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Smithsonian’s Robert Frederick Smith Internship (Summer 2020): Bethune-Cookman University Oral History Transcription Intern – Daytona Beach, Florida

The Smithsonian’s Robert Frederick Smith Internship and Fellowship Program seeks to build pathways for historically underrepresented individuals to grow successful careers in the cultural sector. While sponsored through the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the internship and fellowship sites are in varying locations across the country.

As part of the Smith Fund Internship and Fellowship Program, the Museum will select and provide funding for interns at select African American museums, art galleries and museums of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), cultural institutions and historic sites, or other related institutions dedicated to the study and preservation of African American history and culture. All internship opportunities with this program will focus on work related to digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, digital content management, collections information management, recording and preserving oral histories, or digital filmmaking.

Now accepting applications for Summer 2020. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST February 15, 2020.

Internships will provide guided learning experiences consisting of hands-on training, mentoring, attendance at educational events, and cultivation of contacts for the next generation of researchers, scholars, curators, and other museum, library, preservation, and heritage professionals – individuals who will assume the mantle of identifying, documenting, curating, and digitizing treasured artifacts that reflect African American history and culture.

Intern Benefits
·      $600 per week stipend to defray living expenses during the tenure of the appointment
·      Additional need-based housing and transportation stipends of $150 per week are available. Students qualify by selecting their need to pay rent during their term on the application.
·      Flexible start and end dates
·      Structured mentorship opportunities both within the Museum and with outside professionals
·      A calendar of professional development seminars catered to the needs of historically underrepresented individuals in the cultural sector
·      Paid registration and travel to attend the Association of African American Museums annual conference in Summer 2020
·      Paid professional memberships
·      Willing to complete paperwork necessary for intern to earn Academic credit (not required)

Intern Eligibility
·      Undergraduate students (must have completed at least one year of study)
·      Graduate students
·      Recent graduates (up to 2 years out of school)
·      Career-changers in the cultural field less than 2 years
·      Applications from individuals who have had prior internships or fellowships with any unit of the Smithsonian Institution will not be considered.
·      Strongest consideration will be given to applicants with no more than 1-2 prior related work experiences. 

·      Internships are 12 weeks in the summer
·      35-40 hours per week

Email or call 202-633-4511 with questions.

The mission of Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) is to develop global leaders committed to service, life-long learning, and diversity by providing a faith-based environment of academic excellence and transformative experiences.

The BCU Oral History Collection documents the history of Mary McLeod Bethune and the school she founded in 1904, through carefully researched, recorded, and transcribed oral histories and interpretative historical materials for the widest possible use. Since its inception in 2001, the BCU Oral History Collection has carried out interviews in a variety of subject areas related to African American history. Interviews have been used as source material for articles and video documentaries.

Position Description: Transcribe unpublished, primary research materials and interviews from the BCU Oral History Collection ( and format interviews in a digital platform for archiving and dissemination. Train and practice ethical interviewing and engage in the formative process of creating relevant interview questions. Introduce methods of research necessary to corroborate or disprove spoken memories and personal commentaries.

Sample of Intern Duties:
·        As a team, create or engage in the preparation of field notes, transcriptions, and archival materials related to digitizing 5 ongoing oral history projects
·        Interview individuals with long associations with Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune Cookman University, and the local African American Community according to best practices of the Oral History Association
·        Use NVivo, Excel, and SPSS software to analyze key themes, concepts, and relationships in oral histories
·        Edit images and sounds to create multimedia digital archives, prepare brief biographies and further develop web pages and databases
·        Review historical data and do research necessary to corroborate or disprove spoken memories
·        Create an interactive pre-Urban Renewal era digital map of Historic Second Avenue (now known as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard) in Daytona Beach, Florida
·        Create a database for Family History Portfolio selected topic quotations using Excel, NVivo, and SPSS (over 1,200 FHPs exist from 2001 to the present, and, as part of their portfolio, students in African American History classes each highlight 5 salient things their family elder interviewees said on a wide variety of topics. These topics will be analyzed, and the “quotes” placed into a database for the public on our web pages.)
·        Archive oral history projects using established finding forms (Dublin core)
Learning Outcomes:
·       Learn to effectively use the BCU library, archives, and oral interviews as resources and understand the relative worth of different types of evidence
·        Evaluate and critique different historical perspectives and explanations within a conversational setting
·        Listen to and learn from others; to write clearly, economically, imaginatively, and persuasively about historical facts, issues, and interpretations
·        Demonstrate command of a body of knowledge in history by reading, interpreting, and discussing historical events and data within an accurate chronological context
·        Appreciate, critique, and use material from other fields in the comparison of historical developments/problems across cultural and geographical boundaries
·        Employ methods of historical research that emphasize high standards of fidelity to evidence, tolerance of alternative approaches to obtaining, interpreting, and applying historical knowledge, and an appreciation and articulation of the indebtedness historians have to the work of others

Time Frame (flexible): Proposed May 26 – August 14, 2020
Work Culture: The work culture for BCU Oral History Collections interns is both collaborative and independent. The successful candidate should be resilient, able to handle sensitive information, be communicative, diligent, tolerant of uncertainty, curious, and possess good people skills. 
Prerequisites: Interest and background in African American history and culture studies


Download and fill out an application form (pdf) and submit along with the documents below as Word or PDF attachments to with the email subject: "<First Name_Last Name> - Internship Application 2020" by 11:59 p.m. February 15, 2020.
·        Cover letter (no more than 2 pages) detailing your past and present academic history and other experiences which you feel have prepared you for this internship and an outline of what you hope to learn during this internship.
·        Resume
·        Unofficial transcript(s)
·        2 academic and/or professional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be submitted by the intern applicant along with all other application materials.

Applications submitted as Google documents, links to files, or other cloud platform applications will not be considered.

Anticipated Summer 2020 Timeline

·        Applications accepted November 4, 2019 - 11:59 p.m. February 15, 2020
·        Museum staff will confirm receipt of application materials via e-mail within 2 business days of submission. Applications submitted after February 12 will be acknowledged within 5 business days. Please contact us if you do not receive a confirmation.
·        Host organizations will review applications and conduct interviews February 16 – March 17, 2020
·        All applicants notified of their status by March 31, 2020