Summer 2020 Internship Descriptions

Aerial view of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in the former residence of Andrew Carnegie. Read below for information about the museum's hours and admission prices.

Communications and Marketing

The Communications and Marketing Department raises public awareness about Cooper Hewitt’s exhibitions and public programs through public relations, social media, marketing and advertising initiatives.

As a part of the Communications and Marketing team, interns will gain experience in press release writing, social media content development, audience research, marketing campaigns, list maintenance and development, and general administrative support.

Intern must have excellent communication skills, writing skills, high attention to detail, and be a self-starter and team player. Working knowledge of various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, is required.  Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel is required. Knowledge of PhotoShop is a plus.

The internship is well suited to students interested in careers in journalism, arts administration, or marketing.

Cross-Platform Publishing

The Cross-Platform Publishing department handles all aspects of publishing at the museum, from print and ebooks—both exhibition based and more broadly design focused—to exhibition and digital content, specifically video and audio. We are always working on workflow, trying to re-think our content production habits in order to make us more responsive to daily culture and the changing needs of our target audiences. We’re also continually looking for new solutions and formats for publishing out content, taking advantage of digital tools and cross-departmental collaborations wherever we can. Closely collaborating with curatorial, education, and digital departments we aim to provide interpretive stories for the range of our audiences.

We’re seeking a creative and curious intern who can help with all aspects of digital video production and storytelling at the museum. The role will involve video production: production, shooting, organizing footage, logging tape, editing; and it will require familiarity with podcasts, popular culture, trends, and interest in developing multimedia assets.

The intern will:

  • Meet and work with top professionals and practitioners in publishing and the digital/museum field.
  • Gain an understanding of the real-world challenges that influence content production, aiming to reach both diverse public audiences as well as fulfill our scholarly mission.
  • Participate in decision-making that will affect the design and content of museum wall labels, printed books, and other published material.
  • Have your writing published on our blog:

Video production experience is necessary.  Understanding audience and how to publish content across multiple platforms are important. The intern must have good organizational and communication skills and be comfortable working in an open, collaborative work environment. Previous publishing or editorial experience is a bonus.

textiles- curatorial and conservation

The Textile Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum holds and cares for approximately 26,000 examples of Western and non-Western textiles covering a period of over twenty-three centuries. As a part of the Textiles collections team, the intern will learn archival storage methods and rehouse new acquisitions in the textile collection, as well as train in other aspects of museum preservation like exhibition maintenance and environmental monitoring. The intern will support ongoing department tasks, including object photography, condition assessments, exhibition preparation, and cataloguing. The intern will have the opportunity to generate content for our website and social media initiatives, including the museum’s Object of the Day blog.

Working with the museum’s textile conservator, collections manager, and curators, interns will have a holistic experience in collections care and preventative conservation, gaining an introduction to the many roles of museum collections professionals. Daily tasks may include rehousing groups of newly acquired lace and Arts and Crafts textiles, object photography, exhibition mounting and maintenance, object assessments, cataloguing, and object research as needed by the department.

This internship will be partially held at the off-site storage facility in Newark, NJ (transportation provided). The intern will contribute to departmental outreach with contributions to our Instagram (@cooperhewittconservation) and the museum’s Object of the Day blog posts.

Candidates must have excellent observation and writing skills, good attention to detail, and curiosity about historic and contemporary textiles and archival storage techniques. Intern must have excellent research, writing and communication skills, high attention to detail, and be able take direction well. Previous object handling experience and working knowledge of museum database systems is a plus.  Knowledge of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe Photoshop is required.

special events

The office of Special Events plans a variety of events for the Cooper Hewitt including: exhibition openings, staff receptions, donor cultivation events, the National Design Awards gala, Spring benefit, and Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt programs. In addition, the office oversees all rental events including weddings, fashion shows and shoots, and corporate parties.

The Special Events office strives to forward the goals of the Smithsonian Institution by connecting with the community and public at large. The office  offers an unparalleled opportunity for students/individuals interested in event planning and coordinating to delve into the museum environment and gain hands-on skills from a highly esteemed workplace. Working closely with the Special Events and Advancement staff, interns will gain experience in formulating, developing and executing all programmatic and logistical elements of assigned events.  Other specialized areas for interns to explore include budget preparation and reconciliation, contracts, event management, public relations, problem solving and diplomacy. Interns are given a great deal of responsibility and permitted the chance to develop their writing skills, interact with museum officials, work with caterers, vendors, artists, and staff numerous special events.

Projects may include:

  • Planning, managing, and executing an event from start to finish during the internship.
  • Working on all aspects of the Summer Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt Program from communication, artist selection, to maintaining supplies and overseeing volunteers.
  • Assisting with the design of the Special Events marketing plan

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and Excel
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously
  • Availability to work events including nights and some weekends


Graphic Design

The Communications and Marketing Department raises public awareness about Cooper Hewitt’s exhibitions and public programs through public relations, social media, marketing and advertising initiatives.

