The National Gallery Archives preserves and makes discoverable the institution’s unique past through its large collection of historical documents, photographs, architectural drawings, and audio/moving image recordings.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, the intern is assigned a hands-on project to organize and describe—commonly known as processing—primary source materials using archival best practices and procedures. The materials chosen for processing fall into one of two categories: those created by National Gallery staff (former directors, curators, educators, etc.) as they carried out their duties at the museum (which was founded in 1941), or the papers and records of individuals or institutions with a strong connection to the National Gallery’s development and activities. All processing work results in developing aids that can be posted to the Gallery’s website and serve as guides to the contents of each archival collection. Candidates should have knowledge of archival principles and activities, and an interest in archives and special collections work. Preference is given to graduates of and current students in museum studies and archival studies graduate programs.
2023 Hybrid Summer Internships
Summer internships provide opportunities to work on projects directed by professional staff at the National Gallery. Weekly museum seminars introduce interns to the broad spectrum of museum work and to Gallery staff, departments, programs, and functions. Interns learn about the National Gallery’s collection and build upon their research and public-speaking skills by developing and presenting live art talks. Interns also participate in an intensive training program to learn how to talk about works of art in a way that is relevant, engaging, and accessible to diverse audiences.
The internship program features:
- Gallery talks with curators
- Discussions with top-level administrators, including the National Gallery’s director
- Conversations with staff from a wide variety of museum departments
- Behind-the-scenes tours and demonstrations
- Presentations on the museum’s history and collection
- An omni-directional mentorship program that builds community, exchanges support and guidance, and develops a network of museum professionals
Those with an undergraduate degree or who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in their third or fourth year, and those who are either enrolled in or are graduates of a graduate program are welcome to apply. Candidates who are people of color, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Summer interns work a hybrid schedule, 40 hours per week, from Monday, June 12, to Friday, August 11, 2023. A hybrid work model incorporates a mixture of in-office and remote work. Interns should expect to work three days a week on-site but may work more. Interns must be available for the entire nine weeks.
Interns receive a stipend of $21.42 per hour that is subject to all applicable taxes. Interns who use an authorized method of public transportation receive an employer-provided fare subsidy to apply toward their monthly transit costs.
To the extent the internship involves the interns’ presence on National Gallery premises, interns agree to comply with all National Gallery guidelines, requests, or policies, including but not limited to those related to public health.
Application Timeline and Procedures
Deadline: February 1, 2023
All applications must be submitted online, in English, through our portal by February 1, 2023. Applications or related materials submitted via email, postal mail, in person, or through any application portal other than the one on the National Gallery’s official website are not accepted.
The online application requires:
- A personal statement (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. It should include 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 work sample, which can be an academic paper (no more than 20 pages including footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, and images). Additional options include other writing samples (for example, blog posts, teaching resources), project portfolios, and videos. An academic paper works best for a research position.
- A résumé or curriculum vitae of education, professional experience, honors, awards, and publications.
- Contact information for two references. One of these references must be someone who knows you in an academic context (either a professor or instructor). After you have submitted the name, title, and email address of your references, 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 letters of recommendation, is February 1 at 5:00 p.m. (EST).
We recommend that you edit and proofread your application carefully before submitting it, and perhaps ask one of your current or former instructors to look over your personal statement. If you are unsure about how to write a personal statement or are uncertain which work sample to submit, consider contacting the career services center at your college or university for guidance.
Final selection of interns.
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 are considered 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 is committed to diversity and offers equal opportunity and treatment to all who apply.
Summer Internship Projects
Applicants may list up to two projects, in order of preference, on the application.
Archives: National Gallery of Art Historical Records
Library: Rare Auction Catalog
Working with the auction catalog librarian in the department of reader services at the National Gallery of Art Library, this intern helps conduct a physical inventory of the library’s rare auction catalogs collection. This part of our larger collection of auction catalogs comprises European and American catalogs spanning the mid-18th to the late-19th centuries. The inventory helps confirm the accuracy of information in the library’s online catalog and informs future acquisition priorities. Additionally, the intern consults multiple online sources to locate publicly available digitized copies of these catalogs. The results of this research help inform the librarian’s recommendations regarding future in-house digitization. If time allows, the intern may help to organize a collection of rare late-19th- to mid-20th-century auction catalogs that were recently donated to the library from an auction house in the Washington, DC, area. The intern should be well-versed in Excel and online searching of bibliographic databases, and should bring care to handling fragile paper and binding. An ability to recognize words—for example, months of the year and basic art-related terminology—in other languages, such as French, Dutch, and German, would also be useful.
