Posts tagged ‘internships’

A DAMS Good Internship at Smithsonian Gardens

scanning in the reference room

Jessica scanning in the Archives of American Gardens reference room at the Smithsonian Gardens offices.

Did you know Smithsonian Gardens does a lot more than just plant and maintain all the beautiful gardens around the Smithsonian properties? I know I didn’t!  That is until I became an Archives of American Gardens intern at Smithsonian Gardens. My name is Jessica Brode, and I am a graduate student at George Washington University beginning my final year in the Masters in Museum Studies program.

Before coming to Smithsonian Gardens, I interned with various institutions across the country and abroad. After moving to D.C. I began to specialize in collections management work within museums, mainly assisting in digitization efforts with museums like the Smithsonian’s American History and Natural History Museums. I applied to Smithsonian Gardens after a chance encounter demonstrated that there were opportunities to use my skills there.

Coming in as an Archives of American Gardens intern, I was able to really put my skills to use for Smithsonian Gardens while learning new skills along the way. The Archives of American Gardens (AAG) currently documents over 8,500 gardens throughout the United States, with images ranging from the 1870s to the present.  AAG maintains records on historic and contemporary gardens and gardening trends and contains over 150,000 images.

Hershey Rode Gardens, Archives of American Gardens

The Hershey Rose Gardens is just one of the garden history topics Jessica explored during her internship. (Hershey Rose Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania, c. 1936. Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection.)

I learned the Horizon cataloging system utilized by the AAG and cataloged often throughout my internship.  I was given the opportunity to research and write several exciting blog posts about gardening topics I would have never even thought of, including the Hershey Rose Garden, World Fairs’ gardens, and floral clocks.

The best part of my internship was the ability to take a project further than I ever thought I could.  Smithsonian Gardens uses a system called a Digital Asset Management System (or DAMS) in order to track digital images of its gardens and events.  I was given the opportunity to rename and reorganize the Smithsonian Gardens folder structure so that images could be filed by garden and year, making it more intuitive for a user to search numerous images.  The new re-organization of images will enable staff to easily create slideshows of the best garden images for each of its gardens to make them readily available to the public through the Collections Search Center and SIRIS.  It was really exciting to see how my skills could be used to help share garden history with the public!

I am really excited that I had the opportunity to spend the summer with Smithsonian Gardens, and even more excited to see what else is ahead.  My internship has been extended so that I can continue my work at the Archives of American Gardens this coming fall and spring, and I am really looking forward to continuing some of the work I began, and starting new projects as well.

-Jessica Brode, Archives of American Gardens intern

November 4, 2014 at 6:30 am 1 comment

Function & Beauty: My Landscape Architecture Internship at Smithsonian Gardens

Sarah G., 2013 Intern

Sarah on site at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Hello! My name is Sarah Gorney, and I was the Landscape Architecture Intern for the Smithsonian Gardens this summer. I am studying Landscape Architecture at Texas Tech University and will be a senior this fall. Despite attending school in Texas, I am actually from the DC Metro area, so it was great to be home for the summer!  And even better was being able to work for the Smithsonian Gardens.

Before I get into some of the many projects I worked on, I’d like to share a small bit about Landscape Architecture. Many people I have run into have been confused as to what Landscape Architecture really is or what we do. Landscape Architecture is defined by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) as,

“…the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environments. Types of projects include: Residential, parks and recreation, monuments, urban design, streetscapes and public spaces, transportation corridors and facilities, gardens and arboreta, security design, hospitality and resorts, institutional, academic campuses, therapeutic gardens, historic preservation and restoration, reclamation, conservation, corporate and commercial, landscape art and earth sculpture, interior landscapes, and more. Landscape architects have advanced education and professional training and are licensed in 50 states” (

Arts and Industries Building under renovation.

On a tour of the inside of the Arts and Industries Building during renovations.

I am thrilled to be studying in a profession that is this diverse, and I was able to see all this in action at the Smithsonian Gardens.

This summer has truly been an amazing experience. Landscape Architecture is a synthesis between the built and natural environment, and the Smithsonian Gardens embody this concept to the fullest.  Studying under this organization has allowed me to glean insight into an extremely successful set of on- going designs and what they entail; things such as what factors and issues impact design, the upkeep and daily maintenance of the grounds, cultural requirements, how the gardens relate to specific architecture or time periods, horticultural practices, sustainability, and storm water management.

Rendered Calder Plan

My design concept for the Calder area outside the National Museum of American History.

