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Claudine K. Brown Internship in Education

The Claudine K. Brown Internship in Education is funded through an endowed fund in memory of Claudine K. Brown, an educator and influential leader of the Smithsonian. Awardees of the Brown Internship are appointed based on a demonstrated interest in the field of education and museum leadership.  Internships are available for high school and college students, including under-served youth.


This program was established in honor of the late Claudine K. Brown, former assistant secretary for education and access, to promote excellence in education and help ensure a diverse education and museum workforce of the future. Brown was a lifelong champion for learners of all ages.  She believed in immersive experiences – that we learn by doing. As assistant secretary for education and access from 2010 to 2016, she was responsible for defining the institution’s overall education program, especially for K-12 students and teachers.  She worked with more than 300 educators to bring stories, collections, lessons, films, games and many more offerings to life.


Available internship opportunities are intended to increase participation of underserved students who are under-represented in the education and museum leadership field. Interns are placed in offices, museums, and research centers throughout the Smithsonian Institution where they will help to create, develop and disseminate innovative educational programs and resources at the Smithsonian, online, in the classroom and in communities.


  • U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents
  • To be considered for this opportunity one must currently be enrolled or recently have been enrolled (within the last 6 months) as a high school or undergraduate student

How it works

Each year, the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access (ASEA) identifies a new project for the Claudine Brown Internship awardee. In 2018, the Claudine Brown intern will have an opportunity to learn through involvement with a project based at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

How to Apply

Apply online through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Please carefully review the position description(s) prior to applying.

Once you have created an account and logged into SOLAA, you will need to upload and complete all the required information including:

  • A current resume
  • A short essay including learning objectives
  • Two references from professors, advisors, or recent employers

Candidates will likely be asked to interview, either in person or over the phone, for their desired position.


$650/week, with possible travel allowance. Additional housing information can be found here.

Application Deadline

March 15th, 2018

The 2018 Claudine Brown Internship Project

For the 2018, the Claudine Brown Internship awardee will have an opportunity to learn about developing and disseminating innovative educational programs and resources at the Smithsonian, online, in the classroom and in communities through an internship with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES serves as the Institution’s ambassador and emissary through traveling exhibits that bring knowledge, discovery, and experiences to people across America and beyond. Wherever SITES goes, it stimulates conversations: between the national and local, between the expected and unexpected. SITES’ presence changes lives, institutions, and communities.

The 2018 awardee will conduct their internship with SITES’ Exhibit Department. SITES seeks an intern who has an interest in how exhibitions educate visitors and their communities, and who is interested in discovering how educational resources support visitor learning in exhibitions. The intern will assemble or develop educational materials for one or more of SITES’ traveling exhibitions that are currently in development.

The intern may also develop or update educational materials for SITES’ Build-It-Yourself exhibitions. At the end of the internship, the selectee should understand how museums enhance and support exhibitions with educational materials and will have gained hands-on experience in developing educational materials for museum visitors.

Interns will participate in discussions and planning meetings that offer perspectives on interpretive techniques for exhibitions, exhibition design, and programming support for venues. Interns will be mentored by project directors, registrars, and other project team members to plan for exhibition concepts, design, fabrication, handling, and presentations. Interns will learn how educational resources are created to support visitor learning in exhibitions by assembling and updating educational materials for identified exhibitions; will perform research, will learn to write exhibit-related materials; and will assist with production plans. Interns will also participate in constructing and collating content (images/audio visual) into a succinct database for venues to utilize; contacting exhibitors to gather SITES exhibition data; taking and transcribing meeting notes; and organizing exhibition materials and documentation.

Additionally, interns will develop communication skills by reaching out to audiences ranging from the general public and elected officials to current and future host venues; by conducting surveys and focus groups with host organizations to determine interest in projects; and by providing personal perspective on how exhibitions appeal to young audiences. Additional learning opportunities may be created to address intern’s interests.

Students who may get the most from this opportunity include students who are:

  • High school or undergraduate students who have completed or are currently enrolled in coursework in history, education, science, art, or who has an interest in any of those disciplines
  • Enthusiastic about working in teams, but equally comfortable working alone
  • Detail-oriented with excellent organizational and time management skills
  • An eagerness to learn and the flexibility to work in a large institution
  • Strong verbal, written communication and interpersonal skills

Upon completion of the internship, Claudine Brown interns will be better able to:

  • Understand best practices of education in their area of interest
  • Work with a variety of audiences from Smithsonian education staff, volunteers and visitors to the Museums, education and research centers
  • Build self-confidence in a professional setting