As a part of the Communications and Marketing team, the graphic design intern will collaborate with many different departments and gain experience in planning and producing graphic design material to promote Cooper Hewitt as a contemporary local, national and international design resource for its target audiences.

The graphic design intern will help implement design systems and guidelines for visual communications that extend and complement the Cooper Hewitt brand identity designed by Pentagram, and ensure consistency of the Museum’s identity and brand on all digital and print pieces

Skills + Qualifications:

  • Strong graphic design portfolio
  • Excellent computer skills, including Adobe Creative Suite, HTML/CSS/JS, MS Office
  • Familiar with web platforms and current digital options
  • Understanding of WordPress, Drupal, and MailChimp theming/templating environments
  • Working knowledge of various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, is required.
  • Animation skills are a plus.



Cooper Hewitt achieves its mission to educate, inspire, and empower by helping our community to understand that design is all around them and how the design process can be a valuable tool in creative problem solving. Through its award-winning free programs, Cooper Hewitt works to share design and its process with everyone it touches and unearth budding design talent by exposing participants’ to designers from varied fields—directly addressing a lack of diversity in professional design fields. Learning about the way designers think and creatively solve problems is particularly helpful for all young people, even if their career goals do not include professional design. Why? Designers work collaboratively in teams and have to solve complex problems within defined limitations. Design also teaches empathy through its focus on the user. These are just two of the links connecting design-based learning to 21st-century skills, Common Core, STEAM, and College and Career Readiness.

An internship in the education department offers opportunities to assist with developing content and execute design thinking programs for teen, kids, and K-12 audiences. An intern will learn how design based learning is shared with a variety of audiences and program formats. Working directly with youth audiences, the education intern will put in to practice object-based learning, inquiry and design process education.

Projects may include:

  • Development of K-12 educator content for exhibitions and Cooper Hewitt’s online collection.
  • Involvement in all aspects of the Summer Design Camp Program from camper registration to maintaining supplies and leading design activities.

Strong writing and research skills; Understanding of project based learning; Proficient in Microsoft office software; Fundamental understanding of teaching methods; Experience assisting or teaching youth audiences.


How can the museum experience be designed around principles of equity and inclusion? How can all areas of the museum consider barriers to participation? Through education, exhibition, and interdisciplinary projects, the museum aims to bring inclusive design into all areas of the museum’s practice—engaging visitors with disabilities across the museum experience. Cooper Hewitt’s accessibility program is comprised of regularly-scheduled education activities, ongoing campus-wide visitor affordances, and collaborative exhibition-based initiatives that integrate accessibility.

This internship is ideal for candidates interested in learning about visitor-centered museum work, disability studies, and inclusive design. Candidates must bring creativity and an openness to learn. This internship has flexibility in projects to align with the selected candidate’s expertise, background, and area of interest.

Within one week, you will:

  • Meet and work with team members from various departments including Visitor Experience, Operations, Education, Curatorial.
  • Learn about our roadmap and the priority projects that we’ll be working towards soon.

Within one month, you will:

  • Assist in the development of a visitor accommodation (like Large Print labels, sensory materials, or alt-text on our website).

By the end of the summer, you will:

  • Have researched, planed, and assisted in implementing a session of one of our regularly-scheduled tour or workshop for visitors with disabilities.
  • Provided insight based on data and direct feedback from visitors with disabilities on Cooper Hewitt’s accessibility offerings.
  • Conceptualized and prototyped a tool or resource to improve accessibility within the museum experience.

We value diversity of all kinds, and are committed to building a workplace where we learn from each other. We seek to hire, develop and retain talented people from all backgrounds. Individuals from non-traditional backgrounds, historically marginalized, or underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. If you have questions about the role, process, or the people behind this work prior to applying—please get in touch at

curatorial- drawings, prints, & graphic design

Cooper Hewitt’s Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design Department (DPGD) houses over 140,000 works of art and design on paper, ranging from Italian Renaissance drawings to 21st century digital graphic design.  In summer 2020, the department will be preparing for upcoming exhibitions and publications as well as the cataloguing, digitization and inventory of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design collection.

Intern will be an integral part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design Department and will gain valuable insight into the preparation of labels, digital and web content, blog posts, and other Departmental tasks relating to exhibitions and publications.  The intern will develop skills in cataloguing and digitization of the collection and will be involved in: maintaining the collections database, conducting research and correspondence related to recent and upcoming acquisitions and loans, preparing for Collections and Exhibitions Committee presentations and researching for future exhibitions as needed.

Intern must have an interest in art history or design history, a strong attention to detail, and be able take direction well. Knowledge of a foreign language is preferable.  Working knowledge of TMS is a plus.  Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel is required.

Featured Image: Aerial view of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in the former residence of Andrew Carnegie