Summer 2020 Internships at the FreerSackler

February 18, 2020

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s NationalMuseum of Asian Art, preserve, exhibit, and interpret Asian art in ways that deepen ourunderstanding of Asia, America, and the world. Located on the National Mall inWashington, DC, our museum serves as an international crossroads and a globaldestination. We care for one of the world’s most important collections of Asian art, withmore than forty-two thousand objects—and counting—dating from the Neolithic period totoday. Renowned and iconic objects originate from China, Japan, Korea, South andSoutheast Asia, the ancient Near East, and the Islamic world. The Freer Gallery also holds asignificant group of American works largely dating to the late nineteenth century. It boaststhe world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including thefamed Peacock Room.


Unified administratively and joined physically, the Freer and Sackler are dedicated toincreasing our understanding of the arts of Asia through a broad portfolio of exhibitions,publications, conservation, research, and education.


The museum’s many departments offer a wide range of learning opportunities for internsthroughout the year. Summer internships usually take place between June and August.


Internships are unpaid. Unless noted, they are open to high school, college, and graduatestudents as well as recent graduates. Schedules are flexible, determined by mentors andinterns, and can be either full-time or part-time (also unless noted).



Application deadline: March 15, 2020


Apply online


Select “Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Internship Program” from thedrop-down program list.


The application must include a statement of interest, a transcript or resume, and twoletters of recommendation. All applicants will be notified regarding acceptance within twomonths of the application deadline.


For more information, please contact [email protected].


Available Internships



The archives manages the preservation, description, and access to the museum’s collections of personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, and ephemera. Are you interested in history and archives? Do you want to learn the theory and practice involved in archival management? As the archives’ intern, you will assist with projects thatensure the preservation and availability of archival material and have the opportunity tolearn about archives operations.


Opportunities include:

  • processing, arranging, and describing archival collections
  • conducting background research into creators
  • assisting with reference inquiries and in-person research appointments



  • working toward a degree in information science, museum studies, history, or a relatedfield
  • excellent writing and communications skills
  • interest in archives and the history of art appreciation and collecting



The Office of Advancement attracts private contributions to the museum from various supporters, who help make possible activities ranging from exhibitions and publications tofilms, performances, tours, and lectures. The intern will help the membership team execute events, acknowledgments, and stewardship. The intern will also assist staff members on avariety of projects to gain broad experience in fundraising.


Opportunities include:

  • understanding how fundraising operates, types of funders, and the fundraising cyclefrom identification to stewardship
  • helping plan and execute membership events, and learning how such events contributeto the museum’s strategic goals
  • gaining skills in writing to donors and coordinating donor acknowledgments
  • learning to use PANDA and Raiser’s Edge



  • undergraduate student or recent graduate
  • interest in fundraising
  • strong verbal and written communication skills


Special Events

The special events team seeks a part-time intern to assist with museum-related special events. The intern will help to coordinate external events (weddings, corporate events, and fundraisers) as well as internal donor events and exhibition openings. The ideal candidate is organized, flexible, and able to multitask. Previous event-planning experience is ideal.


Opportunities include:

  • understanding how special events are planned and can be used as a fundraising tool
  • hands-on experience with event planning, working with caterers and staff, etc.
  • gaining skills in organization and time management
  • learning about different databases and event software



  • recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree or a graduate student
  • interest in special events and fundraising
  • strong verbal and written communication skills



The intern will provide essential support for computers, printers, and applications; installand configure hardware and software; and troubleshoot IT problems. In addition, theintern will help develop training materials and documentation for staff on various tools.Interns will gain experience in customer support and improve skills in identifying,analyzing, and resolving computer issues.



  • experience installing hardware and software on both PC and Mac systems
  • desktop technical support experience a plus



The Marketing and Communications Department handles press and advertising for themuseum. Are you curious about the inner workings of a marketing and communicationsteam? Want to learn how a museum handles everything from ad placement to mediainquiries? As the department’s intern, you will assist with a variety of projects to gain a broad understanding of marketing and public affairs in a museum environment.


