The Center annually involves nearly 100 interns in its activities. Internships are offered year-round in various fields including cultural anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, museum studies, arts administration, graphic and Web design, marketing, and library science.

More about Internships

Intern projects, conducted under the guidance of the Center's professional staff, often center on research for, design and production of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Web production, educational outreach projects, video projects, or the Ralph Rinzler Archives.

Internships can be from six weeks to one year, full- or part-time, though working at least 15-20 hours per week is preferred. Submission deadline for summer internships is March 15; there are no deadlines for getting applications in for the rest of the year. These are non-paying internships.

Click to watch video

Interns and volunteers worked alongside Mexican cooks in the kitchen area of the Mexico program during the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Click here for more videos

The online internship application can be found at and please specify the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. You will be asked to upload supporting material such as an essay and resume. The completed application should be submitted at least six weeks before the start of the internship.

Mentorship Program for a More Diverse Workplace

We encourage 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. This program reflects the White House’s commitment to improve the role of minority women and girls in the workforce.

This program will allow interns to collaborate with various professionals and experience the work that goes on behind the scenes for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Heritage Policy, and other areas of the Center.

A small stipend is offered for a commitment of at least one hundred hours during the fall and spring semesters. The mentorship takes place in our office in Washington, D.C.

More about the mentorship program

Archives and Resources

If you are interested in volunteering or being an intern in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, we can put you to work assisting with our tasks of preserving, digitizing, and cataloguing archives collections, creating finding aids for collections, creating Web presentations on archival materials, and helping with other projects. 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. Skills you might bring to the tasks include a knowledge of or interest in world folk music traditions, audio engineering, Photoshop and Web experience, or library and archival work.

Click to view slideshow

Students in Folklore, American Studies, American History, Music, Library Science or other fields may be able to arrange course credit for their work here. Interns typically work at least 20 hours per week for six weeks or more, but schedules are flexible. During the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which runs for 10 days from late June into early July, interns are expected to be available during much of that time to assist the archivists with Festival documentation (audio, photo, and video). If you have further questions about the types of projects available to Archives interns, please contact one of the archivists who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Click to watch video Featured Video

Interns and volunteers worked alongside Mexican cooks in the kitchen area of the Mexico program during the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Click here for more videos