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Smithsonian’s Robert Frederick Smith Internship: Apollo Theater Archives Intern in New York, NY

The Smithsonian’s Robert Frederick Smith Internship and Fellowship Program seeks to build pathways for historically underrepresented individuals to grow successful careers in the cultural sector. While sponsored through the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the internship and fellowship sites are in varying locations across the country.

As part of the Smith Fund Internship and Fellowship Program, the Museum will select and provide funding for interns at select African American museums, art galleries and museums of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), cultural institutions and historic sites, or other related institutions dedicated to the study and preservation of African American history and culture. All internship opportunities with this program will focus on work related to digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, digital content management, collections information management, recording and preserving oral histories, or digital filmmaking.

Now accepting applications for Summer 2019. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST February 15, 2019.

Internships will provide guided learning experiences consisting of hands-on training, mentoring, attendance at educational events, and cultivation of contacts for the next generation of researchers, scholars, curators, and other museum, library, preservation, and heritage professionals – individuals who will assume the mantle of identifying, documenting, curating, and digitizing treasured artifacts that reflect African American history and culture.

Intern Benefits
·      $600 per week stipend to defray living expenses during the tenure of the appointment
·      Additional need-based housing and transportation stipends of $150 per week are available. Students qualify by selecting their need to pay rent during their term on the application.
·      Flexible start and end dates
·      Structured mentorship opportunities both within the Museum and with outside professionals
·      A calendar of professional development seminars catered to the needs of historically underrepresented individuals in the cultural sector
·      Paid registration and travel to attend the Association of African American Museums annual conference in Summer 2019
·      Paid professional memberships
·      Willing to complete paperwork necessary for intern to earn Academic credit (not required)

Intern Eligibility
·      Undergraduate students (must have completed at least one year of study)
·      Graduate students
·      Recent graduates (up to 2 years out of school)
·      Career-changers in the cultural field less than 2 years
·      Applications from individuals who have had prior internships or fellowships with any unit of the Smithsonian Institution will not be considered.
·      Strongest consideration will be given to applicants with no more than 1-2 prior related work experiences. 

·      Internships are 12 weeks in the summer
·      35-40 hours per week

Questions can be e-mailed to


The Apollo Theater Archives documents the history, cultural impact, and ongoing activities of Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater through a unique collection of photographs, oral histories, audiovisual content, institutional documents, promotional materials, and other memorabilia.

Position Description: Established in 2009, the Apollo Theater Archives has recently refocused and accelerated their efforts in inventorying and cataloging their collection, rehousing and preserving items, digitizing key materials, and investigating how these materials can be put to use in service of the Apollo Theater Foundation's mission. The selected intern will have the rare experience of contributing to an archive during its formative stages. She or he will work closely with the Apollo’s staff archivist to preserve, describe, and provide access to artifacts new and old, uncovering previously undocumented items and helping to lay the foundation of an archive that will one day serve scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts both in-person and via web portal.

Collections to be focused on in the summer of 2019 include (but are not limited to) the Apollo’s posters, video (both analog and born-digital), and program booklets. In addition to helping to preserve and document the Apollo’s materials, our intern will help to further integrate elements of the collection into the Apollo’s programming as we enter our 85th anniversary season.

Sample of Intern Duties:
·        Digitize photographic, documentary, and audiovisual materials
o  Photograph oversize objects
o  Generate high-resolution scans of paper files
o  Make ad-hoc digital video transfers as needed using off-site facilities
·        Catalog and re-house artifacts
·        Arrange collections
·        Help manage data objects and collection metadata
·        Research intellectual property issues related to collection materials
·        Help Foundation employees identify, locate, and retrieve archival materials
·        Research, refine, and contribute information to the Apollo’s database of past theater events

Learning Outcomes:
·        Increased knowledge of archive fundamentals including arrangement, appraisal, description, preservation, and reference
·        Gain an understanding of how archives are utilized by performing arts institutions
·        Develop technical and interpersonal skills essential to a career in archives
o  Collection management (arranging, numbering, appraisal, accessioning and deaccessioning)
o  Data management (creating and refining data, mostly in spreadsheet formats)
o  Curation and reference (answering internal and external requests for information and materials)
o  Digitization (document and photo scanning, video transfer)

Time Frame (flexible): Estimated June 4 start date, but can start earlier or later as best suits the intern’s schedule.

Work Culture: The Apollo Theater Archives are a new department, but have already developed into a fast-paced environment, fielding requests from both within the organization and outside parties. The archives frequently collaborate with the Apollo’s education, programming, and marketing departments, requiring quick thinking, flexibility, and a willingness to experiment with unfamiliar ideas.

The ideal candidate would be able to work independently, think collaboratively, and contribute to solving the problems of an organization just beginning to formalize its archival practices. Employees of the Apollo Theater Foundation are passionate about culture – music, theater, and comedy in particular – and the Harlem community surrounding the theater. The selected intern will have the opportunity to attend Apollo events, and are encouraged to do so.

·        Demonstrated interest in African American history and culture
·        Basic research skills
·        Familiarity with spreadsheets, word processing, and databases
·        Preference for candidates with experience with basic digital media concepts (audio, video, and photographic file types)

Eligibility: Must be a United States citizen.


Download and fill out an application form (pdf) and submit along with the documents below as Word or PDF attachments to with the email subject: "<First Name_Last Name> - Internship Application 2019" by 11:59 p.m. February 15, 2019.
·        Cover letter (no more than 2 pages) detailing your past and present academic history and other experiences which you feel have prepared you for this internship and an outline of what you hope to learn during this internship.
·        Resume
·        Unofficial transcript(s)
·        2 academic and/or professional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be submitted by the intern applicant along with all other application materials.

Applications submitted as Google documents, links to files, or other cloud platform applications will not be considered.

Anticipated Summer 2019 Timeline

·        Applications accepted January 2 - 11:59 p.m. February 15, 2019
·        Museum staff will confirm receipt of application materials via e-mail within 2 business days of submission. Please contact us if you do not receive a confirmation.
·        Host organizations will review applications and conduct interviews February 15 – March 15, 2019
·        All applicants notified of their status by March 29, 2019