Part-Time Summer Internship Program

The description and position list below refers to summer 2020. Summer 2021 positions and updated application details will be posted in mid-December.


The RISD Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon summer internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to gain professional experience. 

Applicants should have a strong interest in museum work and the topics related to the specific internship projects, although no previous museum work or experience in art history is necessary. The ten-week internships begin June 8, 2020, and end August 14, 2020. Interns are expected to spend 20 hours a week in the Museum. Participation in group seminars and workshops focusing on museums and professional practice is included in their weekly hours. Mellon interns receive a $3,000 honorarium. A limited amount of funding is available for travel assistance and may be awarded to accepted students who would not otherwise be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

The goal of this program is to introduce students to museum work and to offer in-depth experience working in a specific department of the RISD Museum. Interns will work on departmental projects with Museum staff as supervisors. Together, interns will learn about and discuss the public functions of museums and build professional skills for working in the arts. At the end of the program, each intern will publicly share their experience and work. Browse former interns’ perspectives on the collection here.

The deadline for submitting applications is January 31, 2020, 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 internships through their college or university. To do so, they will need to fulfill the number of hours in the Museum 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.

This program is open to currently enrolled college and university undergraduate and graduate students; students graduating in the 2019-20 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 14, 2020).

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

Conservation and Collections Care Internship: Costume & Textiles
The Costume and Textiles collection contains more than 30,000 objects and includes textiles, clothing, and fashion items ranging from 1500 BCE to the present. The intern will assist staff with collections care and conservation tasks including closely examining objects and compiling condition reports that document damage, repacking and rehousing fragile items in storage, and researching objects as needed.  An interest in behind-the-scenes museum work and the history of costume and textiles is preferred.

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.

Registration Internship
The Registration Intern will learn about the management of the Museum’s permanent collection by assisting with the inventory of museum storage areas, the digitization of Museum collection records,  the preparation of collection and exhibition information for publication to the RISD Museum website, and other registration tasks as time permits. The Intern will become familiar with the roles museum registrars play and will gain knowledge of basic museum collections management practices, collections care, documentation, and information systems. A successful candidate will possess attention to detail and computer fluency.

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: 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 nearly 700 objects in the collection and preparing research for presentations of works from the collection and special, temporary exhibitions in the galleries.
Curatorial Internship: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
The Prints, Drawings, and Photographs department oversees works on paper, ranging from Medieval manuscripts to contemporary photography. Tasks will include an emphasis on collection management and storage. Additionally, the intern will assist in the initial research phase in preparation for an exhibition on disability history based on the department’s collection. 

Curatorial Internship: Ancient Art
The Ancient Art collection includes ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian works in a wide range of media. Tasks will include assisting with ongoing research projects including an upcoming cross-departmental exhibition, confirming descriptions and measurements and photo-documentation of objects, and entering and updating object information into the museum database.