Access Smithsonian

Making all visitors feel welcome

Access Smithsonian supports the Smithsonian in providing consistent, effortless access to the Institution’s programs, collections, and facilities.

Visitor resources include:

Responsibilities of the Access Smithsonian include:

  • Advising on and implementing policy, practices, and procedures related to access for people with disabilities.
  • Reviewing facility and exhibition designs.
  • Providing technical assistance.
  • Conducting outreach to the disability community and other cultural arts organizations.
  • Providing staff education on disability topics.
  • Working with Smithsonian museums and offices to provide direct visitor services, including sign language interpretation, real time captioning, and alternate formats of publications.

Our Programs include:

A project of Access Smithsonian and the Smithsonian museums. Guided by a Community Advisory Committee comprised of museum educators, exhibit designers, professionals who work with children on the Autism Spectrum, parents, and self-advocates, the Smithsonian has developed a series of pre-visit materials designed to help children on the spectrum and their families enjoy a visit to the Smithsonian's museums.

Learn more about Morning at the Museum

A paid internship program for young adults with disabilities. The goal of Access to Opportunities is to assist people with disabilities in their transition from school to adulthood to the world of work by providing internships at the Smithsonian that are tailored to interns’ areas of interest, and that will open the doors of knowledge and opportunity for these young people.

The Smithsonian, in partnership with the HSC Foundation, introduces an internship program specifically designed for people with disabilities. The first of its kind at the Smithsonian, the program seeks to empower participants’ sense of independence and enhance their quality of life as they look towards their futures with optimism. Exposure to the real world of work, research, and academics within the supportive and engaging environment that is the Smithsonian will provide interns with the ability and confidence to transfer the skills they developed in the classroom to the world of work.

Eligibility Criteria

The program is open to:

  • The program is open to United States citizens (or permanent residents)
  • For college students, declared academic major, concentration, or discipline related to the internship (i.e. someone applying for a history internship, must be a history major, etc.)
  • Enrolled as a high school student or an undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited institution
  • Students in post High School programs
  • Applicants whose professional learning can be enhanced by an internship at the Smithsonian.

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Resume
  • Academic essay: 2 pages describing how academic goals, qualifications, and career aspirations relate to the internship at the Smithsonian
  • Academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. For high school students, high school transcripts are required.
  • 2 Letters of recommendation from professors, teachers, transition counselors, job coach or other service provider with relevant knowledge; if preferred, a reference can e-mail the letter directly to All letters are kept confidential. Applicants are not permitted to access to letters.

Mailing address for documents that are unable to be uploaded:

Smithsonian Institution
Accessibility Program
Attn:"Access to Opportunities" Internship Program
MRC 607
PO BOX 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012


Up to $4,000 per intern for 640 hours (pro-rated based upon hours) is awarded for college and graduate student as a stipend.

$1,500 will be awarded per high school student. This stipend is to defray living expenses during an appointment. Stipend payments are distributed through a direct deposit via the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships.

Application Deadline

Rolling deadline

Art Signs gallery talks are presented in American Sign Language by Deaf gallery guides at the Smithssonian American Art Museum. ASL interpreters voice information and observations allowing hearing and Deaf audiences to discover art together under the leadership of a Deaf guide. For more information, email updates, and links to videos, connect with SAAM. 

Project SEARCH Smithsonian was initiated in 2013 to create unpaid internship opportunities to help young adults who have developmental disabilities gain knowledge and skills that can lead to paid employment. This ten- month school-to-work transition program targets job seekers who benefit from total immersion in a business setting. The Project SEARCH model was founded in 1996 at the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and has been replicated more than 250 times through the U.S. and internationally. Project SEARCH interns participate in daily classroom instruction and gain hands-on work experiences by rotating among three 10-week unique unpaid internships. Project SEARCH interns can be found working throughout the Smithsonian Institution performing tasks that are valuable to their coworkers and Smithsonian visitors.

For additional information on access services, please contact the Access Smithsonian at 202.633.2921 (voice) or email Access Smithsonian.