Internships: Department Descriptions
Interns working in Administration/Finance/Human Resources will have the opportunity to experience many activities related to the museums’ daily operation. Interns will assist with day-to-day management of projects, gather information for reports, and help with filing and data entry. Most projects require good organizational and clerical skills as well as computer proficiency.
A variety of internships are available for qualified applicants with an interest in historical and cultural materials and archives management. The Archives’ intern projects, which vary greatly and are determined on an individual basis, may include re-housing or otherwise physically and intellectually processing new collections, assisting with collections surveys, or scanning and digital image management. Applicants enrolled in an information science program may be considered for more specialized projects, such as research, cataloguing, or collections-processing tasks, while interns with extensive language knowledge and/or related cultural backgrounds may be asked to develop descriptive inventories of foreign-language collections.
Conservation and Scientific Research
As the foremost center in the United States for the care and scientific study of the art of Asia, the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research (DCSR) continues the work begun in the East Asian Painting Conservation Studio in 1932 and the Freer’s Technical Laboratory in 1951. The department focuses on four areas: conservation of the Freer and Sackler collections, the use of scientific methods of research for the study of Asian art, educational efforts (particularly in the field of East Asian painting conservation), and participating in collaborative international conservation projects. Most DCSR interns have chosen the field of conservation science for graduate study or as a profession, and they work individually and collaboratively with the staff to advance their area of expertise.
Collections Management (Registrar)
Internships in Collections Management focus on structured, “project-based” assignments. These include opportunities to compare the electronic records in our collection database to hard-copy collection records and standardize terms, constituents, or other fields. Other potential projects include verifying or updating data by comparing them with actual collection objects. These projects will help interns understand the importance of expanding and maintaining the accuracy of the intellectual collection in combination with the physical collection.
The Curatorial Department includes the following areas of expertise: late nineteenth- to early twentieth-century American art, Chinese art, Ancient Near Eastern art, arts of the Islamic World, Korean art, Japanese art, South Asian art, Southeast Asian art, and contemporary Asian art. Projects typically involve research on exhibitions and/or the permanent collections or publication projects on the artistic, historical, cultural, and religious contexts of works of art. Tasks may include electronic data entry, image and bibliographic research, as well as filing and organization of data. Internships are open to all undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in Asia and/or knowledge of art history.
The Design & Production/Publications/Web & Digital Media Department works in cooperation with other museum departments to disseminate information about the museums’ collections, exhibitions, programs, and events to various audiences through exhibitions, publications, and the website. When available, internships are related to departmental work.
Education and Public Programs
The Education Department leads museum initiatives and programs that expand public understanding of the museums’ collections and exhibitions and the cultures associated with them. The department develops and implements programs and resources for diverse audiences and works behind the scenes to enhance the experience of museum visitors. Working in various areas (docent programs, adult programs, school and teacher programs, ImaginAsia family programs, films, performing arts, interpretation, or audio visual support), interns will engage in projects that creatively connect the museums’ collections and exhibitions to the visitor experience.
The Office of Special Events, a unit within the Office of Development, conceptualizes, coordinates, and oversees a wide range of occasions at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. These include the annual benefit gala and related kick-off events, cosponsored events, seated dinners, international delegation visits, exhibition openings, and board meetings. Additionally, the office coordinates offsite cultivation events at foreign embassies, international venues, and private residences. Intern tasks may include coordinating high-level meetings, writing event memos and guest biographies, maintaining accurate and up-to-date guest records, organizing and assembling invitation and gift acknowledgement mailings, preparing gift bags, drafting constituent correspondence, and coordinating logistics with vendors, Freer|Sackler executive staff, and internal departments prior to and during events. Please note that evening availability may be requested on event days.
