14, 2020, to May 7, 2021, and work full time. The interns receive a stipend of approximately $26,000 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 

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.
  • 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 John Wilmerding Internships 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: Photographs

The intern will assist with research and planning for an upcoming exhibition of photographs by Dorothea Lange. Based on the Gallery’s collection of almost 150 photographs by Lange, the exhibition will survey the major periods of Lange’s career, including early portraiture as well as her best-known work covering labor issues in San Francisco, migrant farmers during the Great Depression, Japanese internment during World War II, and working people and their families in Asia and Ireland. Exhibition research will take advantage of significant local research collections for studying Lange’s work, such as the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Archives of American Art. Tasks include working directly with curators to research assigned topics, including the subject and history of specific photographs, compiling bibliographies and chronologies, coordinating object lists and layouts, assisting with the preparation of labels and texts, and other administrative tasks related to the exhibition. The intern may also be involved in research and administrative tasks related to developing the Gallery’s collection of photographs by significant African American artists. Applicants should have specialized knowledge and coursework in 20th-century American photography, art, and/or American Studies.

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

Digital/Education: Digital Interpretation and Access

The digital interpretation intern will work with the department of interpretive resources, as well as other internal stakeholders, to develop a new interactive digital offering to serve a multigenerational audience. The intern will be involved in prototyping, testing, and evaluation of the interactive. To learn more about working in a large museum education division, he or she will have the opportunity to contribute to other projects, such as community, family, and adult programs. The candidate should have an understanding and interest in learning more about museum education practices, web accessibility, and user experience design. The ability to be an effective team member of a dynamic work environment is essential.

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.