Internship and work placement programmes

The Curatorial and Collections Department offers a variety of internships, placements and voluntary work.

Current internship positions are listed under vacancies.

Work Experience and Student Placements

The National Portrait Gallery works in partnership with local schools (via the Westminster Schools Co-ordination Team), during their Year 10 work experience placements and colleges and universities to place students as part of their courses.

As a small organisation we only have placements for around 10 students per year and do not take speculative applications.

If we have other volunteer or internship opportunities these are advertised on our website.

Voluntary Curatorial Internships for Post Graduate Students 

The National Portrait Gallery appoints Interns in its Curatorial department to provide collections related assistance. These posts involve working directly with specific curators and require a demonstrable interest in the chosen period or area of research.

Internships provide valuable experience in a national collection and some training using the Heinz Archive and Library will be provided. Additionally there will be the opportunity to attend a Gallery induction day to learn more about the range of the Gallery's work and it is hoped to arrange a further curatorial training session. The posts are normally for a six-month period working one-day per week. The role is unpaid, but travel expenses within London are available. Posts are advertised on the Gallery website twice a year, usually in May and October, and applicants will be invited to attend an interview. 

The Heinz Archive and Library 

The Archive and Library participates in the curatorial internship programme, described above, by providing opportunities to work with the Archive collection of prints and drawings. Internships of up to six months duration are also offered from time to time for mid-course and graduate students of museum studies.

The Archive and Library also offers shorter term placements of between four and eight weeks which aim to give students and graduates some insight into the work of the department and the work experience they may need to enter or progress in the museum, gallery, library or archive professions.

The Archive and Library also depends on the support of volunteers to assist with indexing, dry-mounting and filing.

Internships and placements are awarded at the discretion of the Head of Archive and Library. Advertisements appear on the Gallery website at intervals in response to specific needs and programmes but applications are also welcomed at other times. Volunteers are routinely recruited via NADFAS. Applicants may be invited to attend an informal interview as part of the selection process.

Exhibitions, Design, Collections Management and National Programmes 

The Exhibitions, Design, and Collections Management teams engage volunteers in developing specific projects. Applications from individuals with a commitment to working in museums and galleries and a professional degree (design, museum studies, for example) are considered on a rolling basis. Internships in National Programmes, working with our Regional Partners, are advertised on the Gallery website twice a year, usually May and October, alongside Curatorial Internships.

Frame Conservation Studio Placements 

Frame Conservation studio placements are aimed at mid-course and graduate conservators. These unpaid placements are available for between two weeks and four months. Placements are designed to give prospective conservators practical work experience. Applications should be submitted at least two months in advance of the start date. Applicants will be asked to attend an interview. Applications are welcomed throughout the year.