The Exhibitions Department facilitates and coordinates the museum’s active exhibition program, including the review, development, and implementation of all temporary and traveling exhibitions. Its work is administrative and supports both long-range planning and short-term project development. The department interfaces with all internal museum departments, other museums and offices within the Smithsonian, and external constituents, including project consultants (i.e., curatorial contributors, authors, etc.), lenders, donors and sponsors, governmental agencies (both domestic and foreign), project partners, other exhibition venues, and the public. Interns may work on a variety of projects that support the development and implementation of gallery exhibitions.
The Network Services Department (NS) provides general support for the computers and network throughout the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Interns will help NS staff provide support for computers, printers, and software applications; install and configure hardware and software; and troubleshoot various IT problems. Interns also will gain experience in customer support and improve their skills in identifying, analyzing, and resolving computer problems.
Founded in 1923 as part of a gift from Charles Lang Freer, the Freer and Sackler library has developed into one of the most well-known Asian art libraries in the world, with a rich and unique collection in both Western and Asian languages. Interns will have the opportunity to work with experienced librarians in many aspects of library operations: acquisition, circulation, cataloguing, and customer service. They will reach out to the larger user community by helping to maintain the library’s online social networking sites. The internship also provides opportunities to utilize Asian languages, enhance information-seeking skills by using online and specialized databases, and strengthen customer-service skills.
Membership and Development
The Membership and Development Office attracts private contributions to the museums from a variety of supporters, who help make possible a broad spectrum of activities ranging from major exhibitions and publications to film programs, performances, tours, and lectures. The department also manages the museums’ high-level patron group, the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Intern tasks might include researching donors (individuals, corporations, foundations) online, preparing “goodie bags” for VIPs, assembling mailings, preparing presentations, and helping the gift officers and patrons coordinator with a variety of specialized tasks.
Photography/Rights and Reproductions
Interns in the Imaging & Photo Services and Rights & Reproductions Departments have the opportunity to provide a vital contribution to the museums while supporting a sophisticated digital photo lab. Projects include organizing and maintaining digital files, uploading digital images to The Museum System database (TMS), preparing images for the museums’ online collection, and organizing photographic materials from exhibitions. Interns also may have the opportunity to photograph events or exhibitions and network with professionals. Applicants should have some prior experience with digital photography, be comfortable with both PC and Mac computers, be visually organized, and be able to work on projects from start to finish.
Public Affairs and Marketing
The Office of Public Affairs and Marketing handles all press and advertising activities for the museums. Projects will include organizing, scanning, and archiving newspaper clippings; updating social networking sites; writing and designing e-blast mailings; managing mailing lists; assisting with media and social event planning; and researching media publications and blogging sites. In addition to possessing excellent writing and communication skills and an interest in Asian art and culture, interns must be working towards a degree in print or new media journalism, communications/ public affairs, or marketing and be proficient in or possess skills using Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, scanning devices, camcorders, and digital cameras
Scholarly Programs and Publications
The Scholarly Programs and Publications Department of the Freer and Sackler Galleries is small in size but large in impact. Its mission is to increase access to information and encourage and support research in the museums. The department is responsible for developing conferences and symposia, helping to accommodate researchers, and producing the peer-reviewed journal Ars Orientalis. It also develops ways to improve the research section of the F|S website, making the museums’ work more accessible to the public.
Those interested in interning with the department should be skilled and comfortable with writing, Jstor, Google Scholar and other research tools, and the Microsoft Office Suite, and have an interest in Asian and Middle Eastern visual culture or publishing. Flexibility and strong organizational skills are a plus. Students majoring in Asian languages, art history, anthropology, and communications are ideal for this position.
The Shops Department is in charge of the successful management and day-to-day operations of both the Freer Gallery Shop and the Sackler Gallery Shop. Projects will vary based upon applicants’ interests and may include integrating the new point-of-sale system with the e-commerce site, revitalizing the e-commerce site so that it works with the main Freer and Sackler site, maintaining the shops’ inventory using photos, or developing advertising for sales and other events. Qualified applicants will have an ability to take on projects that vary each day, will be able to work independently, and will have an appetite for broadening their knowledge of Asian culture, art, and the business of retail.
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