Internship Opportunity

Smithsonian seeks paid intern for Audiovisual program…Deadline soon!

Audiovisual Archives Internship

Application Deadline Extended to March 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM

The Archives Center Film Processing and Digitization Project seeks to arrange, describe, and preserve the Center’s deteriorating film holdings in the face of environmental instability and format degradation. The Archives Center holds 4958 motion picture films in its collections, the majority of which are unprocessed, undigitized, and inaccessible to researchers. In 2016, Smithsonian Institution Archives partnered with the Smithsonian audiovisual archives interest group to produce an extensive survey of audiovisual collections across the Smithsonian. The resulting Pan-Institutional Survey of Audiovisual Collections helped the Archives Center identify how many films are in its holdings, alongside relevant data about film format, estimated footage, and number of reels per motion picture. The survey lacks, however, crucial information central to identifying and tracking the films, such as updated shelf location, Archives Center collection name/number, and item-level description. Building on the foundation set forth by the Pan-Institutional Survey of Audiovisual Collections, the Archives Center seeks an intern to survey the films in our holdings and identify the following: collection the film belongs to, whether the collection has been processed, physical condition of the film, and any preliminary data garnered from the container/housing. This is an essential first step in our process to extend intellectual control over the film assets in our holdings. In the future, the Archives Center will arrange and describe all unprocessed films and outsource the digitization of high-priority films to an external vendor.

Goal: Overall, this internship is a professional learning experience that aims to provide hands-on experience identifying, handling, and inventorying motion picture film; insight into real-world challenges impacting the stewardship and preservation of audiovisual archival collections; and experience working in a professional archival setting.

Anticipated Learning Objectives: By the end of this internship, the intern will:

  • Develop a better understanding of the challenges inherent to collecting, maintaining, and preserving motion picture film.
  • Identify and assess physical condition for 4958 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm film reels.
  • Handle motion picture film according to professional best practices.
  • Complete a survey of film in the Archives Center’s storage rooms to aid in future arrangement, description, and digitization of film assets.

Expected Responsibilities: During the internship, the intern should expect to:

  • Conduct a survey of motion picture film in the Archives Center’s storage rooms, recording shelf location, container details, physical condition, and other contextual information for each reel.
  • Handle motion picture film throughout its life cycle.

Ideal Qualifications / Prerequisites: The ideal intern applicant is/has:  

  • Must be currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a graduate program in Film Studies; Moving Image Archiving and Preservation; or Archives and Records Management with a focus on audiovisual preservation.
  • Knowledge of film formats, handling practices, and preservation issues encouraged, but not required.
  • Demonstrated experience using ArchivesSpace to create, edit, or review archival finding aids.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently

Audience: This internship is specialized, for individuals who have experience in this field. This internship is intended for 1 intern. Current and recent graduate students from a graduate program in Film Studies; Moving Image Archiving and Preservation; or Archives and Records Management with a focus on audiovisual preservation are encouraged to apply.

Timeline: This internship will take place during Summer 2020. This internship is expected to be full time.

Eligible for Academic Credit: Yes! Interns may receive program or course credit for this experience if approved by their educational institution. Though NMAH does not itself award credit, the Interns and Fellows Office will help coordinate the requirements for credit with the educational institution.

Optional Enrichment Opportunities: Interns are invited to participate in optional opportunities during the internship that support professional growth and foster understanding about the museum field.

Financial Information: This opportunity has a guaranteed stipend of $7,000. Additionally, selected interns will have the opportunity to apply for a stipend based on financial need; the amount of internship stipends depends on the amount of museum funds available and is at the discretion of NMAH. Internship stipends issued by the Smithsonian are not considered salary or meant as compensation, but are awarded to help defray living expenses for an intern during the term of their appointment. If an intern is awarded a stipend, stipends cannot be distributed before the start of an internship, and we typically recommend that an intern has at least enough external funding to cover the first month’s expenses to accommodate the wait time required in stipend processing. To learn more, please check out our Internship FAQ page.

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