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Jobs & Internships


Employment vacancy announcements are posted here when available. They also may be viewed on the Smithsonian Institution Human Resources website.


Every year, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage involves over a hundred interns in our various activities. We offer internships year-round in various fields, including folklore, cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, linguistics, museum studies, arts administration, graphic and web design, videography, marketing, social media, and library science. Internships can take place remotely or in Washington, D.C.

Intern projects, conducted under the guidance of the Center’s professional staff, often focus on research and production for the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives, educational outreach, and cultural sustainability research and programs.

Internships are open to students and non-students alike. They can be from six weeks to one year, full- or part-time, though working at least fifteen to twenty hours per week is preferred. Unless otherwise specified, these are non-paying internships. Students in folklore, American studies, history, music, library science, or other fields may be able to arrange course credit for their work.

Some Areas of Internships

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

We welcome interns for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival year-round, although the bulk of the work is in the summer. In the fall, winter, and spring, interns assist with research and planning for the upcoming Festival’s programs—best suited for students in anthropology, ethnomusicology, and language studies as related to the program.

In the summer, we also seek interns to work on event production, technical crew, the Festival Marketplace, social media, web production, graphic design, foodways, curatorial team, the Festival Blog, public relations, accessibility, participant and volunteer coordination, video production, and administration.

Summer interns are expected to work through the ten days of the Festival during the last week of June and first week of July, including weekends and the July Fourth holiday. Festival interns should be comfortable working outdoors in high heat and humidity, in a fast-paced environment among large crowds of people.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

An internship with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings offers a wide range of valuable and meaningful experiences in the recording industry and nonprofit arts administration, within the context of the world’s largest museum complex. Specific learning opportunities include the areas of online music education, marketing, and web and IT production.

Interns are expected to work for at least 100 hours, and ideally no less than ten hours per week. Some specific internships may require longer commitment to ensure a successful experience, both for the intern and for Folkways. In addition to honing specific skills, interns will meet regularly with their supervisors, work with other interns and other staff on team projects, and have access to a wide array of programming, as well as curatorial and professional experts across the institution.

Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

Interns in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections assist with preserving, digitizing, and cataloging archives collections, creating finding aids for collections, creating web presentations on archival materials, and helping with other projects. During the summer, archives interns create and process audio, video, and photo documentation of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in late June and early July.

We particularly welcome students in library and information studies who want an opportunity to work in a folklife archive as part of their degree program. Applicants should have a knowledge of or interest in world folk music traditions, audio engineering, photography, Adobe Photoshop, web design, or library and archival work.

Rinzler Archives Summer Internship

This internship in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is made possible through the generous support of the Scott and Dorothy Odell Internship Fund. The mentorship goals include working with archives staff to apply collections management best practices in arranging, describing, and digitizing collections, which consist of papers, photographs, audio recordings, audiovisual media, and managing digital assets. The intern may also work with connecting archival content in our Digital Asset Management System to the public and contribute to finding aids that meet current archival descriptive standards and are Encoded Archival Description compatible using ArchivesSpace (ASpace).

The internship can also be tailored to incorporate a research component exploring the intersections between archival policy and practice, collections care within a DEAI Framework (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion), and the role and significance of the Center’s Shared Stewardship of Collections Policy. The collections include curatorial, ethnographic, and programmatic content associated with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the nonprofit record label Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the work of our Cultural Sustainability team, and the efforts of our Research and Education department.

The deadline for the 2023 summer internship is March 1. The selected applicant will receive a stipend of $700/week for a full-time, ten-week internship.

Folklife Storytellers Workshop

The Folklife Storytellers Workshop offers a professional skill-building and exchange experience for students and recent graduates interested in producing written feature stories, editorial illustrations, web comics, photo essays, and short audio and video documentary pieces for the Center’s online publication, Folklife Magazine.

Interns participate in one-on-one story meetings with editors and cultural experts and a weekly workshop to learn and share techniques of interviewing, creative nonfiction writing, and media production in a highly supportive atmosphere. Storytellers then put these concepts to good use through multiple drafts before completing their work for final consideration. Interns critique each other’s work and receive the personal attention of editors. See the full internship description.

Internships are available year-round and remotely, usually lasting three to four months. Candidates should read our publication before applying.

Mentorship Program for a More Diverse Workplace

We encourage young women of color, an underrepresented population at the Smithsonian, to apply for this opportunity to explore and discover cultural heritage and the role it plays in identity, family, and community. Work with professional researchers and archivists at the Smithsonian, relating to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and Cultural Heritage Policy. See full internship description.

Selected applicants will receive a stipend of $1,500 for a commitment of at least 100 hours.

Web Production

The web production intern will assist with day-to-day operations related to the management of our websites. These duties may include digitizing images, scanning archival documents, encoding audio and video, entering metadata, and contributing written content to our websites. Scholars interested in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, American studies, and folklore will enjoy spending time with the curators and collections. Skills gained in the areas of web production are invaluable to future scholars, writers, educators, and content producers as they embark on their careers.

Cultural Vitality Research and Outreach

Interns who work with the Cultural Vitality Program conduct research for presentations at conferences and publications, work with archival collections from and in collaboration with Indigenous and minoritized language communities, produce stories through video, compile information on our material culture holdings, and advance our work to document, protect, and present cultural vitality in local communities.

Language and Archives Mentorship Program

The Language Vitality Initiative invites members of existing Indigenous or minoritized language efforts to apply for a two- to four-month, part-time, virtual mentorship program to hone their skills in navigating digital libraries and archives while contributing to language work. Mentees will have the opportunity to learn Smithsonian collections protocols, gain experience with virtual collections access systems, and discuss intellectual property, copyright, and archival access policies.

This mentorship opportunity is unpaid and has a minimum time commitment of five hours per week, with a flexible schedule. Applicants can be any age over fifteen. If accepted, be prepared to complete a federal background check and submit vaccination information. For further information, please contact language reclamation and media project coordinator Hali Dardar (

Language Lodge Social Media Internship

The Center invites individuals who use Indigenous and minoritized languages on social media to apply for a virtual three-month internship. They will support the Language Vitality Initiative team in building relationships among Indigenous and minoritized language social media users.

The Language Lodge intern will develop forums to foster collaboration with Indigenous and minority language social media users and develop activities to connect and increase solidarity of language use across language groups and media platforms.

Applicants do not need to be students or hold a degree. The start date is flexible, but the internship can end no later than April 2024. The selected individual will receive a $1,500 stipend.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase knowledge about Indigenous and minoritized language social media use
  • Develop networking skills with Indigenous and minoritized social media users
  • Strengthen organizational and social media skills
  • Improve written and oral communication skills

To apply, specify the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in the SOLAA application system (see below) and indicate “Language Lodge Social Media Internship” under Additional Questions. If you have questions about the internship, please contact Hali Dardar at

How to Apply

To apply online, visit and create an account. After selecting Internship, specify the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. You will be required to upload supporting materials, including an essay, résumé, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

The submission deadline for summer internships is March 1. There are no deadlines for submitting applications for other seasons. The completed application is to be submitted at least six weeks before the start of the internship.

If you have questions, please contact intern coordinator Arlene Reiniger at

More about internships at the Smithsonian


The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage welcomes volunteers to assist in various parts of the organization. Find more information about volunteering at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives please email

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Vitality Program, educational outreach, and more.