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
The museum’s internship program is currently on a hiatus. We hope to be able to resume in due course and will update this page with new information at that time. Thank you for your continued interest in working with us.
Thank 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.
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.
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 & Internships. To discuss possible research topics at African Art, contact either Kevin Dumouchelle or Karen Milbourne.
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.