How Can I Get Involved with the American Folklife Center?

***Onsite internships and volunteer opportunities are indefinitely postponed during the Library closure to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. The following guidelines below will be reinstated after Library reopening. Thank you for your understanding during this time.***

The American Folklife Center provides opportunities for unpaid volunteer internships, paid internships, fellowships, and awards. 

Volunteer Internships

Running from August through May, the American Folklife Center has a limited number of unpaid 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, students may arrange to obtain academic credit.

Interns have the opportunity to participate in various activities at 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 conducting research for special projects and assisting with public events.

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

Requirements for Volunteer Internships

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 to be a Volunteer

Please send a resume and cover letter via email to Ann Hoog, Folklife Specialist ( 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 or call (202) 707-4428.  

Paid Internships

The American Folklife Center Internship Program Fund, made possible by support from former staff member Peter Bartis, supports two interns per year to work with AFC staff on individualized projects related to the collections and work of the AFC. The program run 10 weeks and offers professional development experiences, including critical skills in archival practice and cultural heritage research. Paid internships stipends depend on length of internship and year funds. Individuals may apply through an open application process.  

If you would like to make a donation to the AFC Internship Program Fund, please donate online. Make sure to include the name of the fund in the special instructions: Fund #651265 – American Folklife Center Internship.  

Fellowships and Awards

The American Folklife Center's competitive awards provide support for scholars working with ethnographic collection materials at the Library of Congress and for fieldworkers on folklife and related topics. Descriptions of these programs and awards follow. For program descriptions and application guidelines please visit our Research Awards and Fellowships page here or the individual links below.

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2020
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American Folklife Center
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC  20540-4610