Professional Development Internships -Smithsonian Libraries – Washington, DC

Paid internship opportunities at the Smithsonian Libraries are designed for current graduate students in library or information science or related fields (depending on the project) who are interested in working in research and/or museum libraries. Solid research, analytical, computer and writing skills are desired. The number of selected interns may vary, depending on funding and available projects.

Applications are now open for Summer of 2018. Please review the project listing thoroughly and note the geographic location. Applications are due February 2nd, 2018.


Modern and Contemporary Art, A to Z
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ artists’ files are an exceptional resource for art historical research. Researchers rely on artist files to establish chronologies, flesh out exhibition histories, review stylistic developments, and assess the critical reception of artists over time. These valued and heavily used resources contain items of an ephemeral nature such as small catalogs, brochures, and announcements, many including illustrations. Often these files are the only obtainable sources of critical documentation about well-established artists, as well as lesser known, emerging, and regional artists. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library holds more than 41 file drawers on over 2,000 artists, art institutions, and collectors of modern and contemporary art.

This internship project consists of evaluating the existing folder content for retention and deaccession; updating the physical housing of the collection to current archival standards; reorganizing and relabeling folder content according to best practices established by the Art Libraries Society of North America’s Artist File Special Interest Group; and reconciling collection holdings in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Art & Artist Files Database. The intern will also develop at least one social media story and blog post to highlight the collection, the content of which could be focused on one or more objects or artists, or thematic.

The student will learn library and archival best practices for the physical maintenance and day-to-day processing and arranging of numerous and varied items found in special ephemeral collections. The student will develop knowledge of artists, stylistic developments, and chronologies in modern and contemporary art. The student will gain practice in researching and writing about art topics, and learn about issues of copyright and attribution.

The ideal candidate will be an undergraduate or graduate student studying library science, or archival studies. Some prior knowledge of the major movements in 20th and 21st century art is preferred. Knowledge of additional world languages is useful but not required. The ability to focus on detailed work and perform fine motor skills is necessary.

Additional Professional Development Internship Information:

Eligibility Criteria
This paid internship program is open to United States citizens (or permanent residents) who are currently enrolled in an advanced (masters) library degree or related program, depending on project, from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or those who have graduated in the past six months.

Application Materials
1) Application
2) Resume detailing your experience, career interests and internship goals
3) Unofficial Academic Transcripts from all college/universities attended
4) Academic Essay: Two pages describing how academic goals, qualifications and career aspirations relate to the internship at the Smithsonian Libraries
5) Two letters of professional or academic recommendation (e.g., professors, past employers, supervisors).

All applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system: . Applicants should be sure to choose “Smithsonian Institution Libraries” as the unit, “Smithsonian Institution Libraries Professional Development Internship” as the program, and then select the two projects that most interest them.

Selection Criteria
1) At least a 3.0 GPA in the major (as verified by the submission of academic transcripts)
2) Demonstrated interest in the research and museological activities of the Smithsonian Institution and work of Smithsonian Libraries
3) Demonstrated knowledge or coursework related to Smithsonian areas of interest; solid writing, analytical, and computer skills are mandatory.
4) Suitable Smithsonian Libraries’ projects for members of applicant pool.

Interns may receive up to $500 per week, which is awarded to the student as a stipend. Internships are full time (35 hours per week) for six weeks. Interns are not eligible for Smithsonian or Federal transportation benefits.

Applications close February 2nd, 2018. Applicants should expect to be notified of selection status in mid-February. Professional Development internships are performed for six full weeks during the summer. Internships typically begin in early June, though exact dates are flexible, depending on project and supervisor.
Further inquiries about Smithsonian Libraries Internships should be directed to:
Erin Clements Rushing (

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