Opportunities include:

  • learning how to track and document advertising and public affairs activities
  • gaining skills in writing and designing emails to various museum audiences andpartners
  • helping prepare and participating in press events, filming, and other public affairsevents



  • working toward a degree in print or new media journalism, communications/publicaffairs, or marketing
  • excellent writing and communication skills
  • interest in Asian art and culture
  • proficient with Microsoft Office suite


Photography and Video

The intern will learn the important role of photography and filming at the museum,from documenting events to promotion and research. The intern will be involved inediting and producing short films, including highlights for social media. Applicantsshould indicate if they are interested in photography, video, or both.



  • occasional weekend availability preferable
  • experience with photo, video, or audio editing (SoundCloud) a plus


Social Media

Are you interested in growing your social media and digital communications skills? Do you want to exercise your creativity to make learning fun online? As a social media intern, you will assist with a variety of projects to gain a broad understanding of social media, marketing, and public affairs in a museum environment.


Opportunities include:

  • learning how to track and document social media engagement
  • learning how to tailor museum communications for social media sites
  • gaining skills in writing and designing social media content for variousmuseum audiences and partners
  • helping prepare and participating in press and social influencer events, filming, and other public affairs opportunities



  • experience creating social media content using tools, such as Canva
  • experience supporting social media management for a brand, preferably foran educational organization
  • working toward a degree in print or new media journalism,communications/public affairs, or marketing
  • excellent writing and communication skills
  • interest in Asian art and culture
  • proficient with Microsoft Office suite, Google Drive, and Hootsuite (or similar)



This department engages audiences with the museum’s collections and exhibitions thoughthoughtful, exciting programs, ranging from concerts and film screenings to docent toursand family-friendly activities to teacher workshops and scholarly symposia.


Docent Program

The education team develops and implements programs and resources for diverse audiences and works behind the scenes to enhance the visitor experience. This intern will help with the docent program, which trains and manages volunteers to lead tours for adult and school-age (K–12) groups. This is a part-time (20–32hours/week) internship.


Opportunities include:

  • understanding docent program recruitment and management
  • attending and documenting docent training sessions
  • understanding broader museum educational and art historical issues through research



  • strong communication and organizational skills
  • ability to conduct research and synthesize information
  • familiarity with WordPress preferred
  • interest in Asian arts and culture


Public Programs

This team develops, coordinates, and delivers programs, including workshops, museum-wide events, and summer camps to family, teen, and adult audiences. The intern will assist with a variety of projects to gain a broad understanding of public programming in a museum environment.


Opportunities include:

  • gaining skills in hands-on facilitation of art projects and other workshop activities
  • learning about program evaluation using database systems
  • understanding education theory related to family and adult learning in museums



  • undergraduate/graduate student or recent graduate
  • strong communication, organization, and problem-solving skills
  • experience working with kids and teens a plus
  • occasional evening and weekend availability


Visitor Experience and Audience Research

Are you a great communicator who values teamwork and being of service to others? Do you like answering questions on a wide range of topics? Do you want to get a better understanding of who visits museums and what visitors expect? This intern will help create a welcoming space for Freer and Sackler visitors while learning about volunteers and training. The intern will also assist with audience research, helping to support the museum’s evaluation efforts. Working directly with the visitor experience manager, the intern will be introduced to art museum work.


Opportunities include:

  • applying knowledge about informal learning to real-world museum experiences
  • learning how to manage people and projects
  • being trained to assist with audience research



  • undergraduate student or recent graduate
  • strong communication, organization, and problem-solving skills
  • ability to work well with the public, individually and on teams
  • experience working with volunteers a plus
  • occasional evening and weekend availability



This team licenses images from the Freer and Sackler collections for use in exhibitions, books, documentaries, and more. The intern will help with fulfilling image requests, collection research, quality assessment of existing photography, image use contracts, rights research, and adding bibliographic citations to TMS (our collections management software).



  • interest in copyright
  • interest in image rights and research



The web team works with other departments to disseminate information about the museum’s collections, exhibitions, and events online and via digital features in the galleries. Intern projects may include maintaining, updating, and developing new webpages; assisting with usability testing and improving digital accessibility; upgrading out-of-datesections of the website to meet current code and design standards; and migrating older sections of the site to WordPress.



  • interest in the web, social media, and design
  • familiarity with WordPress, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript a plus