SAM offers internships across several departments, each with its own eligibility requirements and timelines. In general, new opportunities are posted every three to four months.
Emerging Arts Leader
Emerging Arts Leader (EAL) internships aim to open career pathways for individuals who bring dynamic backgrounds and perspectives to their work in art, museums, or community engagement.
This interdisciplinary internship provides young professionals from diverse backgrounds with an in-depth understanding of SAM’s operations, programming, and audiences. While diversity can embody many characteristics, this internship program is intended to engage with historically under-represented groups in the museum field including, but not limited to, individuals of African American, Asian, Latin/Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander descent.
Previous museum experience is not required to apply. Interested candidates should be current students, recent graduates, and/or early career professionals.
We offer three models for EAL internships, each lasting 10–12 weeks:
EAL Exploratory: Focusing on projects across multiple departments, this model exposes interns to the structure and management of interdepartmental work at SAM. It is designed for interns who learn best through an interdisciplinary approach, or who are interested in exploring multiple career paths.
EAL Departmental: Focusing on projects in one department, this model provides interns with an in-depth understanding of the work being completed by a particular team at SAM. It is designed for interns who are already aware of the area of museum work they would like to pursue as a career.
Emerging Museum Professional (EMP): Focusing on one or more long-term projects, this model provides specialized training in a specific area of museum work. EMP internships are generally six months in duration and are designed for individuals interested in pursuing leadership opportunities in museums or who are enrolled in a graduate-level program in Art Curation, Conservation, or a similar field of study.
In addition to their project work, all EAL interns have the opportunity to connect with other members of SAM staff, participate in career development workshops, and join our alumni network to further connect with past SAM interns.
SAM Staff Internships
As part of our EAL program, a minimum of two internships per year are reserved for staff working in frontline roles. This internship is intended to provide existing staff with multidisciplinary on-the-job training while helping them to build new skills, develop professional relationships, and become a more competitive applicant for the next step in their careers.
These internships are generally 15 weeks long and occur from October to March and April to September.
Staff interns work with SAM’s Intern Coordinator to balance their responsibilities as an intern with their current schedule at SAM, and are kept at their regular pay rate, employment status, and benefits.
Candidates must be current employees with non-exempt, hourly status. At least one year of experience at SAM (as either a paid employee, intern, or volunteer) is required to apply.
SAM Departmental Internships
Departmental internship opportunities vary each quarter depending on current projects and available staff capacity. These interns work alongside their staff mentors to set learning objectives, complete hands-on projects, and advance the strategic goals of their specific department.
These internships often require specific skill sets and may vary in duration, project scope, and education requirements. Host departments include Communications and Marketing, Conservation, Curatorial, Development, Education and Public Programs, Facilities and Operations, and Museum Services.
Frances Blakemore & Griffith Way Internships Program
SAM is committed to offering meaningful career development opportunities to graduate and advanced undergraduate students at the University of Washington.
The Blakemore Foundation supports our goal of furthering scholarship in Asian art and culture by generously sponsoring the Frances Blakemore & Griffith Way Internship Program. These internships enable students currently enrolled at the University of Washington to gain professional research experience in East Asian art history, work directly with SAM’s Asian art collection, and participate in major exhibition and publication projects.
Betty Bowen Award Internship
Under the direction of SAM’s the Associate Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Betty Bowen Award Intern supports the planning, organization, and implementation of the annual Betty Bowen Award, which recognizes outstanding visual artists currently living and working in the Pacific Northwest.
The responsibilities of this internship include assisting with all aspects of award administration, coordinating and attending committee meetings, promoting the call for entries, organizing artist applications, corresponding with artists about the award, and writing press releases and mailings.
Interested in partnering with SAM to create a new internship opportunity? Get in touch with us at