2021 Virtual 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 virtual 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.
Interns will learn about the collection by developing and presenting live art talks on Zoom. At the beginning of the summer, interns will participate in an intensive training about online public speaking. They will learn how to talk about original works of art in a way that is relevant, engaging, and accessible. Interns then develop tours that incorporate their own interests and offer online audiences an insider perspective on the National Gallery of Art and its collection.
The internship program will feature:
- Virtual gallery talks with curators
- Discussions with top-level administrators, including the Gallery’s director
- Conversations with staff from a wide variety of museum departments and former interns
- Behind-the-scenes tours and demonstrations
- Presentations on the museum’s history and collection
- Opportunity to develop and present an original talk (10–12 minutes) about an artwork in the Gallery’s collection
Eligibility varies according to internship. A few are geared to undergraduates, but most are for undergraduates completing their degrees in May or June 2021, currently enrolled graduate students of all levels and those graduating in May or June 2021 with a relevant degree (such as MA, MS, 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.
*NEW* — Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on United States visas and entry, only United States citizens and foreign nationals currently in the United States on F-1 visas will be considered for internships in 2021-2022.
Summer interns will work remotely from a location in the United States from June 14 to August 13, 2021. Interns must be available for the entire nine weeks, 40 hours per week. Although remote work allows for flexible hours, interns should be available online during certain windows of a 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EST) timeframe, in order to communicate in real time.
Interns receive a stipend of approximately $4,500 that is subject to all applicable taxes.
Application Timeline and Procedures
Deadline: February 28, 2021
By the date above, all applications must be submitted online, in English, through our portal. 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 students may decide to submit a case or memo. Computer science and engineering students may choose to submit an online code repository or blog post. Applicants to the web internship are asked to submit a portfolio of 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 February 28 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.
April 23, 2021
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 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.
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: Northern European Paintings
The intern will work with the curators to research and interpret works from the NGA’s permanent collection of northern Renaissance and baroque painting with an eye toward developing narratives that incorporate global perspectives. Tasks may include helping with planning and executing wall labels, didactic materials, and installation plans. Recent MA graduates and current graduate students in art history, history, museum studies, or a relevant humanities discipline are encouraged to apply. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and advanced library research skills.
Curatorial: Topics in Modern and Contemporary Photography
The intern will assist in research and organizing materials focused on two separate projects: photographs in the permanent collection by the modern photographer Ilse Bing and the work of contemporary photographers working in post-industrial communities across the United States. Tasks may include assembling reference materials, maintaining bibliographies and chronologies, establishing and updating research files on individual photographers, and conducting research on selected themes. 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: Photography and the Black Arts Movement
The intern will assist curators with research, coordinating images and lists, and communicating with artists and institutions for development of Photography and the Black Arts Movement, 1955–1980. This exhibition and related programs will document for the first time the role of African American photographers across the United States in defining, developing, fostering, and advancing the Black Arts Movement and its role in the American civil rights struggle. The intern may also work on other exhibitions and projects related to ongoing work of the department of photographs. We welcome applications from recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students. Knowledge or coursework in the history of photography 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 various exhibitions, including on Antonio Canova. Tasks may include helping undertake research for the catalog and formulating checklists. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and advanced reading knowledge of Italian or French.
Digital Media Productions
The intern will work with media specialists to research and report on Time-Based Media Art (TBMA) in the Gallery’s collection. The intern will learn from and collaborate with other museum professionals who work with TBMA (curators, conservators, registrars, and exhibition designers) to complete this project. Existing technical records and research guides for TBMA will be shared with the intern. The outcome of the internship will be research reports on TBMA focusing on past iterations, technical parameters of installations, and the technical decision-making processes that resulted in those iterations. This research will provide valuable information for how TBMA should be installed, based on past installations and records of artists’ intentions. Applicants should have strong research and communication skills and enjoy working as a team member, as well as independently. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying digital media, modern and contemporary art, library science, archival studies, and/or museum studies are invited to apply. Candidates with coursework or experience in electronic media conservation and time-based media technologies are preferred.
Education: Accessible Programs
The intern will support three program and project areas: The Art of Looking virtual sessions for the general public, Just Us at the National Gallery of Art virtual meetings for people with memory loss and their care partners, and writing short descriptions for online images. Although marketed to different audiences, a similar approach to facilitating is taken in both The Art of Looking and Just Us sessions. Both programs prioritize active listening through slow looking. The intern will receive training and observe these sessions before assisting. For the short description project, the intern will learn best practices on how to develop a true description or describe the actual object, rather than address its creator or history, and will generate as many descriptions as they can during the internship. Preference will be given to candidates pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in museum education or disability studies. An interest in accessibility, universal design, and the ability to engage with diverse museum audiences online are essential. Familiarity with Zoom would be welcome.
Education: Summer Institute for Educators
The intern will assist with the Gallery’s Virtual Summer Institute for Educators, a week-long professional development seminar for national and international teachers, held this year online in July. Duties will include helping to develop and coordinate online teaching resources and platforms, assisting with program and speaker scheduling and communication, and working directly with teachers during the Institute session. The intern will also assist with providing feedback to participants in the Teaching Critical Thinking through Art online course and 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 Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, and Google Classroom are essential.
NGA Retail is seeking an intern to assist in developing exciting digital content for the ecommerce department. Tasks may include creating engaging social media content; copywriting compelling product descriptions that relate merchandise to the Gallery’s collection and mission; designing email marketing campaigns to drive revenue; and developing and analyzing customer surveys. 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.
Library: Digital Asset Lifecycle for Special and Image Collections
The intern will learn about and assist in the lifecycle of the Library's digital assets, from creation to application. This includes selection of both text and image special-collections materials for digitization, processing of the digital assets, applying data standards for creating metadata, and learning methods of quality control. Digital assets are ingested into the National Gallery of Art's digital asset management system (NetX) from which file management is maintained and staff access to the assets is obtained. The use of the digital assets will be explored in web, exhibitions, and research applications, and in particular to enhance access to the Library's unique collections. The intern will work with a wide variety of Library staff and will gain an understanding of how the Library and digitization program support the wider functions of the Gallery's research and educational mission. Preference will be given to candidates pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in library science, computer science, or art history.
Do you want an internship 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 understanding 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 web and public digital products department offers candidates the opportunity to learn about developing and delivering digital products for a large-scale, nonprofit organization. Interns will see firsthand the digital media 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 self-directed independent projects guided by Gallery specialists. Interns will work closely with staff of the digital products department who handle the Gallery’s websites, mobile apps, email, onsite kiosks, and other public-facing technologies for the Gallery. Current undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in user experience design, service design, graphic design, product management, or similar programs are invited to apply.
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.