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Graduate Unpaid Internships and Research Assistantships

Due to COVID-19 we are pausing Graduate Unpaid Internships and Research Assistantships. Kindly check back in fall 2021 for updates.

Since 1964 the National Gallery of Art has offered professional museum training to candidates from all backgrounds through a variety of internship programs. In addition to the Gallery's paid internships and fellowships, a number of unpaid internships and research assistantships are available. Interns work in various Gallery departments, supervised by a curator or other department head. Interns contribute to ongoing Gallery projects and programs and are invited to participate in the weekly seminar that introduces the staff, departments, programs, and functions of the Gallery. Research assistants concentrate on specific projects and do not attend the weekly seminar.


Positions are open to graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program and to recent recipients of a relevant advanced degree. Preference will be given to graduate students with an award from a granting institution other than their home institution. For postgraduate participants with a master's degree, the degree must have been conferred within one year of the proposed start date; for PhD recipients, the degree must have been conferred within two years of the proposed start date.


Eligible applicants may request participation for a period between 3 and 11 months. Both full-time and part-time opportunities are available. Part-time hours vary, but a commitment of 24 hours per week is expected from unpaid research assistants. For unpaid interns, 28 hours per week is expected. Please note the number of hours per week you are willing to work in your application.

Application Timeline and Procedures

Rolling Schedule

Graduate unpaid interns and research assistants will be accepted throughout the year on a rolling application schedule. Applications need to be received at least a month before the proposed start date.

Application Packet

Complete application packets must include:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Full résumé or CV.
  3. A writing sample. The sample should be approximately 20 pages, including footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, and images. If the sample is an excerpt from a longer paper, please include a short paragraph indicating what portion you are submitting and what the paper goes on to address.
  4. Three letters of recommendation; one must be from the chair or dean of your department, one from your advisor, and one is of your choosing. Letters must be in sealed envelopes with the signature of your reference across the seal.
  5. Transcripts (for applicants at institutions that issue transcripts): send us copies of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended.


Note: Should you have difficulty in securing transcripts, you may request that the records officer or registrar from each institution send the transcripts directly to the National Gallery via fax or e-mail. The fax number is (202) 842-6935, attn: Department of Academic Programs; the e-mail address is [email protected]

For applicants at institutions that do not issue transcripts: send copies of comparable documents. If you have a question about what might be considered a comparable document, please contact [email protected].

Review Process
All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Gallery staff and outside specialists. Please note that materials submitted in your application packet will not be returned.

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.

Department of Gallery and Studio Learning
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

[email protected]
(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.