This opportunity provides an intern with experience managing and caring for the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection (SGOC), including exhibition, public programming, social media management, daily collection care, collections management, and interior plant maintenance.

The project’s primary focus will involve grooming and staking collection items for weekly exhibition delivery/installation, plant health monitoring, pulling/generating display labels, public programming, and assisting with creating social media content for a broad audience. The secondary focus will involve watering/fertilizing, repotting, and assisting with integrated pest management scouting and beneficial insect releases. Some public programs may occur on the weekend, which may cause some weekly schedule adjustment.

This internship offers hands-on experience working with living plant collections within a public garden and museum setting. Intern will work under the supervision of the Lead Orchid Collection Horticulturist and the Manager of Greenhouse Nursery Operations. Interns are encouraged to take advantage of the abundant resources of the Smithsonian Institution.

Application Deadline: October 15, 2023.  Internship will begin in January/February 2024.


  • Help with the grooming and staking of collection items.
  • Delivery and installation of plant material
  • Plant health monitoring
  • Pull and generate display labels for plants.
  • Watering, fertilizing, repotting, and assisting with integrated pest management.


  • Maintenance and interest in learning industry best practices and standards for managing living plant collections within a museum environment.
  • Strengthening plant nomenclature skills.
  • Interest in learning the insights of exhibition planning and delivery.


Applicants must be enrolled in a university horticulture or related program or recently graduated from one. Selection is based on both an evaluation of the applicant’s application and available positions.

  • Submit an online application.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • College Transcripts
  • Essay describing background, interest in field, career goals, and chosen project.


Completed application, essay, academic records, and two letters of recommendation should be submitted online through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System.