- 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 American Food History Project team has created two opportunities for virtual internships in 2021. These internships will provide work experiences with curators, historians, and program staff to (1) conduct research on objects and topics relating to food history; catalog and help prepare for deposit recently collected objects, archival materials, and oral histories for the Smithsonian collections (2) develop multidisciplinary public programs related to food history including, but not limited to, “Cooking Up History” and food-related panels and roundtables. Some of these programs will take place during the internship, while others may take place afterwards. For the latter, the intern will help plan the events, but is not expected or required to participate in them.
The theme for our 2021 public programming around food history is under development. Our programs regularly engage the public in exploring the role of food in American history and culture, with particular emphasis recently on the history of community activism, food justice, culinary traditions, food policy, and other realms shaping and impacting our contemporary food systems. They also spark connections to broader themes and topics in American history, from labor to the environment, from immigration to race, from changing gender roles to advertising, from innovation to community traditions, and from economic history to transportation.
Goal: Overall, this internship aims to provide interns with an opportunity to work with a museum team to manage collections and develop food history public programming that draws upon Smithsonian resources. The project is grounded in research, museum collections, content development, and the planning of food history public programs ranging from panel discussions to cooking demonstrations.
Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:
- Create object records and write descriptive language for newly acquired objects in the NMAH Collection.
- Prepare oral histories by transcribing recordings and inputting meta data into digital records, necessary steps required for depositing materials into the Archives Center.
- Conduct research on behalf of writing projects that may include blogposts, articles, or books.
- Work effectively with a range of museum professionals on collaborative and highly visible public programs.
- Write interpretive text using historical and cultural sources for public audiences on diverse multi-media platforms including the museum’s website.
Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:
- Draft records for newly acquired objects including object descriptions that can then be uploaded to the digital catalog.
- Transcribe oral histories and input meta data into digital records before depositing oral histories into the Archives Center.
- Contribute meaningfully to discussions related to each public program’s theme, write descriptions that will share food history content with the public, and contribute to and compile food programming bibliographies.
- Research, identify, and communicate with potential guest speakers who are subject experts in food related fields.
- Co-create the American Food History Project’s public programming schedule including panel discussions, Deep-Dish Dialogues, Conversation Circles, and Cooking Up History programs.
- Collect and help manage digital assets for marketing and outreach for public programs.
- Help update existing American Food History project and Food History Weekend websites, specifically visual and written content.
- 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:
- Demonstrated interest in cultural American studies such as African American studies, Asian American studies, and/or Latinx studies through academic, professional, or personal experiences.
- Undergraduate or graduate-level coursework, including at community college, or equivalent professional experience in the discipline of history, folklore, anthropology, ethnic studies, or a related field.
- Proven writing skills for a general audience.
Audience: This internship is specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field, and is intended for 2-3 interns. Candidates from communities typically underrepresented in the fields of food history and museum studies are highly encouraged to apply.
Timeline: This internship will take place in Summer and/or Fall 2021, lasting 10 weeks. This internship is expected to be part-time.
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: Through special funding raised during the project’s 2020 Food History Weekend, this internship provides a stipend of $3,500 for a 20-hour a week internship that lasts 10 weeks. 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.