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Volunteer Internship Program

The American Folklife Center has suspended the volunteer internship program while staff determine the most effective way to provide hands-on experience working alongside the Center's staff in a hybrid work environment. AFC will continue to offer summer paid internship opportunities, which you can learn about here

About the Program

The American Folklife Center has available from August - May, a limited number of volunteer internships through which individuals may work with the collections in the Center's archive and the Veterans History Project. Although these internships carry no stipend, many persons have found them useful in planning a career or in obtaining the experience necessary to enter an academic, or other, profession. Interns who are students may arrange with their institutions to obtain academic credit.

The goals of the Center's Volunteer Internship Program are:

  • to provide educational experience or career training in the fields of folklife, ethnomusicology, anthropology, American studies, archival studies, library science, and related areas

  • to provide in-depth exposure to the field of folklife, the collections of the Archive of Folk Culture, and the processes of collection, preservation, and presentation

  • to organize and structure activities that produce concrete results to benefit both the intern and the Center

  • to build networks with future generations of professionals concerned with folklife, ethnomusicology, and archives

Interns have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities of the American Folklife Center: reference, processing, digital preservation, and events. Some examples include compiling finding aids for specific subject areas in the archive's collections, organizing and labeling collections for preservation and storage, and maintaining a wide variety of subject and collection files. Other projects may include research for special projects and assisting with public events.

See also: American Folklife Center Internship Program Fund (paid summer internship)


Interested applicants should have:

  • the ability to commit to the 200-hour minimum
  • an interest in the subjects of folklife, ethnomusicology, American studies, or related disciplines
  • an interest in working in an archive
  • some prior experience in an archive or library

Full-time and part-time arrangements are possible, although a minimum of two full days a week is preferred. Internships are only available during weekdays, no evenings or weekends.

Volunteer internships are limited to US citizens; a green card will not suffice. One exception: it is possible for foreign students who complete a university degree in a US institution to volunteer for part or all of the year immediately following the completion of the US degree. Additionally, it is possible for a professional librarian in a foreign country to work (in an unpaid position) at the Library of Congress not as an intern but on a professional exchange.

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter via email to Ann Hoog, Folklife Specialist ([email protected]). Security measures at the Library may delay communications by standard mail or courier service. There is no deadline for applications, but it is recommended that you apply at least two months in advance of when you wish to begin your internship.

Please include in your application a phone number where you can be reached and an indication of when you would like to schedule your internship.

For further questions about the internship program please contact Ann Hoog at the email listed above or call (202) 707-4428.


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   December 21, 2022
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