Smithsonian Affiliate Digital Learning and Engagement Internship
In summer 2021, Smithsonian Affiliations, in partnership with Emerson Collective, collaborated on an innovative pilot initiative that increased access to internship opportunities for college-level students.
The Smithsonian Affiliate Digital Learning and Engagement Internship, an entirely virtual experience, introduced 75 college students to the impact of museum work and empowered students to address complex global challenges. Students were selected from an applicant pool of 1,595 young people and 307 colleges and universities. As a cohort, they represented just under 60 colleges and universities and worked with communities spanning from Connecticut to Alaska.
“We hope this pilot internship will create future museum advocates and change leaders by helping students understand the role museums can play in addressing our biggest challenges and continue to inspire them to improve the world around them.” –Lonnie G. Bunch III, Smithsonian Secretary.
Working in virtual teams of three, interns were matched with 25 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations across the country. They received training on the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform and produced educational collections for each Affiliate to be published for a public audience targeting middle and high school students. The partnering Affiliates and the collections created are below.
Smithsonian intern reflection video
This 10-minute video was produced by student interns. It showcases their summer work and provides reflections and highlights from their learning experiences.
“This has been an amazing opportunity. I came into this internship wanting to grow my communication, writing, and design skills. Which I did, but I also ended up learning so much more, and I am now considering museum work as a potential career because I loved it so much. My favorite part was hearing from Smithsonian leaders about government relations, and how museum work is about preserving stories. And in today’s world it is also about the most ethical way to tell and memorialize those stories.” – 2021 Emerson-Smithsonian student intern
Student Learning Lab Projects
Each Affiliate organization below contains one or more Learning Lab. Collections tell a cohesive narrative about one or more of five core areas of focus—race and social justice; community health and Covid-19 vaccine education; conservation and climate change; the changing American narrative; and women’s history.