- Please read about how to submit your application on our website. We will not review applications submitted via Handshake; we will only review applications submitted via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment Database.
- This internship is a virtual experience.
- All accepted interns will have the option to apply for an internship stipend based on disclosed financial need after their selection.
The History of African American Fundraising Collecting Initiative is excited to offer internships for advanced students in African American history to learn about collections assessment and gain practice experience in the museum field. The Initiative seeks to build a collection of objects exploring the history of African American fundraising for charitable and social justice purposes from around 1780 to present, along with a collection of oral histories with Black fundraisers active in the past several decades. Thoughtful collecting will depend on first evaluating NMAH holdings for relevant material; the Initiative has already identified a number of objects including: Fisk Jubilee Singers diorama; a Donor list for the Washington, DC, National Training School for Women and Girls established by Nannie Helen Burroughs; a poster for a North Carolina Baseball benefit game; and Pancaked ballet shoes worn by Misty Copeland. Additionally, the Initiative aims to engage the public through a variety of mediums in learning more about the history of African American fundraising and philanthropy.
Goal: Overall, this internship is a professional learning experiences that aims to deepen an intern’s understanding of African American history and material culture and to introduce an intern to collections work and the history of fundraising and philanthropy.
Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:
- Understand the history of African American fundraising and philanthropy within the context of American fundraising history in general
- Use a collections database in order to locate object information and collaborate with curators and collections managers to share, organize, and update data
- Engage with internal and external audiences by synthesizing and articulating ideas from collections research through a variety of platforms, including social media posts, blogging, educational resources, and/or presentations
Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:
- Creatively collaborate with curators and collections managers to conduct object research about African American fundraising and philanthropy history
- Explore the complexity of researching African American history by conducting internal and external research regarding objects in the collection, including analyzing the history of museums and the construction of historical knowledge
- Practice ethical collections database management skills
- Collaborate with museum colleagues across the institution on a variety of projects, including attending virtual meetings, coordinating conversations, and participating in museum colloquiums and events
Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:
- Working towards African American History degree, either with advanced undergraduate classes or graduate classes
- Ability to work both independently and in a collaborative environment
- Open-minded in learning new topics and skills
- Some experience organizing and conducting research, academically or professionally
Audience: This internship is specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1 intern. Advanced undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, career changers, and other professionals are encouraged to apply.
Timeline: This internship will take place in Summer 2021. This internship is expected to be between 30-40 hours a week. The anticipated length of this internship is 10 – 12 weeks; the length can be flexible.
Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.
Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.
Financial Information: This opportunity provides a guaranteed stipend of $7,000, pro-rated for part-time. Additionally, upon selection, interns will have the opportunity to apply for additional funding based on financial need; the amount of internship stipends depends on the amount of museum funds available and is at the discretion of NMAH. Internship stipends issued by the Smithsonian are not considered salary or meant as compensation, but are awarded to help defray living expenses for an intern during the term of their appointment. If an intern is awarded a stipend, stipends cannot be distributed before the start of an internship, and we typically recommend that an intern has at least enough external funding to cover the first month’s expenses to accommodate the wait time required in stipend processing. To learn more, please check out our Internship FAQ page.
If you have any questions about the internship, please contact Caroline Fiertz, Interns & Fellows Program Manager at the National Museum of American History, at NMAHintern@si.edu or 202-633-3556.