2022 Hybrid 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 hybrid summer internships provide opportunities to work on projects directed by a National Gallery curator or department head. Biweekly museum seminars introduce interns to the broad spectrum of museum work and to National Gallery staff, departments, programs, and functions.
Interns also learn about the National Gallery’s collection and build upon their research and public-speaking skills by developing and presenting live art talks. They 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. Interns then develop interactive tours, from 10 to 12 minutes in length, that incorporate their own interests and backgrounds.
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 and with former interns
- 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
Eligibility varies according to the internship. A few internships are geared to undergraduates, but most are for undergraduates completing their degrees in May or June 2022, currently enrolled graduate students of all levels, and those graduating in May or June 2022 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.
The National Gallery requires all employees, including interns who work with us, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of location or arrangement (e.g., onsite, remote), subject to such exemptions as required by law. If selected, you are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to submit proof of vaccination during onboarding.
Summer interns work a hybrid schedule, 40 hours per week, from Monday, June 13, to Friday, August 12, 2022. A hybrid work model incorporates a mixture of in-office and remote work. Interns should expect to work three days a week onsite but may work more. Interns must be available for the entire nine weeks.
Interns receive a stipend of $15 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.
Application Timeline and Procedures
Deadline: February 28, 2022
All applications must be submitted online, in English, through our portal by February 28, 2022. Applications or related materials submitted via email, postal mail, or in person are not accepted. There is no fee to apply to any of the internships.
The online application requires:
- 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. 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 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 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). 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 transcripts and letters of recommendation, is February 28 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 instructors or professors to look over your personal statement. If you are unsure about how to write a personal statement or are uncertain which writing sample to submit, consider contacting the career services center at your college or university for guidance.
April 22, 2022
Final selection of interns.
All applications are reviewed by a selection committee composed of National Gallery staff.
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.
Architecture and Engineering
The intern works in the field on construction of two projects, one focused on monumental interior public spaces in our East Building, and one focused on the exterior of our West Building. They also have the opportunity to shadow construction personnel and participate in field observations, review of documents, archival research, and interacting with a variety of National Gallery personnel. The intern must be able to ascend/descend a ladder for the construction project on the exterior of the West Building. They will need to move safely to access the roof and walls of the building. The intern works in outdoor weather conditions approximately 20 percent of the time. Candidates interested in the fields of architectural design, historic preservation of buildings, and construction are encouraged to apply. A background in engineering, architecture, historic preservation, or construction is helpful but not required.
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. The intern participates in a hands-on project to organize, describe, and/or preserve historical materials using professional best practices and procedures. Candidates should have knowledge of archival principles and activities as well as an interest in archives and special collections work. Current art history, museum studies, and archival studies graduate students and 2022 program graduates are encouraged to apply.
Combined Internship: Curatorial Records and Files with Education
The intern assists the department of curatorial records and files with its responsibilities of maintaining the curatorial files and collection database records for the National Gallery’s paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and time-based media art. Projects include reviewing files for citations not yet entered into the collection database (The Museum System [TMS] from Gallery Systems); conducting research to update citations and exhibitions histories; entering object bibliographies, exhibition histories, and artist biography texts in TMS; transferring historic location cards and materials from curators into object files; conducting online research about National Gallery objects in digitized art dealers’ records and other sources; and entering basic data for new acquisitions in the department’s file circulation system (a FileMakerPro database).
The intern also serves as the lead intern for the education division. This role involves introducing ways for the summer interns to engage as a cohort. They handle communication and assist with planning group lunches, intern sessions, social media takeover, and the summer art talk series. Current art history or museum studies graduate students and 2022 graduates of such programs are encouraged to apply. A demonstrated ability for careful, precise, and independent work is essential, and familiarity with TMS is welcomed.
The intern assists paper conservators in organizing and cataloging items in the Paper Sample Collection of historic and contemporary artists' drawing and printing papers. Other responsibilities include recording watermarks photographically and researching papermaking companies. Current graduate students and 2022 graduates in conservation, studio art, or archival studies are encouraged to apply. Knowledge of paper and papermaking is essential.
Combined Internship: Object and Textile Conservation
The intern assists with several projects in both the departments of object conservation and textile conservation. They work with a team of conservators to perform the annual summer maintenance and treatment of the outdoor sculptures in the Sculpture Garden and those surrounding the East and West Buildings. The treatments involve cleaning and protecting these large-scale pieces. In the textile conservation department, the intern assists in examining and rehousing selected textile collections.
