The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) internship programs allows people with diverse interests, strengths, and goals to experience an educational environment where they can work and learn from professionals in the museum field. SITES offers unpaid internship opportunities in a variety of different areas: public relations, exhibition research and planning, publications, Museum on Main Street programs, and social and digital media.
This web page helps students learn about the application process and what is expected of Smithsonian interns. Please feel free to e-mail Stephanie McCoy Johnson, Internship Coordinator, if you have additional questions.
Why intern at SITES? SITES offers interns the opportunity to experience and develop professional museum skills while helping build real exhibitions and their educational components. Interns are assigned to specific departments where their contributions can become part of the exhibitions that are seen by millions of visitors every year!
All internships are awarded based on availability of projects. Rolling deadlines are in effect for Fall and Spring applications. Due to the high volume of applicants for summer internships, the deadline to submit applications for summer internships is March 15th.
Please apply through the Smithsonian's Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). You must register in the system to apply.
Internship applications are accepted throughout the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Deadlines for summer applications is March 15th.
Each application should include the following materials:
- Completed application form
- Two letters of reference
1. Who may apply?
Individuals who have completed at least one full year at an undergraduate college or university. Graduate students and recent grads are also encouraged to apply. Because SITES develops exhibitions that cover almost every field of interest, all majors are invited to apply.
2. Are there deadlines for my application?
Deadlines for spring and fall applications are rolling and can be submitted at any time. Internships are awarded based on the availability of projects. The deadline for summer internships is March 15th.
3. What kind of internships does SITES offer?
SITES offers internships in exhibition planning, public relations, marketing, and social media and digital media. Internships may cover a broad range of topics including art, history, culture, science, and natural history. According to your interests and the needs of our organization, you may be involved in more than one project, or in more than one department depending on both our needs and yours.
4. What happens once SITES receives my application?
Once your application and all the required material are received, your information will be circulated by the Internship Coordinator to the appropriate staff for review. This may take several weeks depending on staff work load. If you are selected, the internship coordinator will be in touch with you to discuss the specifics of your position, the time frame, and your internship hours. If you then accept the appointment, the supervising staff will contact you regarding the work assignment. A minimum of 20 hours per week are required; however, some interns work up to 40 hours a week. Internships last between one and three months, depending on the project.
5. Can I get college credit for my internship?
SITES does not award college credit, but most U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning at a museum-related organization. Contact your school's registrar, career planning office, or college advisor for more information.
6. What happens on my first day?
You will be given forms and instructions about your Smithsonian appointment. After receiving your ID and completing a computer security awareness training, you will attend an orientation session for all new Smithsonian interns. You will then begin discussing possible assignments with your project supervisor. You will also be assigned a work space and supplied with a copy of SITES' orientation packet. Be sure to explore the Smithsonian's intern webpage, which includes an intern event calendar. (This page is only accessible internally.)
7. What is the closest metro stop or parking garages to SITES?
The closest is L' Enfant Plaza Metro station (orange, blue, yellow, and green lines). It is located at 7th Street and Maryland Avenue or can be accessed from the L'Enfant Plaza Promenade (basement floor of our building). The area on the National Mall can also be reached by numerous city and Metro buses. Colonial Parking at L'Enfant Plaza Hotel is $20.00 a day. Metered parking is adjacent to the building but is only available for two hours at a time.
8. How should I dress?
As a representative of the Smithsonian and SITES, you will want to wear business casual attire. Guidelines vary within each Smithsonian department, but we discourage all of the following: halter tops, micro-mini skirts, torn jeans, or gym clothes.
Want to know more? Contact Stephanie McCoy Johnson, Internship Coordinator, 202.633.3105.