The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) is the center for specialized technical research and conservation for the Smithsonian museums and collections. MCI holds research collections and oversees regular movement of objects and samples from institutions utilizing MCI’s services. In 2019 MCI began the process of creating its Collections Management Policy. This led to the implementation of TMS for management of collections, storage space, and development of collections management procedures.

MCI is looking for a Summer Intern (May to September) to engage in a learning opportunity geared toward understanding and practicing collections management and registration methods. This internship will primarily be onsite at MCI, located at the SI Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD (Metro and SI shuttle accessible) with some telework options.

MCI is a unique collection that is non-traditional compared to other museums and cultural heritage sites; providing a unique look at collections management and registration challenges.

Projects will include assisting with:

  1. Updating of database entries with both digital and hard copy files
  2. Assisting with filing away project related documents
  3. Sorting, researching, and cataloging abandoned collections
  4. Cataloging MCI collections
  5. Collections rehousing
  6. Assisting with inventory management

Required Skills:

  1. General understanding of museum collections information systems (TMS preferred, but not required)
  2. General knowledge of museum collections management and registration methods
  3. Self-motivated and able to be proactive with communication on project updates and timelines.
  4. Detail oriented and patient

Learning Objectives:
Through this internship the Intern will receive direct mentorship from the Head of Conservation and Collections Manager. While the Intern may have an academic understanding of collections management and registration, they will learn how to develop feasible collection management protocols in an institution. A critical aspect of their learning will be understanding the realities of collections stewardship practice within an organization without a permanent collection. The internship will serve to further develop critical thinking skills in adapting collection management practice to a conservation and scientific research setting.

The Intern will learn to research, resolve, and implement collections management and registration issues. This will require the integration of this information in The Museum System (TMS); this will include, but is not limited to, creating TMS records, adding project detailed information, updating file names to MCI standards, and working with SI’s Digital Asset Management System(DAMS) to import information.

All work completed by the Intern will be quality checked by the Collections Manager, and feedback given to ensure they have a deep understanding of all aspects of collections management and registration. Further, the Intern will learn about networking and the breadth of communication and collaboration required for large projects in large institutions (including, but not limited to: Administration, Scientists and Researchers, Conservators, Information Specialist, Collections Managers (MCI and SI), Data Managers (CIS/TMS, DAMS, SIdora, etc.), National Collections Program, and Office of General Counsel. The Interns are expected to give a professional presentation or final report at the conclusion of their project on their contributions to MCI and what they learned.

Interested candidates should send to Jessica S. Johnson ( a resume and a one (1) page essay that addresses what they hope to accomplish through an internship, and how it would relate to their academic and career goals. Please write “Summer Internship” in subject line for attention.

Deadline for applications: April 14, 2024

Stipend: $9,000 (400 hours)

This is a 16-week part-time internship (20 – 24 hours per week). On average the intern is expected to spend two days a week onsite at MCI and one day working from home.