Part-Time Summer Internship Program

Deadline extended! Applications due Friday, February 4, 2022, at 11:59 pm.

The RISD Museum’s 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 2021-22 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 mid-August 2022).

The ten-week internships begin in early June and end mid-August 2022. We anticipate and will plan for in-person internships. We may pivot to virtual experiences if necessary. 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 Friday, February 4, 2022, 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 Mellon Summer Internship Program at the RISD Museum is made possible by an endowment from the 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 care of museum collections, ethics, and the history of costume and textiles is preferred.

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 preparing research for the presentation of works from the collection, for future acquisitions to the collection, and for temporary exhibitions.

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 department seeks an intern who will work primarily on researching the jewelry collection, which includes American and European jewelry. Knowledge of jewelry history as well as construction, materials, and techniques is highly desirable.

Curatorial Internship: Native American Art
The Native American Art collection includes works in a range of media from Indigenous Peoples of North America. Internship tasks will include assisting with collection inventory as well as object research.

​​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, including storage reorganization and cataloging.

Education Internship: Public and Academic Programs
The Public and Academic Programs intern will develop and lead hands-on, interactive drawing experiences for adult audiences in museum galleries in conjunction with the exhibition Drawing Closer: Four Hundred Years of Drawing from the RISD Museum. Based on their research into the ideas and objects represented in the exhibition, the intern will propose and implement a variety of traditional and experimental approaches to public programs that invite artists and participants without art-making experience to engage in mark-making. The intern may also collaborate with educators on documentation, digital resources for academic audiences, and other educational programming related to the exhibition. Strong candidates will have an interest in museum educational programming, particularly for adult audiences, and will possess excellent verbal communication skills and a dedicated drawing practice.