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Smithsonian’s Robert Frederick Smith Summer Internship: Amistad Research Center Digital Archiving and Outreach Intern – New Orleans, Louisiana

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

Questions can be e-mailed to


The Amistad Research Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing open access to original materials that reference the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights.

From its beginnings as the first archives documenting the modern civil rights movement, Amistad has experienced considerable expansion and its mission continues to evolve. The history of slavery, race relations, African American community development, and the civil rights movement have received new and thought-provoking interpretations as the result of scholarly and community research using Amistad's resources. The holdings include the papers of artists, educators, authors, business leaders, clergy, lawyers, factory workers, farmers, and musicians.

Position Description: As an independent, non-profit, community-based archives/library, digital curation and preservation are not limited to one department at Amistad, but extend throughout our Research Services, Archives, and Public Programming and Outreach departments. The selected interns will rotate through all three departments to expose the individuals to digital imaging and metadata creation, content analysis of digital moving image assets to foster access, implementation and population of content and digital asset management systems, and the use of digital content in promotion of a cultural heritage institution and its collections.

Sample of Intern Duties:
·        Assist with content analysis and metadata creation for a newly digitized film collection related to 1960s civil rights activities in Mississippi.
·        Analyze content, research, and write descriptive summaries and metadata for digital moving images
·        Utilize digital assets management system (DAMS) for organization of metadata and other information
·        Work with 2-3 systems to fully understand digital assets and content management at Amistad
·        Digitize content from Amistad’s holdings, including photographic, paper, and print-based collections, as well as sound and moving image formats
·        Research content related to digitized items
·        Write blog and social media posts related to digitized items

Learning Outcomes:
·        Understand best practices in digitization of cultural heritage collections across a variety of formats, including print, paper, and photograph-based collections and sound and moving image formats
·        Introduction to different content management and digital asset management systems used by cultural heritage institutions, including ArchivesSpace, Islandora, and EmbARK
·        Learn policies related to the use of digitized assets in public promotion and social media, including copyright, privacy issues, licensing, and analytics
·        Understand how digitization and curation impact multiple aspects of the operations of a small to mid-sized cultural heritage institution

Time Frame (flexible): Proposed June 8 - August 28, 2020.

Work Culture: With a small staff, the work environment at the Amistad Research Center fosters collaboration among staff while also valuing independence and goal-oriented task assignment and completion. Important to this position are the ability to communicate well with staff and supervisors, ask questions as needed, the ability to work independently toward stated deadlines, respect of sensitive materials, and an empathy toward the people, places, and events depicted in Amistad’s collections. 

·        Demonstrated interest in African American history and culture
·        Interest in community-facing archives, libraries, and museums
·        Strong communication and interpersonal skills
·        Able work independently and as part of a team
·        Interest in exploring and developing technological skills
·        Experience with MAC OS and Adobe suite preferred
·        Detail-oriented with strong analytical skills

Eligibility: Must be a United States citizen.


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