My work this summer included projects for every museum at the Smithsonian, including the new National Museum of African American History and Culture slated to open in 2015. I worked on planting plans for multiple museums, coordinated with and prepared documents for professionals from multiple disciplines, completed square footage studies, updated AutoCAD plans for the new bike racks around the Mall, helped coordinate and create cost estimates, develop design concepts for the work and storage area at the Ripley Garden, put together plans for a grant proposal for a bird garden outside the National Museum of Natural History, and much more. I also developed design concepts for the re-design of the Alexander Calder sculpture area (the area outside of the National Museum of American History that used to house the Gwenfritz sculpture). The sculpture was relocated in 1983, but is now being re-installed in its original location on the west side of the museum. In addition, I have gone to more meetings than I can count with professionals all over the Smithsonian and was able to work one-on–one with my boss to really get a feel for what he does.

Getting to experience the issues, specifications, requirements, construction, and coordination that these projects entail has given me extremely valuable insight into the process of how a design is actually constructed. This knowledge will be integral as I grow as a Landscape Architect to design projects that are just as feasible to construct and functional as they are beautiful.

-Sarah Gorney, Summer 2013 Landscape Architecture Intern 

September 12, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Smithsonian Gardens Winter Education Internship

Smithsonian Gardens Education InternshipApplications for 2013 Smithsonian Gardens winter internships should be received no later than November 1, 2012.

Smithsonian Gardens designs, manages, and maintains the gardens and grounds of the many Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., which attract over thirty million visitors each year. The Collections Management and Education branch is responsible for developing educational programs and materials as well as managing the Archives of American Gardens and a collection of garden furnishings and horticultural artifacts.

The Smithsonian Gardens’ Education and Outreach Winter Internship

This internship focuses on developing educational content for use in a pilot program dedicated to fostering a healthy environment in local schools through gardening. Working closely with a DC public school, the educators and intern will guide students in exploring and studying green spaces in their own community.

The intern will attend all school meetings, contribute to curriculum design, update the project website, write blog posts, and provide general program support. The intern will also contribute weekly to various social media platforms. There may be an opportunity to develop interpretive labels and content for a final exhibit or write curriculum materials, depending on the interests and experience of the intern.

This project will serve as a research for a future smart phone app where youths across the nation can participate by sharing their community’s garden stories with Smithsonian Gardens. The intern will participate in the smart phone app planning and development meetings.


Applicants must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and have completed coursework or be currently enrolled in courses in museum studies or museum education, history, horticulture education or another related field. Applicants must have excellent organizational, analytical, and interpersonal skills, and strong writing skills. Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite required; experience with digital photography, social media, curriculum writing, and conversational Spanish a plus.

Internship Details 

Start date: January (flexible)
2 to 3 days a week for 10 to 16 weeks –also flexible.
Stipend of approximately $100-200 a week.
Course credit for this internship can arranged through your school.
Opportunities to complete special projects that may relate to the intern’s special area of interest.

How to apply 

To apply, applicants must register and submit an application online at Smithsonian On-line Academic Application System (SOLAA) at

On SOLAA, you can locate Smithsonian Gardens’ internship application under the

Next, under “Program that you wish to apply for:” select “Smithsonian Gardens Internship
Program.” Choose the “Winter 2013” cycle.

Applications for 2013 Smithsonian Gardens winter internships should be received no later than November 1, 2012. 

For additional information, contact us at

October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Blooming online!

Welcome to our new blog!

This is an exciting place where you will get to see and read about what’s happening in and around the spectacular gardens here in Washington, DC. Routine posts will be made by our very own horticulturists, and garden enthusiasts including upcoming events, photos of the gardens through the seasons and back stories you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. It is a creation done by Chloe Prince, an Informatics student from the University of Michigan, who volunteered to intern with us for one week on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.

ASB Intern

“Working with Smithsonian Gardens has been an amazing experience! This is my first time visiting D.C. and the gardens and the people behind them are more extraordinary than I could have ever imagined! Located throughout the city, they add serene beauty year round and really make exploring the monuments and museums a magnificent experience! Walking through the Orchid Mystique: Nature’s Triumph exhibition was truly a dream! It was incredible to see and smell the stunning collection of thousands of orchid varieties from around the world! I have had a wonderful first experience to the city and Smithsonian Gardens. I can’t wait to come back and visit again!”
Also be sure to check out our start on, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr!

 Chloe Prince, Intern

March 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm 1 comment

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