Each year, the Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes dozens of undergraduate and graduate students who wish to learn more about various aspects of archival, preservation, and conservation work. Internships are offered throughout the year, and internship applications are accepted on a rolling basis for spring, summer, and fall positions. Consult the Smithsonian Internship website for general information on the Institution’s internships. Internships can vary in length and are offered in a wide variety of activities such as:

  • archival arrangement and description;
  • conservation and preservation of paper, photographs, audio and video recordings, and electronic records;
  • digital preservation and curation;
  • researching  and writing institutional history;
  • creating oral and video history;
  • use of the web, new media, and social media for cultural heritage organizations.

Application Instructions

Internship applications are accepted for spring (deadline: November 1), summer (deadline: March 15), and fall (deadline: July 1) semesters. Applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). Please note, the following items must be included and uploaded into the SOLAA system as part of your application:

  1. Essay of 500 to 1,000 words describing your learning objectives
  2. Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended
  3. Two letters of reference
  4. Resume (cover letter optional)

For further information regarding Archives internships, contact:

Internship Coordinator
Smithsonian Institution Archives
PO Box 37012    MRC 507
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Telephone - 202.633.5932
Fax - 202.633.5928
Email -

Current Opportunities

Fall 2017 - Institutional History Program

The Institutional History Program of the Smithsonian Institution Archives is the public history office responsible for research and publication on the history of the Smithsonian Institution.  An Oral History Program documents the history of the Smithsonian.  The Institutional History Program intern will help process an oral history collection documenting the history of The Smithsonian Associates, a membership-based education and outreach program of the Smithsonian, since its founding in 1965.  The Smithsonian Associates Oral History Collection consists of 22 interviews conducted in 2013 documenting the history of TSA and the contributions of its staff.

The intern will prepare the collection for processing by securing deed of gift forms for any interviews without them; ensuring digital preservation of all the original digital audio files; and then preparing summaries and name/term lists so the interviews can be sent out to a contractor for transcription.  The intern will also prepare preliminary description for the archival finding aid to the collection.  The intern will also search for photographs of the interviewees and events/individuals they discuss to include in the transcripts.  The intern can also prepare a blog for The Bigger Picture about their work on the project.  In addition to this “hands-on” experience working with an oral history collection, the intern will complete readings on the history of the Smithsonian.  The intern supervisor will provide the intern with a bibliography of appropriate readings. 

The deadline for applications is August 15, 2017. To apply, please visit the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA)


Graduate and post-graduate students are eligible for a limited number of fellowships in the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Many fellows have come to the Archives to use the collections for in-depth research on a wide variety of topics, from the history of science in America to the evolution of zoo keeping practices. The Institutional History staff serve as mentors and advisors for hosts of researchers, and continue to attract high-quality scholars from around the world.

Preservation fellows have found the Archives to be an exceptional place to further studies in paper and photographic preservation and conservation. With state of the art laboratories at their disposal, and a wide variety of types of materials to work with, fellows in this area enjoy mentoring and guidance from the experts on staff.

For further information on how to apply for a fellowship position with the Archives, visit the Office of Fellowships website. Applications are competitive and will be judged on the merits of the proposed research and how well they match the resources available in the Archives.

For further information on fellowships contact:

Office of Fellowships
Smithsonian Institution
470 L'Enfant Plaza SW Suite 7102
MRC 902 PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
phone: 202.633.7070
fax: 202.633.7069


Several very important people help the Archives each year by volunteering their time and energy to help accomplish a wide variety of archival projects. Volunteers range from recent graduates to retired individuals wishing to learn new skills, or to apply their well-developed skills in preserving the historical records of the Smithsonian Institution. Their generosity is remarkable and they bring to the workplace an added degree of diversity and experience.

Projects that are currently underway include:

  • Photographic restoration
  • Paper preservation and conservation
  • Digital preservation
  • Organizing and cataloging archival collections
  • Digitizing original documents and photographs
  • Preparing entries on the history of the Smithsonian for an online chronology and bibliography

If you are interested in working as a volunteer in the Archives, please visit the Smithsonian Volunteer website for further program and contact information.