STEP into the Smithsonian

  • Ketishia Vaughan
  • Iranga Tcheko
  • Rachael Baskeyfield
  • Rory Newton Dunn
  • Abondance Matanda

An immersive training experience in museums and research based in Washington DC - at the largest museum in the world

London Legacy Development Corporation, the London Boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, along with the Foundation for Future London and Create Jobs teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution to fund an exciting international experience for local residents aged 18-30 years old.

Including a programme of talks, visits and workshops, and a live content brief, the experience was aimed at individuals who want to build their skills and connections to kick-start a career in museums.

Participants took part in a week-long London bootcamp (Tuesday 23 April - Thursday 24 April 2019) before flying out to Washington DC (Monday 13th May to Thursday 30th May 2019), where they embarked on an immersive three-week experience at the world's largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution.

Four ambitious young creatives were selected from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest - read more about them on the STEP blog:

Abondance Matanda
Mohammed Rahman
Chess Charles
Whilst in the USA, our trainees visited many of the Smithsonian’s museums and research centres, exploring a diversity of topics including; photography and print, graphic design, African American history, popular culture, natural history, global art forms and much more.

Participants had access to:
  • Daily seminars led by professors and researchers, exploring various areas of the museum.
  • Live project briefs set by Smithsonian museum staff
  • Access to curators, conservators, archivists and administration professionals who will share stories about working in the world’s largest museum
  • 1-2-1 careers advice and guidance from industry professionals
  • A network of students from across the US, (aged 18-25) who will also take part in the programme, providing an opportunity to network with peers and exchange knowledge, learnings and ideas
  • Time and support to develop their response to a live content brief with Create Jobs
In partnership with the V&A, the Smithsonian Institution will join world-class cultural and educational institutions at East Bank on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023. East Bank, a brand new destination for London with world-class culture and education at its heart will also be home to new sites for Sadler’s Wells, BBC Music, UAL’s London College of Fashion and University College London. East Bank will create more than 2,500 jobs and generate an estimated £1.5 billion for the local economy.

With the V&A, the Smithsonian will co-curate exhibitions on global issues, which will draw from each museum’s collections. The Smithsonian will also use the museum for temporary exhibitions, and work with all of the partners on public programs and novel research.
Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoo, and nine research facilities, ranging from astrophysics to endangered species. This unique experience will support the Smithsonian in their mission to develop the next generation of talent for the sector.

Project Tags


  • F

    Foundation for FutureLondon

    • N

      Newham Council

      • H

        Hackney Council

        • Q

          Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

          • W

            Waltham Forest Council

            • S

              Smithsonian Institution

              • T

                Tower Hamlets Council

                • L