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Curating Asian Pacific America Internship

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Of the nation's top ten languages most commonly spoken in American homes, four hail from Asia (Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean). With a group of 24 million whose origins are traced to dozens of countries, specialists in the field of Asian American studies are needed in every educational, cultural, and research institution, including the Smithsonian. You'll be part of a new generation of museum professionals who will be responsible for assisting curatorial staff at the National Museum of American History with conducting research, collecting objects, and mounting exhibits related to this dynamic group.

Goal: Overall, this internship aims to deepen the intern's understanding of Asian Pacific American history in a museum setting.

Status: Virtual, in-person, or hybrid depending on the intern's preference and our museum staffing capacity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:
  • Develop an introductory understanding of how Asian American studies informs museum practice
  • Write about objects and documents in the collection that pertain to Asian Pacific American history, art, and culture
  • Learn and participate in a team-based work environment

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:
  • Conduct research on an object's provenance
  • Collaborate and correspond with a variety of staff at the institution engaged in APA curatorial practice

Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:
  • Prior introductory course work in Asian American and/or Pacific Islander studies
  • Basic knowledge of spreadsheets (Excel or Numbers

Audience: This internship is specialized for individuals who already have experience in this field (museum studies and/or Asian American and/or Pacific Islander studies). This internship is intended for 1 intern. Community college students, undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, career changers, and other professionals are encouraged to apply.

Timeline: This internship will take place during Spring 2023 for 10 weeks. The internship is expected to be part-time, 15-20 hours per week.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This opportunity provides a minimum total stipend of $2,000 to defray technology and/or commuting costs during the internship, and after being selected, interns are able to apply for additional stipend funding based on self-disclosed financial need. The total awarded amount of the stipend depends on the availability of museum funds and is at the discretion of NMAH. Please note that stipends cannot be distributed before the start of an internship, and we typically recommend that an intern has at least enough external funding to cover the first month's expenses to accommodate the wait time required in stipend processing. To learn more, please check out our Internship FAQ page.