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Fellowships & Internships


Fellowships and internships provide professional training and research opportunities for students and scholars at various levels, as well as the chance to engage with F|S staff and utilize the museums’ rich resources. Several fellowships are available to support graduate students and visiting scholars through the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian, or outside institutions. The Freer|Sackler also offers internships to students and interested individuals in its many departments. See below for more information regarding fellowship and internship opportunities at the Freer|Sackler.

Please note: The collections storage areas of the Freer Gallery of Art will be closed in 2015 and 2016. The museum itself will be closed to the public in 2016. Learn more.

Fellowships | Unpaid Internships | Paid Internships


The collections, archives, and library of the Freer and Sackler Galleries form a rich resource for research. Several different fellowships are available to support graduate students and visiting scholars, administered through the Freer and Sackler, the Smithsonian, or by outside institutions.

Current Fellows | Past Fellows

Fellowship Opportunities

Ancient Art Fellowship
The Ancient Art Curatorial Fellowship at the Freer and Sackler Galleries is intended to promote collection-based research and curatorial training in one of two focused areas of ancient art (described below). The incumbent will work with the Freer|Sackler curator of Islamic art and other staff as necessary and participate in the museums’ activities as requested. Fellowship duties will include exhibition-related work with the relevant collection, carried out in consultation and collaboration with Freer|Sackler staff. Visit the fellowship page for more information and application instructions.

Anne Van Biema Fellowship
Established by bequest to promote excellence in research and publication on the Japanese visual arts, one award is made each year to support a scholar at the post-doctoral level for a period of two to nine months. Visit the fellowship page for more information and application instructions.

Lunder Fellowship
This fellowship provides opportunities to conduct research and work with the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies on programs and publications focusing on James McNeill Whistler and art of the Aesthetic Movement. Both emerging and established scholars are invited to apply. The fellowship is offered through the generosity of the Lunder Foundation and administered through the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies (comprising the Freer Gallery, the Colby College Museum of Art, the University of Glasgow, and the Art Institute of Chicago). Fellowships are awarded for twelve- to eighteen-month terms. The 2014–15 fellow, Justin McCann, is working at the Colby College Museum of Art on the upcoming exhibition Whistler in the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler at the Colby College Museum of Art.

Smithsonian Institution Fellowships
A variety of fellowships for students and scholars at several stages of their careers are offered through the Smithsonian Institution Office of Fellowships.

The J. S. Lee Memorial Fellowship
In honor of the late Dr. J. S. Lee, a distinguished Hong Kong philanthropist and lifelong supporter of the study of Chinese art, this fellowship facilitates the international exchange of curatorial expertise and contributes to the professional development of Chinese art curators and academics. Fellows may choose to be based at the Freer and Sackler or at a number of other museums worldwide. Visit the fellowship website for more information and application instructions.

Freer Fellowship, University Of Michigan
The University of Michigan Department of the History of Art offers the Charles Lang Freer Fellowship, providing a semester or year-long residency at the Gallery for a pre-doctoral candidate in the department. Visit the department's webpage for more information.

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Unpaid Internships

Interns are selected by the staff of the museums’ participating departments. Applicants should indicate three departments of interest: Administration/Finance/Human Resources; Archives; Conservation and Scientific Research; Collections Management (Registrar); Curatorial; Education and Public Programs; Exhibition Management; Information Technology; Publications; Design and Production; Library; Membership and Development; Photography; Public Affairs and Marketing; Rights and Reproductions; Scholarly Programs and Publications; and Museum Shops. Approximately twenty percent of applicants are accepted for internships during any one–year period. Internships range from one month to one year. The duration is based on arrangements made between the department and the intern. For information, email asiainternship@si.edu or call 202.633.0466.

DEADLINES: For each internship term, applications must be submitted electronically* by the following dates:
Winter/Spring term: November 15
Summer: March 15
Fall: July 15

How to apply

If you are a high school student (sixteen years or older) of Asian descent, and you plan to complete an internship experience of at least two hundred hours within the span of one year, please apply to the Richard Louie Memorial Internship for High School Students of Asian Descent to be considered for a stipend. Applicants who apply for the Richard Louie Internship will automatically be considered for the unpaid internship. Please do not fill out both applications.

All other applicants should register and submit an online application via the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). Select "Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Internship Program" from the drop-down program list.

Application materials required for Freer and Sackler unpaid internships:

  • Online application
  • Statement of interest (500 words)
  • Transcript or resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

*Please submit all application materials via the SOLAA system. If specific circumstances prevent this, please call 202.633.0466 or e-mail asiainternship@si.edu.

Please note: Applications may not be dropped off at the museums' main information desks. While hand-delivered applications will not be rejected, the museum staff cannot guarantee or assume responsibility for their proper delivery to the intern coordinator.

The RICHARD Louie Memorial Internship for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS of Asian descent

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the national museums of Asian art at the Smithsonian Institution, offer a paid internship for high school students of Asian descent. The Richard Louie Memorial Internship was established in 1994 to honor Richard Louie, former associate director of the Freer and Sackler, and is made possible through the Richard Louie Memorial Fund. Its goal is to offer young people of Asian descent practical experience in a museum setting. Applicants who apply for the Richard Louie Internship will automatically be considered for the unpaid internship. Please do not fill out both applications.

Internship in Chinese Painting Conservation

This three to nine month internship is in the field of Chinese painting conservation. Working under the guidance of specialists in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, interns receive training in techniques of traditional Chinese painting conservation. For more information please see the internship listing in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research or send an email to dcsr@si.edu.

Smithsonian Internships

To learn about other Smithsonian internships, see intern.si.edu, or contact:

The Center for Museum Studies
Smithsonian Institution MRC 427
Washington, D.C. 20560
e-mail: interninfo@si.edu

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Paid Internships

For information about paid internships through the Minority Internship Program or the Native American Internship Program, visit the website of the Office of Fellowships and Grants or contact:

Office of Fellowships
Smithsonian Institution
470 L'Enfant Suite 7102
MRC 902 PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
phone: 202-633-7070
email: siofg@si.edu

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Freer Gallery Closure

From January 2015 through 2016, the collections storage areas of the Freer Gallery of Art will be unavailable for research or visits due to the replacement of the building’s heating, humidification, and ventilation systems. Throughout 2016 the Freer’s galleries and Meyer Auditorium will be closed to visitors. Concerts, films, and other public programs will be held at sites around the Smithsonian.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Library, and Archives will remain open during this period.

Contact with inquiries

Collections access: duleyel@si.edu

Public programs: publicaffairsasia@si.edu

Scholarly research: micklewrightn@si.edu

Media inquiries: pressasia@si.edu