The intern also helps maintain both departments’ digital resources. They may also help with annual condition examinations of textiles and sculpture in the galleries. As possible, the intern may assist conservators with their research or with other projects, including x-radiography and technical study. Current or recent conservation graduate students and college graduates pursuing pre-conservation training are encouraged to apply. Graduate students in museum studies and collections management programs may be considered as well.
Curatorial: American Art
The intern assists with research on the history of American art at the National Gallery of Art. In the years since the museum’s opening in 1941, its collection of American art has become one of the world’s most comprehensive holdings of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts. The National Gallery has equally been a center for scholarship in American art in the form of publications that investigate its collections and complement exhibitions, as well as through other programs, including lectures and symposia. With the goal of thoroughly documenting the story of American art at the National Gallery, research touches upon all aspects of acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, programs, and personnel from 1941 to the present. Recent MA graduates and current art history, history, literature, and multi-/interdisciplinary studies graduate students are encouraged to apply. Knowledge or coursework in the history of American art is preferred.
The intern assists with exhibition and installation projects in various stages of planning and research. Tasks include conducting research on selected topics and photographers, compiling bibliographies and chronologies, completing assignments related to coordinating object lists and layouts, assisting with the preparation of wall texts, and other administrative responsibilities. The intern also works on projects related to the storage and care of the permanent collection as needed. Recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students are encouraged to apply. Knowledge or coursework in the history of photography is preferred.
Curatorial: Photography and the Black Arts Movement, 1955–1980 and Dorothea Lange: People, 1919–1964
The intern assists curators with research, coordinating images and lists, and communicating with artists and institutions in developing two upcoming exhibitions. Photography and the Black Arts Movement, 1955–1980, and its related programs 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 relationship to the American civil rights struggle. Dorothea Lange: People, 1919–1964, focuses on the role of portraiture in Lange’s career. Recent MA graduates and current art history graduate students are encouraged to apply. Knowledge or coursework in the history of photography is preferred.
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 that will ultimately document some 2,600 objects. The exhibition, scheduled to open in late 2023 in tandem with the expected completion of the online catalogue raisonné, clarifies the important role that paper played in Rothko’s broader output, including suggesting ways in which solutions found on paper affected the trajectory of his painting practice at key moments. The intern will assist in all aspects of both projects, with a focus on conducting research into the provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography of individual works; drafting brief texts for publication; and managing image assets.
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 further afield to view works being considered for inclusion in the catalogue raisonné and/or exhibition or to consult relevant collections or archives. Current art history graduate students and recent MA graduates with specialized knowledge and coursework in twentieth-century American art history are encouraged to apply.
Curatorial: Sculpture and Decorative Arts
The intern works with curators and object conservators to study and interpret objects from the permanent collection of sculpture and decorative arts, chiefly but not exclusively Italian (fifteenth and sixteenth century) and French (eighteenth and nineteenth century). The intern also assists with the preparations for various exhibitions, including one on works by Antonio Canova. Tasks may include helping undertake research for the catalog and formulating checklists. Important qualifications include the ability to work independently and having an advanced reading knowledge of Italian or French.
Curatorial: Special Projects in Modern Art
The intern assists in conducting research for an upcoming exhibition on modern abstraction and woven textiles. Tasks include assembling research materials, fact checking written texts, maintaining bibliographies and chronologies, establishing and updating research files, and completing administrative tasks relating to materials for the accompanying publication. Current advanced art history graduate students with a special interest in modern art and high-level research skills are encouraged to apply. Fluency in reading French and German is a plus.
Digital Media Productions
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. Research reports on TBMA, focusing on past iterations, technical parameters of installations, and the technical decision-making processes that resulted in those iterations, form the outcome of the internship. This research provides 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 independently and as a team member. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying digital media, modern and contemporary art, library science, archival studies, and/or museum studies are encouraged to apply. Candidates with coursework or experience in electronic media conservation and time-based media technologies are preferred.
Equal Employment Opportunity/Civil Rights
The intern performs legal analysis in employment law and shadows staff in meetings about employee complaints, investigations, DEAI planning, and Special Emphasis Months. They help draft outreach materials for National Gallery of Art employees to understand their rights under the various Federal civil rights laws. Law school students who have completed their first year and are entering their second year of law school in fall 2022 are encouraged to apply.
Education: Accessible Programs
The intern supports program and project areas, including The Art of Looking (virtual sessions for the general public) and Just Us at the National Gallery of Art (virtual meetings for people with memory loss and their care partners). Although marketed to different audiences, a similar approach to facilitating and prioritizing active listening through slow looking is taken in both The Art of Looking and Just Us sessions. The intern receives training and observes these sessions before providing assistance. In addition, the intern writes short descriptions for online images, learning best practices on how to develop a true description or describe the actual object, rather than address its creator or history. Candidates pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in museum education or disability studies are encouraged to apply. An interest in accessibility and universal design, and the ability to engage with diverse museum audiences online, are essential.
