A group of smiling interns sit together in the Kogod Courtyard

An Overview of Our Programs

Two Internship programs are offered that coincide with the academic calendar: 

  1. The Advanced-Level Program takes place during the fall and spring semesters
  2. The Summer Program is an eight-week program that begins early to mid-June

Since 1968, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery have provided instruction and inspiration to over one thousand graduate and undergraduate students, as well as others seeking self-enrichment. Former interns have achieved success in professional positions in the art and museum fields, both nationally and internationally.

We welcome Individuals from all different backgrounds, experiences, abilities and perspectives. The Smithsonian does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor. There are no fees charged to students for program participation and academic enrollment is not required. Interns are paired with a staff mentor. As a group, they participate in professional development workshops and attend lectures on American art by eminent scholars in the field.

Mentoring relationships between interns and staff are promoted and program alumni are encouraged to maintain contact for networking purposes; an alumni reunion is held yearly during the College Art Association conference.

Application Information for Both Programs

Application deadlines:

Advanced-Level Program: June 15

Summer Program: February 15

What you need to submit:

  1. A statement of purpose: explaining personal career interests, the skills the applicant hopes to acquire and why the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been chosen as a possible learning center.
  2. A resume:  detailing the applicant’s academic coursework and experience, paid or unpaid (a curriculum vitae will also be accepted).
  3. Official or unofficial transcripts: from all schools attended above the high school level.
  4. Two current letters of recommendation: academic and /or professional.
  5. A statement of financial need ONLY if the applicant is requesting consideration for the full-time Kasok Family Internship in Museum Studies.

All materials (listed above) must be submitted via Smithsonian Online Academic appointment system. Application materials received after the deadline will be waitlisted.

Summer Program applicants will receive notice of their application status between late March and early April. Advanced-Level program applicants will receive notice of their status between late June and early July.


If you have questions about the application process, please send inquiries to If you have questions concerning the SOLAA application, please go to the Help section on the SOLAA website.

Advanced-Level Program

The Advanced-Level Program provides its participants with a comprehensive overview of museum operations by combining hands-on project experience with professional instruction. The program structure is designed to encourage and support interns’ career development. Over the course of the year, Advanced-Level Interns have the opportunity to participate in the work of multiple museum departments.

Who is Eligible: This program is designed for graduate students, as a supplement to their academic programs and those interested in developing a career focus prior to attending graduate school.

Stipend: $1,250 - $20,000 *

Duration: Thirteen weeks fall and spring semesters, typically 20 hours per week. *

Application Opens: November 1

Deadline: June 15

Qualifications: Applicants should have some previous experience in an art or history related organization. Applicants may be graduate students, exceptional college seniors, individuals with a four-year college degree (enrollment in an academic program is not required), or international students. Pre-doctoral candidates with little previous museum experience will be considered on an individual basis. 

Stipends: All internship positions carry stipends. Stipends are intended to supplement the intern’s living expenses.

All internship recipients will automatically be considered for funding from endowments established by the following generous donors: Harry and Beverly Mandil, Jack and Marjorie Rachlin, and Allan J. and Reda Radwan Riley. (Stipend amounts may vary yearly; no additional paperwork is required for consideration.)

The Steven and Stephanie Kasok Museum Studies Award provides a $20,000 stipend to one highly qualified individual who wishes to participate in a full-time internship for two-semesters. Applicants interested in this full-time award should submit a statement of financial need along with the other required application documents. 

Summer Internship Program

The Summer Program is an introduction to museum work. Interns in the Summer Program concentrate on one assigned department or office, compatible with their interests or career goals instead of moving through different museum areas.

Who is Eligible: Primarily undergraduate students with little or no previous museum experience. 

Stipend: $500

Duration: Eight weeks, early/mid-June through late July/early August, typically 40 hours per week.

Application Opens: November 1

Deadline: February 15

Qualification: Students with a four-year college degree and undergraduate college juniors and seniors (students completing their sophomore year at the time of application) may apply. Graduate students will be considered for this program on an individual basis.  Students must be available for the full eight weeks. 

Stipends: All internship positions carry stipends. Stipend awards are intended to supplement the intern’s living expenses.

Academic Credit or Graduation Certification for Internships

Students from all universities and colleges are eligible to earn academic credit from their home institution, in contractual arrangement with the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

When an intern requires academic credit or graduation certification for their internship, SAAM requires the home college, university, or sponsoring organization to pay a Facility and Instruction Fee. This payment is in recognition of the highly structured program format, facilities, staff support, evaluations, and other services provided by the museum. The amount of this fee is a percentage of the tuition the student is paying to their home institution. If the student is receiving graduate certification as an integral part of the student's academic program, then the fee is determined by the length of the internship. For a semester-long internship, the facility and instruction fee may not be less than $1,000.

Students who wish to receive academic credit or certification must notify the Intern Program Officer at the time of application. Appropriate information and instructions will be provided. Approval of the Facility and Instruction Fee arrangement must be obtained from a supervisory staff member in the student's academic institution prior to the commencement of the internship. All fees are applied to the Intern Program Fund, which is used exclusively to support and maintain the high standards of these two exceptional training programs. 

Deans and faculty who wish to enhance their university curricula with one or both of the museum's two internship programs are invited to contact the Office of Intern Programs at At the institution's request, a detailed program presentation and consultation with a SAAM representative may be arranged; the host college or university pays travel and lodging.