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ACHP-Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Internship

Theme for 2017 is Latino Heritage

The theme for the 2017 Fall Semester ACHP-SI internship is Latino Heritage. Those with an interest in learning more about the preservation of Latino culture, heritage, sites and artifacts are especially encouraged to apply.



This internship is a joint experience with the Smithsonian Institution (SI) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). Through its 19 museums and research centers, SI works to preserve over 154 million artifacts and specimens. The ACHP is an independent federal agency that oversees the historic preservation review process for federal projects,which ensures that Federal Agencies take into account the effect of their undertakings on properties on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The ACHP also conducts a variety of preservation programs dealing with promoting public appreciation of cultural heritage, economic development, sustainability, Native American interests, national preservation policy, and preservation related legislation.

As defined by UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage is more than monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expression inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditionsperforming artssocial practices, rituals, festive eventsknowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.


How it Works:

This place-based, cultural heritage internship will highlight the connection between intangible cultural heritage and place. Interns will have the opportunity to experience preservation both in situ at a historically significant site and ex situ in Washington, DC.

During their internship interns may learn:

  • What is the significance of place-based intangible heritage?
  • How does place-based intangible heritage relate to public policy and discourse?
  • What methods are used for the identification, collection, conservation and preservation of paper, photographs, audio and video recordings, and electronic records?
  • How can social media and other communication strategies better engage youth and more diverse audiences in our work and in historic preservation in general?

Phase 1:

The intern will have an opportunity to study the connection between intangible cultural heritage and place in residence at a site that is on or eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places. During this phase interns will be assigned a local mentor who is knowledgeable about the culture and efforts to preserve cultural heritage at the site.

Phase 2:

The intern will have an opportunity to continue the study of the connection between intangible cultural heritage and place at the Smithsonian and at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington, DC.


To help defray living expenses during the tenure of their internship, interns receive a $600/week stipend plus a travel allowance.

Example: Los Matachines

Los Matachines ritual dance, with origins tracing back to the Moors, is performed throughout the New World and varies significantly from place to place. Los Matachines performances usually have similar elements, but the traditions surrounding the performance, the music, and the performance itself are unique to each location. At El Santuario de Chimayo, a National Historic Landmark outside Santa Fe, NM, Los Matachines is performed twice a year, during Easter and the Santo Niño Fiesta.



Current or recent undergraduate students with an interest in cultural and/or historic preservation are eligible to apply for this internship.



Some familiarity with cultural and/or historic preservation is desirable, but not required.

Applicants are encouraged to propose a preferred site for Phase 1 of their internship. Sites should be registered or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


How to Apply:

To apply, create an account on the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Then start an application for this internship program, which is listed as the Office of Fellowships (OF). Follow the steps listed, and be sure to upload any necessary supporting documents.


Application Deadline:

Fall Semester (September-December): July 15