Part-Time Summer Internship Program

Interested in learning more about the museum's summer internship programs, or planning to apply? Drop by virtual office hours on Tuesday, January 5, 12-1 pm and Wednesday, January 20, 5-7 pm to ask questions and get advice on your application.

The RISD Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon summer internship program introduces students to museum work and offers in-depth experience working in a specific department of the RISD Museum. Interns contribute to departmental projects with Museum staff as supervisors. As a cohort, interns discuss museum practice, build professional skills for working in the arts, and learn about how museums live up to their missions. This is designed as an introductory experience for students without prior experience or access to similar opportunities.

Applicants should have a strong interest in museum work and the topics related to the specific internship projects, but no previous museum experience or academic background in art history is necessary. This program is open to currently enrolled college and university undergraduate and graduate students; students graduating in the 2020-21 academic year are also eligible. Students who are not U.S. citizens are welcome to apply for the internship if they have a visa that is valid for the entire internship program (through August 13, 2021).

The ten-week internships begin June 7, 2021, and end August 13, 2021. We anticipate and will plan for virtual internships, but will pivot to an in-person experience if possible. Interns are expected to work for 20 hours a week. Participation in group seminars and workshops focusing on museum studies and professional practice is included in these weekly hours. Interns will develop an independent project related to their interests alongside these seminar sessions and at the end of the program, each intern will publicly reflect on their experience and share their work. Browse former interns’ perspectives on the collection here. Mellon interns receive a $3,000 honorarium. A limited amount of funding is available for travel or technology assistance and may be awarded to accepted students who would not otherwise be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

The deadline for submitting applications is January 29, 2021, at 11:59 pm. Selected candidates will be interviewed in March and all applicants will be notified by the end of that month. Questions should be addressed to

Participants may arrange for academic credit for the internship through their college or university. To do so, they will need to fulfill the number of hours required for credit at their home institutions and any additional requirements, such as paper assignments, to qualify for that credit. Museum staff will provide supervision for such assignments as well as letters of support verifying the student’s participation in the internship program.

The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Internship Program at the RISD Museum is made possible by an endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Creative Production Internship
The Creative Production Intern will work collaboratively to create digital and online content related to the Museum’s collection. The intern will work directly with the Assistant Director, Digital Initiatives on aspects of digital interpretation, including audio and video production. As collaborations between curators and educators, these projects offer lively content and accessible learning opportunities for a varied public. Skills required include a working knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, including Premiere and Audition.

Curatorial Internships
Each curatorial intern will assist a curator or curatorial team with tasks related to researching and interpreting works of art and design, which may in some cases be associated with upcoming exhibitions or prospective additions to the collection. The intern will also assist with ongoing collection management. This may include taking inventories of objects, confirming descriptions and measurements, and entering and updating data in the Museum’s internal database system. The intern will gain an understanding of managing a collection area in a museum and will be introduced to writing about objects for platforms such as in-gallery texts and scholarly publications. Strong candidates will be detail oriented and will possess good organizational and research skills.

Curatorial Internship: Asian Art
The Asian and Islamic Art collection spans a period of almost 5,000 years, covering the geographic areas of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. The intern's tasks will include assisting with research and cataloging of objects in the collection. Competency or fluency in an Asian language such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Arabic is preferred.

Curatorial Internship: Contemporary Art
The Contemporary Art department oversees works in painting, sculpture, video, sound, and installation created after 1960. Tasks will include maintaining files of the approximately 1,000 objects in the collection and preparing research for presentations of works from the collection and temporary exhibitions in the galleries.

Curatorial Internship: Decorative Arts and Design
The Decorative Arts and Design collection encompasses European and American furniture, metalwork, wallpaper, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and design drawings from the medieval period to the present. The intern will have the opportunity to assist on a variety of short and long-term collections and exhibition projects, involving research, writing, and data management.

Imaging Resources Internship
The Imaging Resources Intern will learn how the museum's digital assets—content that is stored digitally, like photographs and videos—are managed and associated with collection objects, programs, and exhibitions. The intern will work directly with the Associate Registrar for Digital Resources within the museum's digital asset management system to help store, manage, distribute, retrieve, and archive its digital assets. A successful candidate is detail oriented, possesses computer fluency (and interest), and has excellent organizational skills. 

Social Equity and Inclusion Internship
The Social Equity and Inclusion Intern will help the museum’s SEI Specialist develop, coordinate, and lead internal and external programs related to anti-racist practice, teaching, research and interpretation of the collection. In collaboration with educators, curators, and staff across the museum, this area provides project support and accountability for advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The ideal intern will demonstrate a high level of cultural competency and possess solid writing skills.