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Leadership for Change Internship

The Leadership for Change internship recruits young people who are motivated to support their communities and advance social justice. The eight-week, paid program provides interns with meaningful and enriching experiences and programming to strengthen their understanding of and commitment to social justice and leadership, in addition to hands-on learning experiences in their local communities. Interns will become museum advocates and explore new ways to bring museum content, resources, and expertise to communities near and far.  

The 2024 internship will include students placed at a select group of our Smithsonian Affiliate organizations as well as a small number of students interning at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Students will be brought together for shared virtual programming, events, and dialogue. 

The Leadership for Change internship is managed by the Smithsonian Affiliations office in collaboration with a network of Smithsonian Affiliate organizations across the country as well as Smithsonian offices and museums in Washington, D.C. The internship is also supported in part by the Do A Little Foundation. 

There are two internship opportunities available: 

Both are paid, 8-week internships beginning June 10 through August 2, 2024. 

Projects will vary based on placement and may include opportunities in digital engagement, educational programming, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion, communications, government relations, exhibition development, national and community outreach, museum advocacy, and/or collections management. 

All projects will focus on one or more of 4 core topic areas—Women’s History, Climate Change, Race and Social Justice, and the Changing American Narrative (including rural initiatives, immigration, education, civics, democracy, and other topics). 

Eight Weeks in Washington, D.C.  

Interns will spend 8 weeks in-person at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. This internship is a hands-on, in-person learning experience not to exceed 32 hours of work per week. Interns are required to work on site at a Smithsonian location at least 3 full days per week *Interns will be matched with a pre-selected group of Smithsonian museums, offices, centers, libraries, or programs; not all Smithsonian museums/offices are participating in this internship. 

Hybrid at a Smithsonian Affiliate organization  

Interns will spend four (4) weeks in-person at an Affiliate organization* and four (4) weeks working virtually at their home location. This internship is a hybrid learning experience not to exceed 32 hours of work per week. *Pre-selected Affiliate cities are posted on the Smithsonian Affiliations website; not all Smithsonian Affiliates are participating in this internship. 


  • Students must be rising college sophomores, juniors, or seniors to qualify for this internship. Students graduating in May 2024 will not be considered for this program. 
  • International students currently enrolled at universities/colleges within the U.S. may apply. If accepted, additional paperwork will be required for the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations to determine eligibility. For more information for international students, please read the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships website.  
  • You DO NOT need experience or a major in the arts, history, or other museum-related subjects. This opportunity is open to any student who has a passion for social justice and education, regardless of major. 
How to Apply

To apply for this internship, you will need to apply through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). All required components of the application must be submitted on time for your application to be considered complete. There will be no extensions; be sure to allow for enough time to double check your application to ensure that it is correct and complete. 

Contact Information

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact:



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