Curatorial, Product Design, and Decorative Arts Department

The internship in PDDA has two components: the first involves assisting with establishing and entering meta-data on the museum’s collections database (The Museum System); the second involves exhibition object research and cataloguing. Time should be about equally divided between the two activities.
Roles and Responsibilities:
As part of Cooper Hewitt’s ongoing imaging and digitization of the collection for upcoming exhibitions, the museum’s collections website, and digital media content, a significant number of PDDA objects need research and basic cataloguing to make their database records exhibition- and web-ready. Intern activities will include: assisting PDDA curators in reviewing existing cataloguing records; entering data from paper records to the museum’s collections database; object research; and assisting curators with basic object documentation as needed.

One of the project priorities is object research utilizing departmental and other information sources to establish or update full online cataloguing (up-to-date scholarship, bibliographic citations, exhibition history, etc.) for exhibition-related objects and as part of grant projects. Specifically, an exhibition on Jazz Age American design and its origins will be the primary subject of additional research on both collection objects and intended loans. The intern will work with the two PDDA curators who are also developing future exhibitions. This project may also require assistance with publication development tasks, including updating exhibition checklists and general research.

    Curatorial (Textiles)

Cooper Hewitt’s Textile Department holds approximately 26,000 examples of Western and non-Western textiles that span a period of more than 23 centuries. In preparation for upcoming exhibitions, the department will be conducting research on a variety of contemporary and historic textile topics, ranging from the meaning of knots to American Art Deco to biomimetics in textiles.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Working with the Textiles curatorial team, the intern will compile bibliographies and research files on the assigned topics, and seek out contemporary design project that relate to the topics of interest. Based on the research completed, the intern will help to develop exhibition proposals with specific themes and subthemes outlined.

    Curatorial (Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design)

Cooper Hewitt’s Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design Department houses over 140,000 works of art and design on paper, ranging from Italian Renaissance drawings to 21st-century digital graphic design. The department will be preparing for upcoming exhibitions and publications, as well as the digitization and inventory of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design collection.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The intern will be responsible for assisting the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design Department with the preparation of labels, digital and web content, blog posts, and other departmental tasks relating to exhibitions and publications. He or she will also assist with projects relating to the exhibition How Posters Work, which will be on view at Cooper Hewitt during the summer of 2015. The intern will be expected to assist with the cataloguing and digitization of the collection, inputting of information into the collections database, conducting research and drafting correspondence related to recent and upcoming acquisitions and loans, making preparations for Collections and Exhibitions Committee presentations, and conducting additional research for future exhibitions as needed.

    Curatorial (Triennial Exhibition)

Cooper Hewitt launched our renowned Triennial series in 2000. The exhibition surveys recent work across a broad range of disciplines, including products, fashion, graphics, media, and architecture. The next Triennial, dedicated to “Beauty,” will open in December 2015, with projects selected from around the world.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The intern will be responsible for assisting the curators with research needs, correspondence with participating designers, managing data for the exhibition checklist, confirming information for exhibition labels, and preparing content for the museum’s digital collections resources, as well as other duties.

    Curatorial (Socially Responsible Design)

In 2007, the Design for the Other 90% exhibition opened at Cooper Hewitt, displaying design solutions that address the most basic needs for 90% of the world’s population—those not traditionally served by professional designers—and demonstrated how design can be a dynamic force in transforming, and in many cases, saving lives. The second exhibition in the series, Design With the Other 90%: CITIES, opened at the United Nations headquarters and examined design solutions that were addressing the unprecedented growth of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. The third exhibition in the series is scheduled to open at Cooper Hewitt in the spring of 2016, and will focus primarily on socially responsible design in the United States.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The intern will be responsible for assisting the curator and curatorial assistant with the preparation of labels, images, digital and web content, blog posts, and other departmental tasks related to the upcoming Design With the Other 90% exhibition. Additionally, he or she will be expected to assist with inputting information into the museum’s database, organizing curator-acquired media, corresponding with designers included in the exhibition, fact checking, preparing for internal presentations, and conducting additional research as needed.

