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John Wilmerding Internships, 2019–2020

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

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 2019 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 2018). Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


The interns are in residence at the Gallery from September 9, 2019, to May 8, 2020, 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, 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.
  • 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 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 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

Curatorial: American and British Paintings

The intern will assist with planning and research for one or two upcoming exhibitions and their accompanying publications. One exhibition will be the first to examine the deep love of all things Spanish by John Singer Sargent, nurtured over the course of his six lengthy journeys to Spain. He passionately embraced the country’s lively culture and people; its artistic, musical, and literary past and present; and its magnificent urban and rural landscapes. The other exhibition will focus in detail on Frederic Church’s paintings of Niagara Falls, notably his 1857 canvas in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. It will explore how this and the artist’s other large paintings of Niagara were made, exhibited, and marketed, as well as how they were received by critics and the public to establish his reputation as one of the most successful landscape painters in North America.

Current advanced art history graduate students with a special interest in late 19th-century painting, working knowledge of pertinent bibliographical and historical sources, and demonstrated excellent writing and research skills are invited to apply.

Apply Online

Curatorial: Photographs

The intern will assist with planning and research for an upcoming major exhibition on Robert Adams, opening in the fall of 2019, and for upcoming exhibitions on 19th-century photography. Tasks may include conducting research on selected topics, compiling bibliographies and chronologies, tasks related to the production of exhibition catalogs, coordinating object lists and layouts, assisting with the preparation of wall texts, and other administrative tasks related to the exhibition. Applicants should have specialized knowledge or coursework in 20th-century American art or photography.

Apply Online

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.

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.