Education: Community Programs
The intern works with the manager of community programs on the conception and realization of projects designed for local audiences. Duties include in-person program support, developing an in-gallery guide for museum visitors, and contributing to a survey of community-focused initiatives at other museums, which involves interviewing staff from peer institutions and summarizing key findings. Candidates with a strong interest in museum education or community programs and with knowledge of Washington, DC, and its communities are encouraged to apply.
Education: Summer Institute for Educators
The intern assists with the National Gallery’s Virtual Summer Institute for Educators, a week-long professional development seminar for national and international teachers, held online in July 2022. Assignments 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 also assists with providing feedback to participants in the Teaching Critical Thinking through Art online course and researches 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 recent graduates of such programs are encouraged to apply. Interest in working with K–12 teachers and expertise in Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, and Google Classroom are essential.
Library: Rare Prints Project
The intern assists with researching and cataloguing the library’s collection of “reproductive” chalcographic prints from the Chalcographie du Louvre (1797–present), the Calcografia di Roma (1738–present), the International Chalcographical Society (1886–1892), and the Arundel Society (1848–1897). The prints represent a variety of techniques, including etching, engraving, aquatint, chromolithographs, and photogravures, and depict works largely by seventeenth- to nineteenth-century Italian and French painters. Many of the prints were pulled in the early twentieth century from seventeenth- to nineteenth-century plates and represent work from some of the most well known engravers of their time.
Current graduate students interested in the history of printmaking (particularly nineteenth-century printmaking practices/institutions) or European art history (seventeenth to nineteenth century) are encouraged to apply. Basic knowledge of Italian and/or French is required. An ability to work with database software or library cataloging systems is highly desirable. Candidates should also possess an understanding of printmaking techniques and materials as well as familiarity with museum registration and archival procedures and methods.
Library: Adolphe Braun Project
The intern inventories and then catalogues and digitizes the department’s photographs by French photographer Adolphe Braun (1812–1877) and his company Braun et Cie. Braun began photographing flowers around 1852 to assist him in his work as a textile designer. He published a book of these photos in 1855 and exhibited them in the Exposition Universelle of 1855. Two years later he established his photographic firm Braun et Cie. In 1867, the firm began producing carbon prints of artworks and continued the practice well after Braun’s death. The intern surveys the entire archive, locates Braun prints and creates an inventory, and then makes full catalog records, digitizes the prints, and loads them in the library’s online system.
Current graduate students with a background in art history are encouraged to apply. Knowledge of digitization methods and the handling of nineteenth-century photographs is desirable; a working knowledge of the French language is useful. An ability to work with database software or library cataloging systems is highly desirable. Candidates should also have some familiarity with museum registration, library systems, or archives procedures and methods, although they will learn how to perform this work to meet museum and library standards.
Library: Rare Auction Catalog Project
The intern assists in updating bibliographic records for the library’s extensive collection of auction catalogs and conducts a detailed inventory of rare catalogs dating before the year 1900 to identify which should be digitized. The National Gallery of Art Library holds one of the most extensive and comprehensive collections of European and American sales catalogs from the early eighteenth century to the present. Many bear handwritten annotations that provide insight into bids and the identities of buyers and sellers, information that is especially valuable to art historians and provenance researchers. By substantially enhancing the level of searchable information in the records, the project improves access to this collection for both National Gallery staff and the wider public. Students of library science with an interest in cataloging are encouraged to apply. Candidates with knowledge of European and American art history and a reading knowledge of French are preferred.
Do you want an internship that focuses on both technology and data science? Are you interested in learning more about technology and art from museum experts? Help us bring technology further into the art domain at the National Gallery. The intern works with virtual-assistant technologies, such as Alexa and Google Home, utilizes artificial intelligence for image analysis, employs virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance visitor experiences, and uses data visualization for storytelling. Candidates must be comfortable using Python and other programming languages and have a basic understanding of data science techniques, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Candidates pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering are encouraged to apply.
The intern learns about developing and delivering public-facing digital products for the National Gallery. In preparation for the wholesale redesign of our website in 2022, the intern works alongside product managers, designers, and engineers to reimagine our digital presence. In addition to self-directed independent projects guided by product specialists, the intern works closely with staff on the National Gallery’s websites, mobile apps, email, onsite kiosks, and other public-facing technologies. 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 encouraged 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.