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Schools & Educators​​

Internships at SAM

SAM’s internship program provides students and early career professionals with a wide range of opportunities to explore museum work. Interns work directly with SAM staff on collaborative projects that are relevant to their career goals, and that visibly impact the museum’s programs, exhibitions, community partnerships, and more. Our program includes staff mentorship, career development workshops, informational interviews, and other opportunities for interns to develop their own perspectives, gain a better understanding of how to navigate a career in museums, and build lasting relationships with working professionals of diverse backgrounds.

Internship Programs

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.

intern in a orange jacket and magnifying glasses on working conserving art

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.

one person standing and one person sitting around a table doing an art activity

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.

Other Opportunities

Interested in partnering with SAM to create a new internship opportunity? Get in touch with us at

Hiring Process

Intern standing infront of African art talking to a group

Hosting a socially responsible environment through financial support, hands-on practical experience, and accommodations for interns from a wide variety of backgrounds requires SAM to focus on a limited number of available roles annually. Opportunities at SAM vary from quarter to quarter and placement is very competitive. We are, unfortunately, unable to place all applicants.

Current Openings


New internship opportunities are posted to SAM Careers every three to four months with the application window lasting four to six weeks.

SAM does not use an automated system to screen internship applications. All submission materials are directly reviewed by HR before being forwarded to the hiring committee.


We use a two stage process for hiring interns:

  1. Application Review
    A hiring committee of SAM staff reviews all eligible candidates and selects finalists to move to the next stage of the hiring process. This review may take up to three weeks to complete following the application deadline.

  2. Panel Interviews
    If selected, finalist candidates will be notified via email to schedule an interview with the entire hiring committee. Interviews are held over Zoom and take about 45 minutes. The email will include several time slots for scheduling, as well as a full preview of the interview questions.

Offer & Onboarding

It may take up to four weeks to complete the interview process and reach a final decision. Finalists will be contacted via email or by phone with an internship offer and information on next steps.

Candidates not selected will be notified via email when a final candidate has confirmed their offer. Inquiries and requests for additional accommodations may be addressed to


Several supplementary documents are required as part of every internship application. Check below for an explanation of each document you’ll need to submit before your application can be processed.

We request that all materials be submitted in PDF format, including resumes.


Resumes are a key summary of your professional, academic, and other relevant experience.Be sure to include any personal accomplishments outside of work and school—including past internships, passion projects, and community service—that demonstrate your unique skill set and perspective.

Personal Statement

Similar to a cover letter, a personal statement is a short explanation of why you are interested in an internship at SAM. This is your opportunity to further highlight your past experiences, your interest in museum work, what you hope to gain from a SAM internship, and your vision for what the next steps in your career might be.

Please be aware that every internship will have a slightly different prompt for the personal statement, so make sure to carefully read the instructions provided.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required as part of every internship application. These can be from past supervisors, teachers, mentors, colleagues, or anyone else who can speak specifically to your interests, career goals, and/or quality of work. Please have your letters submitted via email to with your name in the subject line.

Internship FAQ

No. While previous experience as a museum volunteer or intern is helpful, we recognize that these kinds of opportunities often come with significant barriers. Instead of a minimum education or experience requirement, we intentionally keep an open mind toward alternative qualifications when making hiring decisions.

We offer internships to museum professionals at any stage of their career journey, including recent graduates and early career professionals. Some programs do have specific eligibility requirements, and those are always included in the job description.

Students seeking academic credit are required to coordinate all details with their educational program or institution prior to starting their work at SAM.

It may take several weeks for someone to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. We strongly recommend that you request letters as early as possible, as we cannot guarantee a review of your application if it is incomplete. Please have all letters of recommendation sent to with your name in the subject line.

Yes. As SAM looks to the future of the museum field, we recognize the structural and institutional barriers that unpaid internships pose to the next generation of arts professionals. Therefore, interns at SAM are hired as temporary/on-call employees and are eligible for certain staff benefits.

In certain cases, interns are compensated via external funding or work only for school credit. These interns are onboarded as volunteers, but otherwise have access to the same mentorship and learning opportunities as paid interns.

Onsite work is a core part of the SAM internship experience and we are therefore unable to offer fully remote internships at this time. Limited hours for remote work may be available, but we expect at least 80% of your time to be spent on site.

We are able to provide a subsidized ORCA card to interns that do not already have access to one. For more information on how we can help you get to SAM, email us at

Yes. Unless otherwise stated in the job description, our internships are open to all candidates with a valid U.S. work authorization, including students with an F-1 visa.

International students seeking Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) will need to coordinate with their academic institution and confirm work authorization prior to their internship. Please note that SAM does not sponsor work or student visas at this time.

Please be aware that the cost of living is much higher in Seattle than in other areas of the US and abroad. We are currently unable to provide travel, relocation, or housing assistance to interns.

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Internship Highlights

Find more internship stories like this on SAM Blog.

SAM Blog

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