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Professional Development
Visiting Professionals Program
Affiliations Internship
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Professional Development Program:
Smithsonian Affiliations Internship

Visiting Professional Program
  1. What is this program?
  2. Is there funding involved?
  3. What is the application process?
  4. What is a typical project for an intern?
  5. How is an intern selected?
  6. Are there other requirements?
  7. What are the deadlines?
  8. In what other activities are interns involved?
  9. What about housing?
  10. Who can I contact with questions?

What is the Smithsonian Affiliations Internship?

Smithsonian Affiliations offers internships focused on national outreach based on availability and current activities of the staff. Projects vary in focus and intensity and range from short-term, part-time appointments to full-time summer-long commitments. Working side-by-side with the Affiliations staff, interns develop specialized skills in national conference planning, membership management, fundraising, public relations, programmatic marketing, web management, and new media strategy. In addition, interns will develop professional networking skills while working collaboratively among the various Smithsonian museums and units to learn how to develop educational programming and coordinate object loans for Affiliates across the country.

Is there funding involved?

This is not a paid internship opportunity.

What is the application process?

Please apply using the Smithsonian online application system Once registered and logged in you will need to complete the requested information.

A complete application package must include:
  • One letter of reference from the applicant's past or current educator or employer
  • A current curriculum vitae or resume
  • Academic transcripts (unofficial are accepted)
  • A two-page essay (double-spaced) addressing the following points:
  1. What you hope to accomplish through an internship
  2. How it would relate to your academic and career goals
  3. What specifically about the Smithsonian interests you and leads you to apply for an internship
Essential Tips for the Online Application
  • Do NOT submit your application until all necessary components are uploaded (i.e. essay, transcripts, resume). Once submitted, you cannot upload or change anything within the application.
  • You will need the names and email addresses of one academic or professional reference. Through the online SOLAA system, you will send an email to him/her so s/he can provide references through the web.
  • If you do not have a file to upload for your transcripts, please send a hardcopy to:
Regular Mail:
Elizabeth Bugbee
Smithsonian Affiliations
P.O. Box 37012
MRC 942
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

Elizabeth Bugbee
Smithsonian Affiliations
470 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Suite 7400
MRC 942
Washington, D.C. 20024

What is a typical project for an intern?

  • Conference planning- Interns have assisted the Affiliations office with planning and organizing the Affiliations National Conference which exposes them to logistical planning, time management, and event planning skills.
  • Communications strategy- Interns have developed public relations and marketing skills through assisting Affiliations staff in planning new media and print communications strategies for Smithsonian exhibits, programs and artifacts traveling to Affiliate neighborhoods.
  • Fundraising- Interns gain a working knowledge of the basics of development while helping Affiliations staff research potential donors and plan targeted fundraising opportunities.

How is an intern selected?

Final selections are based upon the strengths of the applicant. An applicant's academic performance should be above average, application materials should be neat, legible and free of spelling or grammatical errors. Candidates will be interviewed and may be required to successfully pass a background investigation and be fingerprinted.

Are there any other requirements?

Smithsonian Affiliations requires each intern to submit one written report at the end of the internship:

This project report is the intern's opportunity to summarize and assess his/her experience while at the Smithsonian, as well as to characterize how s/he intends to apply the new knowledge and experienced gained.

What are the deadlines?

Smithsonian Affiliations Internship applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

In what other activities are Intern Partners involved?

Upon their arrival, interns receive an orientation to the Smithsonian. Throughout an intern's stay, there are several events and opportunities organized through the Smithsonian. Past activities have included brown bag lunches, behind-the-scenes tours, an ice cream social, seminars with Smithsonian staff, and after-work activities. Please join the Smithsonian Interns Facebook page for more details regarding extra-curricular activities.

What about housing?

The Smithsonian does not provide housing for interns, nor is there a specific housing office at the Smithsonian. As such, interns are responsible for their own living arrangements during their time at the Smithsonian, and most rent apartments or live with friends or family in the area. Many interns additionally find temporary housing on Washington D.C.'s college campuses, youth hostels or commercial housing.

Who can I contact with any questions?

Any questions regarding application procedures may be directed to Elizabeth Bugbee at Smithsonian Affiliations by sending an e-mail to

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