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Association of Research Institutes in Art History

Careers in Art History Internships


Deadline for Applications: October 14, 2023

Program Dates: January 9 – February 4, 2023


The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH) is offering paid professional development internships for up to 10 students and recent graduates interested in careers at art museums and art history research centers. The internships will be virtual and participants will commit from 10 to 12 hours per week for a period of four weeks. Zoom meetings will be held Mondays through Fridays from 1–3 pm EST.

You are encouraged to apply if you are an undergraduate student currently enrolled at an educational institution in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, or a recent graduate (within one year) and interested in learning more about how museums work. We seek applicants from all disciplines, concentrations, and backgrounds, particularly those who have not previously held internships at arts-related institutions. You do not need to have prior museum experience to apply.

The following ARIAH institutions are participating in the 2023 Careers in Art History Internship Program: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; THE CENTER, The National Gallery of Art; and The Wolfsonian–Florida International University (FIU).


Program Details

The internships will last for four weeks and participation will be fully remote via Zoom

The program dates are Monday, January 9 – Friday, February 4, 2023.

Zoom meetings will be held Mondays through Fridays for two (2) hours each day . It is expected that participants will attend all or most Zoom calls.

Participants will be hosted by a different institution each week. The internships will provide practical and theoretical training in a variety of professional practices that will be useful not only in the field of art history but also museum studies, conservation, history, and architecture, with the aim of making these skills transferable to other pursuits as well.

Interns will learn about the different professional pathways available at art museums and research centers, including:

All interns will be assigned a mentor for the duration of their internship. At the end of the internship, a career development and résumé-writing workshop will be provided, and all interns will make a brief presentation on a project they completed.



Interns will receive a stipend of US $1,300.



This program is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at educational institutions in the USA, Canada, or Mexico; students who are on pause from coursework while enrolled in an academic program; and recent graduates (within one year) based in the USA, Canada, or Mexico. (Please note: The program and conversations will be conducted in English.) Eligible institutions include two-year colleges, four-year colleges/universities, professional, technical, vocational, and trade schools, advanced degree programs, or other educational institutions offering qualifying degrees or certificates.


Application Process

Applications must be submitted online (Google account required) and include a résumé (maximum 2 pages) detailing educational background and work/volunteer experience (if any), and contact information for one reference who will be contacted for shortlisted candidates. References should be able to speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and interests.



Submit any queries to


Participating Institutions and Programs

Archives of American Art
Smithsonian Institution

Since its founding in 1954, the Archives of American Art has become the preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to sources that document the history of visual arts in America. The Archives operates two research centers in New York and Washington, D.C., and holds over 6,000 collections comprised of some 20 million letters, diaries, manuscripts, photographs, films, audio recordings, hard drives, and floppy disks. Since 2005, the Archives has been promoting access to these items online through its digitization program, and today over 250 of its collections have been fully digitized, with countless others partially digitized, for a total of over 3 million images.

Internship Focus: With thousands of rich resources available online, promoting their discoverability can be a challenge. Working with staff at the Archives, interns will consider different types of cataloging standards for art-related materials, inclusive descriptive practices drawn from anti-racist description and conscious editing, as well as the many dimensions of digital access, from accessibility and alt-text to access restrictions. Using these as guides, they will revise records for a small set of digitized photographs on our public-facing website, including updates to descriptive notes and adding alt-text, and contribute to the Archives' initiatives to improve our description and enhance the accessibility of our digital materials. Interns will also have the opportunity to learn about other departments and initiatives at the Archives, including projects using our digital collections and documents.

THE CENTER (Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts)
The National Gallery of Art

The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, founded in 1979 and located in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, is a research institute that fosters study of the production, use, and cultural meaning of art, artifacts, architecture, urbanism, photography, and film worldwide from prehistoric times to the present. The Center’s programs include fellowships, meetings, research, and publications. These are privately funded through endowments and grants to the National Gallery. Current members for the academic year include approximately 40 fellows from around the globe.

Internship focus: Between 1935 and 1942, under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration, the U.S. Government commissioned the Index of American Design (IAD), a compendium of over 18,000 watercolor paintings documenting works of folk, decorative, and industrial arts created throughout the United States. As a Federal Art Project, the IAD was intended to provide gainful employment to the over 400 artists, located throughout the country, who painted its many entries. Initiated on the eve of the second World War and amid nationalist preoccupations, the project was also understood by its founders as a kind of research initiative, compiling visual materials through which the origins of a distinctly U.S. American aesthetic might be unearthed and consequently used by the country’s up-and-coming artists and designers. Upon the project’s termination in 1943, the IAD was added to the collection of the National Gallery of Art, where it now remains.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. Since its founding in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum's galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.

The Met also houses a world-renowned complex of scientific research and conservation facilities, each of which serves as a training ground for conservators from around the world. There are five major conservation departments—Objects Conservation, Paintings Conservation, Paper Conservation, Photograph Conservation, and Textile Conservation. In addition, the Museum maintains specialized studios for arms and armor, East Asian paintings, costume, and book conservation.

Internship focus: Introduction to conservation work at an art museum. Interns will gain professional insights into the roles of conservation in a major institution and learn about conservation practice in relation to acquisitions, exhibitions, loans, analysis, research, scholarship, and advocacy. Additional insights and practical experience will be achieved through two projects. First, the examination, study, and presentation of a personal object in the context of a conservation report. In addition, interns will participate in the practical reassembly of a smashed flowerpot (provided) under the guidance of a Met conservator.

The Wolfsonian
Florida International University (FIU)

The Wolfsonian–FIU is one of the largest university art collections in the country, with over 200,000 objects and rare books. Focusing on the decorative arts, design, and material culture from 1850 to 1950, its holdings include the full range of humankind’s creative production, including (but not limited to) works that express ideas made in the service of totalitarian states and troubling ideologies.

Internship focus: Design and present an array of approaches for framing and addressing challenging or offensive material in exhibitions, working from case studies and a group of sample projects developed by museum staff. Presentation-style sessions would cover display choices and disclaimers, marketing/PR framing, contextualizing through programming, interpreting for a K–12 audience; tour guide training; and community and university engagement. The goal is to introduce interns to the complexities and nuances involved in working with difficult collections and help them understand how to shape safe spaces for visitors to encounter material, learning both about audience awareness and how to consider a problem through the lenses of a variety of museum roles.