- Please read about how to submit your application on our website. We will not review applications submitted via Handshake; we will only review applications submitted via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment Database.
- This internship is a virtual experience.
- This internship provides a $3,000 guaranteed stipend, and the accepted intern will have the option to apply for an additional stipend based on disclosed financial need after their selection.
Undocumented Organizing Collecting Initiative, a three-year project tracing the emergence of undocumented youth activism over the past twenty years by recording, analyzing, and interpreting political strategies via the collection of oral histories and objects. The Project engages in community-based collecting efforts in six key geographical locations to capture the progression of this multifaceted social and political movement led by undocumented people in the United States, many of whom remain undocumented today. The project is leading new practices at NMAH by centering community voices and collaborating with participants. Because of undocumented American precarious status, the project works to ensure that the participants have control over their oral history at every stage of the process. The intern’s main tasks will fall under two categories: indexing completed oral histories and composing oral history questions for each new participant.
Composing questions: Oral histories are quite personal. To be mindful of each participant and to provide them control over the process, we engage in a series of conversations with them before recording. The intern will work with the oral historian and the participant to draft the interview questions and propose the overall direction of the recording. A combination of analyzing themes and listening to pre-recording meetings will inform the questions asked during an oral history and help shape the project as well.
In order to compile, analyze, and create an accessible archive for both public and researchers, oral histories are transcribed and an indexed. Indexing incorporates an abstract, notable quotes, time stamps, and summarization of the recordings. Intern will listen to the recordings already at hand (projected 10 at the start of internship), index, and conclude findings to project team.
Goal: Overall, this internship serves as an introduction into oral history documentation and object processing for the undocumented organizing collecting initiative at NMAH.
Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will be able to:
- Understand the intentional steps of creating accessible material out of an oral history recording
- Develop communication skills to present summarization and important key takeaways of a raw oral history recording
- Broaden critical thinking skills by absorbing data, seeing themes and creating key questions about the participant’s life.
- Meaningfully participate in a team-based work environment
Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:
- Work with project’s oral historian on indexing’s best practices
- Assist the project’s oral historian and participant with development of recording key questions
- Correspond and collaborate with project team
- Research effective digital presentations of oral histories
Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:
- Familiarity and interest in oral history process
- Interest in project’s content (any historical and contemporary political activism, youth led, and immigration).
- Demonstrated high interest in storytelling centered on historically harmed communities.
- Excellent skills research and presenting findings in a cohesive manner.
- Effective communicator in speaking and writing.
- Ability to work in a team setting-both in tight deadlines and phased projects.
Audience: This internship is intended to be generalized to provide individuals initial experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1 intern. Community college students, undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, career changers, and other professionals are encouraged to apply. This internship’s ideal audience is for people who
- Demonstrate high interest in collecting initiative’s content, especially with youth activism, immigration, and/ or social movements
- Demonstrate previous experience or interest in working with oral histories or any audio/visual recorded material
- Demonstrate skills in writing comprehensive abstracts and summarizations of large raw data
Timeline: This internship will take place Spring 2021 for 10-12 weeks. This internship will be part time (approximately 20 hours a week) with a flexible schedule depending on the intern’s and mentor’s needs.
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 guaranteed stipend of $3,000 for a 20 hours per week internship schedule. Additionally, upon selection, interns will have the opportunity to apply for a stipend based on financial need; the amount of internship stipends depends on the amount of museum funds available and is at the discretion of NMAH. Internship stipends issued by the Smithsonian are not considered salary or meant as compensation, but are awarded to help defray living expenses for an intern during the term of their appointment. If an intern is awarded a stipend, 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.
If you have any questions about the internship, please contact Caroline Fiertz, Interns & Fellows Program Manager at the National Museum of American History, at NMAHintern@si.edu or 202-633-3556.