    Communications and Marketing

The Communications and Marketing department raises public awareness about the new Cooper Hewitt—including its exhibitions and public programs—through public relations, social media, marketing, and advertising initiatives.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Working with the Communications and Marketing team, tasks will include press release writing, social media content development, audience research, assisting with marketing campaigns, list maintenance and development, and general administrative support.

    Publications (Cross-Platform Publishing)

The Cross-Platform Publishing department at Cooper Hewitt ( handles all aspects of publishing, from print catalogs to e-books to gallery wall labels and digital table content, as well as the development and production of collection-based merchandise for licensors. The department is always trying to improve workflow, re-thinking its content production habits in order to be responsive to daily culture and the changing needs of our target audiences. Additionally, the department strives to make internal processes as efficient as possible, taking advantage of digital tools and trying to apply the COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) methodology wherever possible.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The department is seeking a creative and curious intern who can help with all aspects of publishing. One major project is interpretation, which entails crafting text for wall labels through close collaboration with curators and education specialists. The intern will also help keep our digital documents organized and accessible to the people who need them. Book production (physical and digital) is another key project, which requires document and image wrangling, rights management, and copy editing work.

    Digital and Emerging Media

Cooper Hewitt Labs ( is a space for exploring what it means to be a museum in the Internet age. How can we design and build online collections that are more than a basic catalog? How can we deliver the museum’s mission beyond our physical building? How can we enhance the in-gallery experience, and then weave it back in to the web? How can we research and understand and our visitors’ real motivations and needs? How can we make our services more informative, more explorable, and more interconnected with other museums? The Lab is one part interaction design and one part infrastructure wrangling, mixed with a bit of paper, pixels, and 3D prints, an auto-generated Haiku or two, and the occasional baby panda or Design Eagle.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The department is seeking a creative, curious, digitally fluent, culturally engaged intern. He or she will work on the museum’s new website, content design and production, digital experiences, and interactive media. The intern should be a self-starter who is comfortable working in an open-ended, collaborative work environment. Additionally, he or she should like the idea of coming up with a concept, building a prototype, experimenting with it independently, presenting it to the team, and then revising it.

    Development and Membership

Roles and Responsibilities:
Corporations and Foundations
• Work with staff to learn Raiser’s Edge, PANDA, and Tessitura (top-tier fundraising software that is used in development offices across the Smithsonian and in museums across the country) to assist with various tasks including: running queries and reports, generating mailing lists for mail merges, updating constituent information, and researching notes
• Research potential corporate members and exhibition sponsors.
• Research new foundations and prepare prospect files for prospects that may be interested in supporting Cooper Hewitt (for annual needs and the Capital Campaign)
• Assist with Cooper Hewitt’s corporate member acquisition program by compiling information packages to send to corporate member prospects and following up with interested organizations
• Assist in the preparation of grant proposals (for annual needs and the Capital Campaign)
Individual Giving and Membership
• Research existing donors and new individual prospects
• Add research notes and other actions to Raiser’s Edge, PANDA, and Tessitura
• Assist with mailings of Membership and Development materials
• Organize individual giving files
• Investigate potential studio and collection visits for upper-level members
• Compile and confirm members’ Design Around Town discounts
Special Events
• Provide administrative assistance for any Development-related museum opening events
• Provide administrative assistance for the National Design Awards tasks assigned to Development
• Work with staff to secure in-kind gifts for Cooper Hewitt fundraising events
• Light administrative and archival projects for old event files
Director’s Office
• Provide administrative support to the Executive Offices as required


The summer intern will assist with many phases of the National Design Awards, including promotion and outreach, the nomination process, the submission process, follow up with nominees and honorees, and preparations for the Gala, National Design Week, and related events.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Specific responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:
• Coordinating the return of nominees’ submissions (portfolios, videos, CDs, books, etc.)
• Coordinating and assisting with meetings, events, and programs as requested, including the Awards Gala and education programs held during National Design Week
• Administering the National Design Week site listing of design events held across the country
• Researching prospective nominators, nominees, and jurors for future award seasons
• Crafting social media content about the Awards
• Researching, developing, and coordinating related special projects as assigned
• General administrative work associated with the annual awards Gala and related events, including mailings (electronic and paper), filing, copying, basic correspondence, data entry, etc.