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Lemelson Center Archival Internship


The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, offers a full time, 10-week, archival internship opportunity for one graduate student each summer. The internship stipend is $7,000. Housing, benefits, and transportation are not provided. The internship is located in the Museum's Archives Center, a manuscripts and special collections repository with more than 1,500 collections documenting a wide range of subject areas.


  • Enable new professionals to understand, identify, and manage the historical records of American invention and innovation;
  • Expose interns to the Museum's rich historical collections in the history of technology and 20th century material culture;
  • Provide hands-on experience with archival collections that document invention and innovation;
  • Create EAD finding aids to collections documenting invention and innovation using ArchivesSpace;
  • Engage interns in discussion of archival issues and practices and provide a wide range of professional experiences within the Museum.


Applicants must be currently enrolled in a library/archives program, and/or a program in American history, American Studies, Museum Studies, or Public History, or have applied to such a program for the next academic year. Preference is given for completed graduate course work in archival, library, or information management.

The internship is open to students of all nationalities. United States citizenship is not required. If the selected intern is a non-US citizen, they will be required to work with the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships and the Office of International Relations to determine whether or not they require and are eligible for visa sponsorship by the Smithsonian.

Recent graduates may also apply. Individuals must have completed their graduate degrees no more than one year prior to the application deadline. Current undergraduate freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are not eligible to apply.


Internship stipends issued by the Smithsonian are not considered salary or meant as compensation but are awarded to help defray living expenses for an intern during the term of their appointment. Interns awarded stipends who are US residents for tax purposes are responsible for meeting their individual state and federal tax obligations and will receive a financial summary around March of the following year for the previous calendar year. Interns who are not US residents for tax purposes will receive an IRS Form 1042-S and are likewise responsible for meeting any and all tax obligations. The stipend distribution process takes six weeks from the time OFI receives an accepted intern's stipend paperwork, and stipends cannot be distributed before the start of an internship. Stipend payments are released on the 10th and 25th of each month, and the frequency of payments is decided by OFI depending on the stipend amount.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the Smithsonian online application system (SOLAA).
Complete applications must include the following:

•    Internship Program application form in SOLAA
•    Undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
•    Cover letter and resume
•    An essay (1,000 words maximum) discussing your interest in the archival profession and working with invention-related materials
•    Two (2) letters of reference

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the Archives Center’s Internship FAQ when completing this application.

Applications must be submitted via the SOLAA system by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 1, 2024. An offer will be made by mid-April. The internship begins on or after May 13, 2024.

Contact Information

For further information, consult the FAQ or contact: Alison L. Oswald, Archivist National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution Archives Center, Room 1100, MRC 601 P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Phone (202) 633-3726 Fax (202) 312-1990. Email:

Washington, DC
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