Summer 2019 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 Publications

The Cross-Platform Publishing department handles all aspects of publishing at the museum, from print and ebooks—both exhibition based and more broad design theory—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.

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, organizing footage, logging tape, familiarity with podcasts, popular culture, trends, and interest in developing multi-media assets.

  • 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 a 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 blogs

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

Curatorial: Drawing, Prints & Graphic Design

Cooper Hewitt’s Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design (DPGD) department, among the world’s foremost repositories of European and American works on paper, holds over 147,000 drawings and prints dating from the Renaissance to the present. A noted strength is American 19th- and 20th-century drawings and prints, including major holdings of works by Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, Robert F. Blum, Samuel Colman, Kenyon Cox, William Hunt Diederich, Daniel Huntington, Christina Malman, Thomas Moran, Alice Cordelia Morse, Elihu Vedder and Whitney Warren. This significant portion of Cooper Hewitt’s collection provides a unique record of the evolution and working methods of accomplished 19th- and early 20th-century American artists and designers.

Intern will assist with researching and cataloging the American works on paper collection in the Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design Department.  Intern will conduct original research to thoroughly catalog objects in The Museum System (TMS), referencing the museum’s cataloging cards, accession ledgers, Registrar’s files, and all subsequent scholarship to determine accurate titles, dates, related works, and provenance history.

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.

Through placements in various museum departments, the Peter A. Krueger Summer Internship Program gives individuals the opportunity to explore different facets of museum work. This includes: raising public awareness about the museum, its exhibitions and public programs; working to promote the concept of design and design thinking; learning museum-specific operations systems; assisting with fundraising efforts, and general administrative tasks to support different departmental goals.

  • Intern will learn what the daily functions of a Curatorial Department are within the Museum
  • Intern will gain knowledge of Museum cataloguing practices and become proficient in The Museum System (TMS) database
  • Intern will learn how the Cooper Hewitt Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design Department works and gain insight into the procedures and processes involved in exhibition planning, collections management, and preparation for acquisitions, loans, and publications
  • Intern will learn about the history of 19th and 20th century American art, including its principles, traditions, historical contexts, and research methods
  • Intern will have the opportunity to publish writing reflecting original research on the museum’s Object of the Day blog


digital and emerging Media

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 Digital and Emerging Media internship 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.

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.

The ideal candidate is a spirited tech enthusiast who sees the crossover between design and technology. The team is currently building a number of digital products within the museum and needs someone who can help the team develop the products. We’re looking for people who are digitally savvy, and while knowing a little bit of code might help, it’s not a requirement. We’re doing research on digital collections and AI, developing digital design strategies, designing interactives for the galleries which include interactives for the American Women’s History Initiative. It’s a great place to get hands on experience with museum technology, product design, and research.



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.


The Exhibitions Department oversees the day-to-day museum campus activities and public spaces as well as the fabrication and implementation of museum exhibits including all gallery interactives and A/V.

The Exhibitions Department is looking for an intern who is interested in learning more about exhibition planning, design, and construction. As part of our team, the intern will have the opportunity to work directly with the Exhibitions Coordinator and Head of Exhibitions to learn more about the nuances of exhibition design and management, all within the unique framework and parameters inherent to working within a historic environment. This internship will introduce eligible candidates to a different side of the non-profit world and allow them to develop a wide range of valuable and professional skill sets.

Projects may include:

  • Working with AutoCAD/Vectorworks to establish and consolidate baseline drawings of the galleries housed in our historic mansion.
  • Develop and maintain a materials library and database for future fabrication work.
  • Help establish and maintain a working inventory for exhibition furniture.
  • Research venues for future traveling exhibitions.
  • General administrative support and skill building.

This internship is ideal for candidates seeking to pursue a career in museum work, exhibitions management, and exhibition design. Not only will this internship allow eligible candidates to develop soft skills essential across our field, but will allow individuals the flexibility to specialize in areas of interest. It can often be hard to find internships in Exhibition departments, we are interested in providing an opportunity for individuals with a budding interest in our field.



Conservation’s main responsibility is the preservation and technical study of the collection of more than 210,000 objects. Together the team of four conservators take care of the works of art on paper, textiles, and three-dimensional objects made of media ranging from brittle glass to pliable plastic- and everything in between. We work to support curatorial priorities and exhibition plans, including repairing damage to collection items (known as a “conservation treatment”), identifying materials and manufacture, and preparing objects and mounts prior to display or travel. We also monitor the galleries and storage spaces to make sure the climate surrounding the collections is appropriate and stable.

Working with the museum’s conservators, interns will gain experience in technical examination of works in the collection- learning how to look closely at how things are made.  Interns will gain experience with analytical tools to support conservation research, as well as work on preventive conservation projects to support collections care, gaining an introduction to the many roles of museum conservators. This internship will be partially held at the off-site storage facility and laboratory in Newark, NJ (transportation provided). The intern will contribute to conservation outreach with contributions to our Instagram (@cooperhewittconservation) and blog posts.

Candidates must have excellent observation and writing skills, good attention to detail, and curiosity about historic and contemporary artistic and manufacturing techniques.

Knowledge or previous background in lab sciences and/or photography principles and Adobe Photoshop is a plus.

The internship is well suited to students interested in careers in conservation, technical art history, and historic preservation, as well as those interested in science, engineering, and design.


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