Smithsonian Digital Learning and Engagement Internship

Smithsonian Affiliations, in collaboration with the Emerson Collective, Smithsonian Institution, and its Smithsonian Affiliates offers the Smithsonian Digital Learning and Engagement Internship to rising college sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are committed to helping communities, are passionate about social justice, and are driven to accelerate positive impact in our world.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex with the responsibility to help people understand the complexity and the nuances of our history. Museums and cultural organizations have a social justice role to play and have an opportunity to not only become community centers, but to be at the center of their community, helping people grapple with the challenges we all face. The Smithsonian and its network of Smithsonian Affiliates know it is crucially important to have diversity—not just of race or ethnicity—but of ideas to be organizations of transformation to strengthen and change the world we live in. An internship with the Smithsonian and its Affiliates offers the opportunity for students of all majors to use their educational focus as a lens to share their social justice passion. This summer, see how museums and cultural organizations are local changemakers, and explore new ways to bring equitable educational resources to communities across the U.S.

Recruitment for the 2022 program will close February 4, 2022. Only completed applications submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA) will be reviewed. This application will close when SOLAA receives 300 applications or at midnight on February 4, 2022, whichever comes first. Apply early!

2021 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.” – 2021 Emerson-Smithsonian student intern

Two opportunities will be offered in 2022:

  • Hybrid experience with a Smithsonian Affiliate organization
  • In Person experience at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

All internships will be four days per week and take place June 13-August 5, 2022. Students will receive a modest stipend ($4,800).

For both hybrid and in-person internships, students will work together in small teams to create digital educational resources on the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform that help dive deeper into complex issues through the lens of five topic areas:

  • Race and social justice
  • Conservation and climate change
  • Women’s history
  • Community health and Covid-19 vaccine education
  • Changing American narrative (immigration, civics, media, education)

Curious? Check out the 2021 intern projects

Interns will have access to the breadth and depth of Smithsonian and Affiliate resources, meet with Smithsonian leaders, and gain an understanding of how museums and cultural organizations are vital in providing platforms to discuss, understand, and solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Interns will also participate in enrichment programming with Emerson Collective, designed to develop leadership capacity and build professional networks.

Students participating in an in-person internship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. will work with one of its museums, resource or cultural centers, libraries, and/or other offices. Students will be housed at the George Washington University and be required to be on-site at their assigned Smithsonian location for the summer internship to complete site-specific work. In-person interns will have the opportunity to participate in Smithsonian-wide internship activities and events in addition to enrichment activities scheduled by the Emerson Collective, and any virtual programming being offered throughout the summer.

Students participating in a hybrid internship will be paired with a Smithsonian Affiliate organization geographically near the student’s physical location. Students will be required to be on-site for two-weeks during the internship to participate in hands-on activities related to their Learning Lab projects, meet with, and learn from Affiliate mentors, and participate in any on-site enrichment activities. In addition, hybrid interns will have the opportunity to participate in virtual enrichment programs provided by the Emerson Collective and Smithsonian Institution.

Hybrid internships will be offered in these cities/states:

Anchorage, Alaska
Hot Springs, Arkansas
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Los Angeles, California
Mystic, Connecticut
Miami, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jackson, Mississippi
Omaha, Nebraska
Corning, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Seattle, Washington

Please note that in-person opportunities are subject to change based on CDC recommendations and Smithsonian and Affiliate policies related to COVID-19.

All academic appointees, including interns, must be fully vaccinated for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized (or, for international remote interns, a WHO-recommended) COVID-19 vaccine or have an approved Reasonable Accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements. Please see additional information regarding reasonable accommodations here.

If you are an international student considering an internship with the Smithsonian, there are some additional considerations regarding your participation in an internship. As a non-U.S. citizen, you will need to present proof of legal authorization to participate in your internship. Please review the International Appointees section of the Smithsonian Office of Internships FAQs for more guidance.

To apply for this internship, you will need to register for an account with the Smithsonian online academic appointments system (SOLAA) and apply through the Smithsonian Digital Learning and Engagement Internship.

Please gather your material prior to beginning your application in order to easily upload and submit all your materials.  

All required components of an application must be submitted on time for your application to be considered “complete.” We do not allow for extensions; be sure to accommodate enough time to double check your application to ensure that it is correct and complete.

All interns must fully commit to participating in the internship, 4 days per week, from June 13- August 5, 2022.

This application will close when SOLAA receives 300 applications or at midnight on February 4, 2022, whichever comes first. Apply early!

Required application material

  • Resume
  • Cumulative GPA (Make sure to add your cumulative GPA to the Current Affiliation section in SOLAA). 
  • Reference (one) (Make sure you click the envelope icon to generate an email in the Reference section in SOLAA)
  • Learning goals essay that answers each of these questions:
    Tell us your story. What experiences, ideas, thoughts, skills, talents, and/or adventures have shaped you? (300 words maximum)
    How do you see yourself contributing to society in the future? (300 words maximum)
    Tell us about a particular social justice issue that you have explored or would like to explore that speaks to your passions, professional or personal interests. (300 words maximum)
    Tell us how a learning experience with the Smithsonian will help you with your future personal development and career goals (300 words maximum)

Navigating to and applying in SOLAA

  • Navigate to SOLAA
  • Register for an Account
  • After registering, log in, select Start Your Application at the top of the page (orange button)
  • Set Program Category to Internship and Office/Museum/Research Center to Smithsonian Affiliations 
  • Click search. A list of open programs will appear (in this case, only one). Select Smithsonian Digital Learning and Engagement Internship and click on the green Apply Now button to begin your application.

Still have questions? Email with the subject line “Smithsonian Digital Learning Internship” and we will be in touch as soon as possible.