The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
About Us

Research Opportunities

The Lemelson Center furthers professional development in the history of invention through fellowships, travel to collections awards, and archival internships.
Above: Workshop participants go behind-the-scenes in the NMAH costume and textile collections. Smithsonian photo by Rick Vargas.

Fellowships | Travel to collections awards | Archival internships


Archival Internships: FAQ

1. How many internships are awarded?
Typically one internship is awarded per summer, but we have hosted up to four in one summer.

2. How much time does the archival internship require?
The internship requires 40 hours per week for 10 weeks. Internships must start after the first Monday in June and be completed by September 1st. Start and end dates can be negotiated. Candidates who take time off for personal reasons are expected to make the time up.

3. Are there deadlines?
Yes. All application materials must be in the SOLAA system by February 14th. An offer will be made during the first week of April. However, the internship is suspended for 2013.

4. What supporting application materials are required?
Undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable); two letters of recommendation, one copy of the completed application form, and an essay discussing your interest in the archival profession and invention and technology records, and how this internship will benefit you are required. Materials must be uploaded to the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).

5. Is there required graduate level course work?
Yes. Candidates must have completed some graduate course work in archival, library, or information management, and/or graduate course work in American history, American Studies, Museum Studies, Public History, or another area that relates to the history of invention and innovation in American society. The review committee does look at undergraduate coursework.

6. Who can apply?
The internship is open to graduate students who seek a career in the archival profession. Candidates must be enrolled in an academic program or be able to provide proof of acceptance in an academic program if selected. Recent graduates—within 6 months of graduation—may apply. United States citizenship is not required, nonresident aliens must apply for the appropriate U.S. visa if selected.

7. Can I earn academic credit?
Yes. Check with your academic advisor about the specifics associated with your program. If selected, please notify us of your interest in earning academic credit and we’ll complete any necessary paperwork.

8. What type of skills will I learn?
This internship is a paraprofessional hands-on experience that expects the candidate to determine the intellectual and physical arrangement of a pre-selected collection, and to create a finding aid in the DACs format. Additionally, the intern will learn to build custom boxes, sink mats, phase boxes, and other custom enclosures as needed.

9. Are there other requirements?
Yes. If selected, interns must attend all Archives Center staff meetings to learn more about how an archives is managed; participate in scheduled fieldtrips to other archival repositories; and make two presentations about their work.

10. Is there a stipend?
Yes. The internship carries a stipend of $5,000 plus a travel allowance. The travel allowance is calculated based on the candidate's geographical location and therefore varies. Travel allowances are not awarded to candidates in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The stipend is subject to tax. Benefits and housing are not included.

11. Where can I find housing?
Locating housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is challenging. If selected, the candidate should seek housing as soon as possible. For further information, visit

12. How can I get more information?
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) 786-2453


Last Update: 13 Nov 2012

:: Home :: About Us :: Centerpieces :: Events :: Resources :: Video & Audio ::
:: Press Room :: Blog :: Newsletter :: Site Map :: Facebook :: Flickr :: Twitter ::