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Professional Exchange Visit Series: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, DC

Professional Exchange Visit Series: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, DC

EACE Blog contribution by Erica Ely, Program Director (Internships), University of Maryland University Career Center & The President’s Promise

NMAHWith approximately five million visitors flying through the doors on an annual basis, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) in Washington, DC provides a unique experience for student interns and fellows year-round. On Thursday, July 24, EACE members were invited to learn more about the opportunities specifically within NMAH, but also within the entire Smithsonian Institution comprised of 19 museums, 9 research centers and other units.

Karen Carter in the Office of Fellowships started off the morning discussing unit-driven internships and centrally-funded programs. Unit-driven internships include internships

within various museums, research centers, and other units (for example, Office of Communications and External Affairs, Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs, and Office of International Relations). Explore the Smithsonian’s unit-driven internships here. Centrally-funded programs tend to be fellowships, but some internships are available. Many of these programs have a January 15th deadline, but you can explore other programs available here.

Interns do not need to be current students; the Smithsonian will accept individuals as young as 14 and as old as 90+ for internship opportunities. Unfortunately, most internships are unpaid, but there are some paid opportunities. International students are welcome to intern at the Smithsonian.

Karen advised us to encourage student to look at each unit and not just focus on the name of the museum. For example, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has internships in education, finance, and social media; they are not just looking for history majors. Internships are extremely competitive in the summer, so encourage students to consider an internship in the fall, spring or winter.

Next, the program was turned over to Omar Eaton-Martinez, our host and the Intern and Fellows Program Manager for NMAH. Omar provided a wonderful overview of the American History units and how student interns fit within each unit. Though the deadline has already passed for fall internships (July 1), spring internships have an October 15 deadline and summer internships have a March 1 deadline. Students create an account on the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment to apply and will be required to submit: a resume/CV, two letters of recommendation, transcripts (can be unofficial) and an essay (minimum of one page; maximum of two pages). The essay should be a synopsis of the student’s academic, internship and volunteer experiences – while displaying the student’s passion for american history and this internship program.

If students cannot afford a full, 10-week unpaid internship, NMAH will be flexible with students and try to set-up a shorter-term internship.


Smithsonian Career Center Conference

December 4 & 5, 2014

This conference is designed to inform career services professionals of intern and fellow opportunities within the Smithsonian Institution. December 4 is a full-day of sessions and December 5 is a half-day of sessions. Registration opens September 1. If registered by October 1, the cost is $100; afterwards, registration is $150. Space is limited.

One Comment
  1. I was an intern with the Smithsonian Associates! Feel free to contact me if students have questions about interning there – it was a great experience!

    August 20, 2014

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