Library Image Collections: Rare Prints Project
This project expands discoverability of and access to one of the image collection’s most valuable resources: its collection of rare prints. The intern assists with researching, cataloging, and digitizing our holdings of reproductive and chalcographic prints of French art from printmaking groups such as: the Chalcographie du Louvre (1797–present); the Calcografia di Roma (1738–present); the International Chalcographical Society (1886–1892); the Arundel Society (1848–1897); and prints excised from books by collectors. Our holdings represent a variety of techniques—including etching, engraving, aquatint, chromolithographs, and photogravures—and depict works largely by 17th- to 19th-century French painters. Many of the chalcographic prints were pulled in the late 19th or early 20th century from 17th- to 19th-century plates and represent 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 French is required. Knowledge of digitization techniques is a useful skill, but the intern shall learn to scan the prints according to National Gallery of Art standards. An ability to work with database software, spreadsheets, or library cataloging systems is also desirable. Candidates should possess an understanding of printmaking techniques and materials as well as familiarity with museum registration and archival procedures and methods.
Digital Media: Time-Based Media Art Technical Research
The intern works with media specialists to research and report on Time-Based Media Art (TBMA) in the National Gallery’s collection. They refer to existing technical records and research guides as they learn from and collaborate with other museum professionals who work with TBMA (curators, conservators, registrars, and exhibition designers) to complete this project. Their research reports on TBMA shall focus on past iterations, technical parameters of installations, and the technical decision-making processes that resulted in those iterations. This research provides valuable information for how TBMA should be installed, based on past installations and records of artists’ intentions. This internship also includes hands-on experience with media digitization systems, quality control, and best practice of the digitization process to preserve legacy media. Deliverables include iteration and identity reports for selected accessioned works of TBMA. Applicants should have strong research and communication skills and enjoy working independently and as a team member. Graduates and advanced undergraduate and graduate students of digital media, modern and contemporary art, library science, archival studies, or museum studies are encouraged to apply. Candidates with coursework or experience in electronic media conservation and time-based media technologies are preferred.
The intern participates in ongoing treatment (depending on the intern’s level of experience) and research projects related to sculpture and decorative arts in the permanent collection, including conducting condition examination of objects for the annual survey and treatment of the National Gallery’s outdoor sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. Interns are also encouraged to select several objects of particular interest to them for in-depth condition examination. If time allows, interns are also encouraged to undertake a technical study of a work of art using visual and microscopic examination, non-destructive analyses, and x-radiography. Acceptance to, enrollment in, or graduate of a conservation graduate program is desirable but not required. The applicant should be comfortable working on group projects in an outdoor setting that can be physically demanding, including climbing ladders and handling cleaning equipment. Interest in research, analytical techniques, and well-developed observational skills are required.
Curatorial: Photography and Resource Extraction in the US
The intern assists with an exhibition in the early stages of development on photography and resource extraction in the US from the 19th century until today. The project considers the different visual modes that photographers have used to depict extraction over time, focusing especially on traditional, subterranean enterprises—like coal mining, oil drilling, and hard rock and mineral withdrawal—that have powered American industry. The intern conducts research on individual photographers and on broader themes on this topic, compiling research files and bibliographies, including primary research, and takes on other related research tasks as assigned. The intern also attends regular department meetings and participates in the workings of an active curatorial department with many acquisitions and multiple exhibitions at various stages. The intern should have at minimum a master’s degree in art history or be working toward a master’s degree or PhD in art history. Preferred field of study is the history of photography with expertise in art of the United States.
Curatorial: Albrecht Dürer Print Cataloging and Research
The National Gallery’s department of old master and 19th-century prints holds one of the world’s finest and most comprehensive collections of prints by Albrecht Dürer. The collection is an important resource for art historians and the public alike, and yet the information about these prints remains incomplete in the National Gallery’s collections database and, consequently, on the public website. The summer intern closely attends to the original works of art and updates and augments the information in our paper and digital files. These curatorial tasks include measuring the prints, identifying paper watermarks and the stamps of previous owners on sheet versos, transcribing inscriptions, and updating bibliographic references, including the standard catalogues raisonnés. The intern gathers additional provenance information and updates exhibition histories for the works. The project provides the intern with hands-on experience working with early modern prints and training in the skills of print research and connoisseurship. This project improves access to the National Gallery’s collection for all users and contributes to future exhibition projects. The following skills are required: basic knowledge of printmaking techniques; advanced reading knowledge of the German language; attention to detail; and a desire to learn about the material and historical aspects of works on paper. Familiarity with the museum’s collections database system (TMS), though not required, is a plus, as is the ability to be on-site five days per week.
