Paid Internship Opportunity – SAM Emerging Museum Professional Conservation Intern

Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships

We recognize that successfully serving our visitors and providing the caliber of museum experience they have come to expect from us requires the teamwork of professionals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Historical barriers to underrepresented groups is a concern for museums across the United States, resulting in a field that is neither equitable nor culturally representative of our society. We are committed to cultivating a diverse workplace that continually promotes opportunities for all. Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships aim to increase diversity in the museum field by providing financial support and hands-on experience to young professionals from a variety of backgrounds preparing for museum careers. Candidates who are members of groups that are historically underrepresented in the museum profession are welcome to apply to the Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships. These internships are made possible through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internship opportunities include:

Conservation Internship: paid hourly, 35 hours per week for 18 months, full benefits (health insurance, transportation subsidy and SAM membership).
Internships are expected to begin on or about July 1, 2021. The expectation at this time is for the internships to be in-person and on-site to the extent possible, subject to pandemic restrictions.

Overview: The conservation intern is a member of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) conservation team. This internship, funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, focuses on the reinstallation of SAM’s American galleries.

A core objective of the internship is to further racial equity and diversity objectives within SAM and in the broader professional field by providing a paid internship for candidates from historically underserved communities. The opportunity for educational advancement is an important part of the position. The internship will provide the candidate with a wide range of museum and conservation experiences that may help to prepare the intern to apply for entry to a graduate conservation program, but it offers no guarantee of acceptance onto such a program.

Focusing primarily, but not solely, on the American gallery reinstall, the intern works on a broad range of conservation and preservation activities within the museum. These may include the preventive conservation of collections, monitoring and maintenance of display and storage environments, and examination, documentation and conservation treatment of works of art. One of the unique opportunities of the internship is that the intern will gain experience working on collection objects under the supervision of a staff conservator and in close consultation with other museum stakeholders.

Such conservation treatment projects may include work on paintings, sculptures or other collection objects. If circumstances permit, the intern may conduct research into works of art from SAM’s collections, and they may share findings with SAM and other audiences.


  1. Assess and document the condition of works of art; photograph objects and enter written and photographic (digital) documentation into TMS database, with particular focus on the art on the American gallery reinstall exhibit checklist. Survey work will be overseen by conservation and collections staff.
  2. Perform and document treatments of works of art under direct supervision from conservation staff and in consultation with project curators. Conservation work will primarily be focused on the American gallery reinstall checklist, but conservation of other works may be possible, depending on circumstances. Depending on current departmental priorities, treatment may include stabilization or other treatment of larger groups of objects, assistance with group treatments (e.g. at the Olympic Sculpture Park (OSP)) or more in-depth, comprehensive treatments of fewer works of art. The range and nature of practical treatment will vary, depending on the current schedule.
  3. Research materials, techniques and the history/provenance of particular works of art when appropriate. Consult with project curators and other stakeholders throughout process.
  4. Assist with framing adjustments and preparation of archival display materials with conservator, curator and archival technician.
  5. Test, document and plan exhibition display materials.
  6. Assist with general studio activities such as cleaning individual work area and shared work areas after use.  Identify necessary supplies and work with coordinator to procure them.
  7. Share findings and outcomes of work with colleagues at SAM and, if possible, with general and professional audiences through public presentations or other means.
  8. Attend and take part in department meetings and other activities.
  9. Assist with and take part in workshops, classes and educational programs as possible.
  10. Expected time commitment: 35 hours per week; schedule is flexible within Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm office hours.

For more information on this position and to apply, click here!