Docents are trained volunteers who present tours and educational programs to museum audiences, assist in conducting research for the museum, and assist in the museum’s public programs. For information about African Art’s docent program, contact Michelle Edwards at 202.633.4639 or e-mail EdwardsMI@si.edu.
Interested in being a Docent?
Are you interested in getting involved as a volunteer docent at the National Museum of African Art? Please fill out the form below and you may be contacted by a museum staff member when new docent training is scheduled. Thank you!
Click here to see the Form
InternshipsThank you for your interest in interning at the National Museum of African Art! Internships at the museum are mentor-based, experiential-learning opportunities open to those interested in exploring museum professions. Internship opportunities are available in the following departments: Conservation, Curatorial, Development, Editorial, Education, Exhibits, Photographic Archives, Public Affairs, and Registration. More detailed information about each department can be found below. Candidates should have a background in art history, anthropology, museum studies, African studies, or a related discipline. Internships are for a minimum ten-week period and are available on both a full- and part-time schedule. For more information about internship opportunities at the National Museum of African Art, please contact Internship Coordinator Sarah Holmes at 202.633.1063 or at email@example.com.
Interested in applying? Applications are processed through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).
Summer Application Deadline: March 1
Fall Application Deadline: July 1
Winter/Spring Application Deadline: November 1
The Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives is responsible for the management and preservation of the museum’s photographic collections pertaining to African art and cultural history. In addition to conducting basic research, interns identify photographs and catalogue collections according to a standardized classification system. Interns learn archival techniques for processing, accessioning, rehousing and digitizing photographic materials. Interns must be computer literate, have good organizational skills and the ability to do detailed work. Knowledge of Africa or African art and experience with archival, library or photographic materials is helpful.
Visit the Museum’s Conservation page.
Paid Summer Internship for Undergraduates at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAfA), the only US Museum dedicated exclusively to the exhibition and preservation of Africa’s traditional and contemporary arts, is pleased to announce a paid summer internship in the conservation department. A conservator’s work is focused on the preservation of collections and this may include documentation, treatment and research. Conservators have academic backgrounds in the arts, sciences or social sciences and attain a profession graduate degree in conservation. For more information about the field see: http://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation#.WBySoi0rJD4
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this internship is open to students who have completed at least one year of college, who have a strong interest in science, art, art history, history, anthropology or archaeology and who have at least a 3.0 gpa. Interns will be given an introduction to the field of art conservation, learn about documentation, preventive care and exhibits conservation. Assignments may include: environmental monitoring, writing reports, photographic documentation, housing objects for storage, lab organizational tasks, and participating in research projects. Please note: this internship is intended for students who do not have previous experience in a conservation lab.
As part of an initiative designed to promote diversity in the profession and conservation training, the ten-week internship will commence in June 2018 and offers a $6,000 stipend plus additional funds to help defray the cost of travel to Washington DC. The internship is open only to US citizens and permanent residents.
Deadline for application: January 5, 2018.
For further information contact: Dana Moffett, Senior Conservator firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Procedure: Applicants must register and submit an online application via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). After registering, sign onto the SOLAA system. At the top of the screen, select “Start your Application”; Select “Internship” and “National Museum of African Art” from the drop-down program lists. All materials should be submitted through the SOLAA system.
Application requirements via SOLAA
-A short essay (no more than four pages total)
1) A statement of your interest in an internship at the NMAfA and what you hope to gain from the experience; please state how you found out about the internship.
2) Please discuss the impact that a funded internship would have on you and your education.
3) Provide a short biography describing your background, personal history, interests and major/minor (if declared).
-Curriculum Vitae or Resume
-Undergraduate transcripts (unofficial)
-Two letters of reference
Post-graduate Fellowship in Objects Conservation
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art is the only facility in the United States dedicated exclusively to the exhibition and preservation of Africa’s traditional and contemporary arts. With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Museum is pleased to offer a post-graduate fellowship in conservation that provides the opportunity to further refine examination and treatment skills and to pursue collection-based research. The fellow will gain experience working in our small, collaborative museum environment, which has access to the resources at the Museum Conservation Institute and the larger Smithsonian research community. Beginning in fall 2018, the one-year fellowship (renewable for a second year) is part of an initiative designed to promote conservation training, diversity in the profession, and African art scholarship.
The fellow’s own interests will help dictate the selection of objects to be treated and a research direction, and the incumbent may participate in work generated by the museum’s exhibition and acquisition schedule. There is the opportunity to treat contemporary as well as traditional artworks. The fellow will pursue a research project that contributes to African art conservation and/or art history and participate in the mentoring of undergraduate ‘explorer’ interns and pre-program interns.
The fellowship is open to US and International citizens who are recent graduates from a recognized conservation training program, or have equivalent experience, and who have proficient English language skills (written and spoken).
Applicants must register and submit an online application via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). After registering, sign onto the SOLAA system. At the top of the screen, select “Start your Application”; Select “Fellowship” and “National Museum of African Art” from the drop-down program lists.
Stipend: $43,000/year plus a healthcare stipend of $2500/year and a travel/research stipend of $4000/year
Deadline for application: February 16, 2018
For further information contact: Dana Moffett, Senior Conservator at email@example.com
The department administers the museum’s educational programs. It develops educational materials, coordinates the work of docents (volunteer tour guides) and interns, and sponsors films, performances, workshops, and lectures on many aspects of African art and culture. Interns assist with the daily work and may undertake a variety of projects: research; development of educational materials; assistance in the docent program; and assistance with the management of selected special events and performances.
The Curatorial Department oversees research, organizes exhibitions, responds to public enquiries, and makes recommendations concerning museum acquisitions. Interns work directly with curators on specific research topics related to objects and to future exhibitions. Knowledge of research methods is required. Knowledge of African arts and cultures is desirable, as is foreign language ability and coursework in art history.
The Exhibits Department is responsible for the design and fabrication of the museum’s exhibitions. Interns in this department have the opportunity to assist the design staff in the development of exhibitions and related graphics. They may also work with the production staff in the fabrication of exhibitions. Applicants interested in working on exhibition design must have skills in architectural, industrial, or graphic design, and must submit a portfolio of their work. Those who wish to assist the museum’s production staff in the fabrication of exhibitions must have training in the visual arts. Technical skills in silkscreening, photography, or carpentry are helpful.
The Smithsonian Institution offers fellowships through the Office of Fellowships & Grants. To discuss possible research topics at African Art, contact curator Christine Kreamer at 202.633.4624 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about volunteer opportunities at African Art and throughout the Smithsonian, visit the Smithsonian Volunteer FAQ site.
For information about employment opportunities at African Art and throughout the Smithsonian, visit the Smithsonian Institution Career Center.