Curatorial: Mark Rothko
The intern assists with two related projects: Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper, an upcoming touring exhibition, and Mark Rothko: Works on Paper, the online catalogue raisonné of the artist’s 2,600 plus works on paper. The exhibition, scheduled to open in Washington in November 2023, brings together 100 of Rothko’s most compelling paintings on paper, tracing the important role that paper played in his broader output. The intern assists in all aspects of the exhibition’s final preparations as well as programming during its run in Washington, working collaboratively with colleagues in curatorial, design, publishing, and education departments. The intern also contributes to ongoing research and production of the online catalogue raisonné. Duties may include conducting research on the provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography of individual works, their subjects, iconography, and facture, as well as relevant thematic topics, and Rothko’s biography. The intern may draft brief texts for publication on the catalogue raisonné site and may also assist with tasks related to the design, structure, and production of the digital resource and its content (researching, fact checking, and editing). The intern uses local research collections, such as the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and the Library of Congress. There may be opportunities to travel farther afield to view works being considered for inclusion in the catalogue raisonné or to consult relevant collections or archives. Those with specialized knowledge and coursework in 20th-century American art history are encouraged to apply, particularly at the graduate level.
Curatorial Records and Files: Collection Management and File Enhancement
The intern assists in enhancing records in a web-based collection management system (The Museum System, TMS) and the corresponding physical files of objects by researching exhibition histories and bibliographies. Two areas of focus are tending to several years of exhibition memos and researching recent acquisitions, many of which are essential to the National Gallery’s goal of diversifying the collection to reflect and attract the nation. Enhancing TMS records for these objects signals to the public their significance and underscores the National Gallery’s commitment to its mission, vision, and values. Augmenting physical files is also of crucial importance for all those who use them. The intern also conducts basic bibliographic and exhibition history research on recent acquisitions; finds books in our library and articles online; submits interlibrary loan requests; enters information into TMS; adds photocopies of appropriate pages from books, articles, and exhibition catalogs to the physical files; and helps construct new physical files for very recent acquisitions. Candidates should be detail oriented, have some familiarity with working in databases (TMS, if possible), and possess basic academic research skills, such as how to use a variety of library search tools, as well as a willingness to reach out to librarians for help in identifying the best online search tools for the materials sought.
Learning and Engagement: Summer Institute for Educators
The National Gallery of Art’s 2023 Summer Institute for Educators is an on-site program that runs from July 11 to 14. Working closely with a second intern, the summer intern puts together a road-map document that organizes the concepts of the Summer Institute for participants, assembles and organizes materials, supports the many logistics and administrative aspects of the program, interacts with program participants, supports presenters, and assists with wayfinding, event breakdown, and evaluation survey efforts. The intern should have a graduate degree or be in a graduate degree program relating to education, studio art, art history, or museums. A strong interest in museum education and an interest in teacher professional development are encouraged. Microsoft Office skills are imperative; and Adobe Suite or Canva skills are helpful but not required. Strong organization, administration, and relational skills in addition to a self-starting approach to work are all highly valuable. Comfort with art materials and a willingness to do some art-material preparation and cleanup is also important. The Summer Institute is a physically and mentally demanding program and requires a strong commitment and energy to sustain the fast pace of work. Please note, the intern needs to work extended hours on-site during long program days as well in the week prior to them.
Digital Product and Experience
Working with the digital product and experience department’s analytics and user experience team, the intern conducts user interviews with National Gallery campus visitors, carries out user research online with tools like usertesting.com, analyzes website user data and trends, and helps define the vision for our public-facing digital products (including websites, mobile apps, audio tours, and in-gallery digital interventions). The intern works with two mentors from the department. Required skills include user experience design, human-centered design, data analysis, and user research.
Department of Gallery and Studio Learning
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
Please do not contact Gallery curators or other department heads directly regarding possible placement or projects.