The National Museum of African American History and Culture
is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
Contribute significantly to the creation, management, and distribution of the museum’s digital assets and gain experience in museum copyright, research and writing, and community engagement. The selected interns will have the opportunity to enhance their digital skills, build a professional network, and pursue mentorships within the Smithsonian Institution while gaining skills in myriad fields. At the conclusion of the program, the interns will have completed a variety of projects that will enrich their portfolios, resumes, and understanding of initiatives undertaken at the museum to further the Smithsonian’s Digitization Strategic Plan. The modules break down as follows:
• Cataloging—Interns will learn basic cataloging procedures, train to use the Museum’s collection information system, TMS (The Museum System), and catalog a selection of objects from home using images and information provided by staff.
• Digitization—Interns will be trained to digitize flat objects on-site (in-person) using the Phase One Camera System and Canon Camera System. Interns will also be trained to edit raw image files from NMAAHC digitized collections using Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, and Capture One.
• Rights and reproductions—Interns will learn basic copyright law and permissible uses of museum collection images and how images are made available to the public through the Smithsonian’s Open Access Initiative.
• Outreach—Interns work with Family History Center staff to plan virtual programs/workshops/lectures that teach audiences how to use databases and digital repositories for genealogical and historical research.
• Research and writing – Interns will research and write a 1,000–1,500 word Collection Story on the topic of their choice using objects in the Museum’s collection.
Sample of Intern Duties:
• Train to use TMS (The Museum System) the Museum’s collection information system
• Utilize museum cataloging standards to work on collection records
• Conduct research needed to create and enhance collection records
• Photograph flat objects from home (photographs, documents, etc.)
• Manage digital assets in multiple platforms (create, edit, manage metadata, and quality control of
• Attend team meetings (virtual)
• Research copyright of museum objects
• Write a collection story or blog post
• Plan virtual public programs with the museum’s Family History Center staff
• Working knowledge of how to use TMS (The Museum System) collection information system
• Experience with collections information research and management
• Experience with industry-wide software such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, and Capture One
• Digital imaging and content management skills
• Digital asset management skills
• Gain an overview of copyright law and permissible uses of museum collection images
• Understand how to integrate digital assets into various computer systems
• Experience planning programs for wide audiences
How to Apply:
•Internship program application through SOLAA
•Download and fill out an application form (pdf) and submit it along with the documents below as Word or PDF attachments to RFSInternships@si.edu(link sends e-mail) with the email subject: “<First Name_Last Name> – Internship Application 2022” by 11:59 p.m. EST February 15, 2022.
•Cover letter (no more than 2 pages) detailing your past and present academic history and other experiences which you feel have prepared you for this internship and an outline of what you hope to learn during this internship.
•Two academic and/or professional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be submitted by the intern applicant along with all other application materials.