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Teen Pepper Program

Washington, DC.OVS: Office of Visitor Services

Teen Pepper Program


The Smithsonian is the first-ever museum complex to host Pepper, a humanoid robot, who is capable of recognizing human emotions and adapting to behaviors in response to one-on-one interactions. Pepper can answer frequently asked questions, tell stories, dance, play games, and pose for selfies.

The objective of this program is to create an in depth repertoire of Pepper interactions for the Smithsonian Visitor Center (Castle) Pepper. Teens will select topics and research interesting stories or objects in the Smithsonian's collections. Using what they found, they will compose dialog that will be showcased in Pepper throughout the year in the Castle. Teens will also get the opportunity to assist in the launch of our Smithsonian Wide Expansion of Pepper. During the course of this program, teens will learn how to use and program a Pepper while honing skills such as research, content creation, and creative writing. This is a six month program spanning from April-August.


Smithsonian Visitor Center* (The Castle) 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. 20560

*Teens will make frequent visits to museums on the mall to aid in research


Teens should be dynamic, tech-savvy, team leaders who can effectively communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds. Once accepted, candidates must successfully complete all required training and be able to commit to a regular schedule of at least 1 day a weekend in the school year and 2 days a week during the summer. Candidates must also successfully pass a federal background check.

All applicants must be 15 years or older. Eligible teens must turn 15 before March 1, 2019 and cannot turn 19 before September 1, 2019.


To be eligible for this program, teens must attend the following training:

  • Program Orientation with the Office of Visitor Services; June 2nd, 2019 1:00pm-3:00pm


  1. Submit a complete application (Vsys Survey)
  2. Identify two references and make sure they are submitted by April 28

Reference forms are due by April 28. We will contact your references to verify the information. References should be adults (18 years or older) who know you well, but are not related to you (i.e.: teacher, family friend, coach, work supervisor, etc.).


  • Application Deadline: April 15, 2019
  • Reference Deadline: April 28, 2019

Both applications and the required two reference forms must be submitted by the deadlines. We will not accept applications after April 15.


  • Notification of selection for interview: April 16, 2019 (via email)
  • Interview Day: April 28, 2019, 10:00am-12:00pm at the Smithsonian Castle

You must be available for this interview date and time to be considered for an interview and placement, exceptions cannot be made.

  • Notification of selection for 2019 Castle Teen Volunteer Program: April 29, 2019 (via email)


  • Acceptance of offer for 2019 Castle Teen Volunteer Program: May 3, 2019
  • Registration Day: April 29 - May 24, 2019 at the Smithsonian Castle

Registration day will consist of turning in paperwork signed by both the Teen Volunteer and their parent/guardian and will include a trip to the Smithsonian's ID Office to initiate a background check.


  • Program Orientation with the Office of Visitor Services: June 2nd, 2019 1:00pm-3:00pm


If you have questions or concerns, please contact Savannah Loebig at

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