Fellows and Interns
Fellowship Opportunities in American Art
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery invite applications for research fellowships in art and visual culture of the United States. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. This unparalleled collection includes special strengths in nineteenth- and twentieth-century marble and bronze sculpture, nineteenth-century landscape painting, Gilded Age and American impressionist paintings, twentieth-century realism, photography and graphic art, folk and self-taught art, Latino art, African American art, and film and media arts. Artists represented in depth include George Catlin, William H. Johnson, Sean Scully, Lee Friedlander, Christo, Nam June Paik, and William T. Wiley, among others. The collection is housed in a National Historic Landmark building shared by the National Portrait Gallery and the Archives of American Art. More than 3,000 artworks can be accessed daily in the Museum’s Luce Foundation Center, the first visible art storage and study center in Washington, D.C. Contemporary American craft is featured in the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Museum located across from the White House that will reopen in 2015 following a major renovation.
Each scholar is provided a carrel in the Fellowship Office, located across the street from the Museum. Available research resources there include a 180,000-volume library that specializes in American art, history, and biography; the Archives of American Art; the graphics collections of American Art and the Portrait Gallery; the Joseph Cornell Study Center and the Nam June Paik Archive; as well as a variety of image collections and research databases. Conveniently located in downtown Washington, D.C., the Museum and Fellowship Office are a short walk from other Smithsonian museums and libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art. During their stay at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, scholars will be part of one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished fellowship programs in American art, and will have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of lectures, symposia, and professional workshops. Short research trips are also possible.
The Museum hosts fellows supported by the Smithsonian’s general fellowship fund and also offers the following named fellowships:
- The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship, endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan, supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. Recipients will draw on the Smithsonian’s broad resources in both areas.
- The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art is given for scholarly research in American art.
- The Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship is offered to support research in American art and visual culture.
- The George Gurney Fellowship funds research in American art, preferably sculpture, in honor of the distinguished career of the museum’s former curator of sculpture. Contribute to this fund.
- The James Renwick Fellowship in American Craft is available for research in American studio crafts or decorative arts from the nineteenth century to the present.
- The Sara Roby Fellowship in Twentieth-Century American Realism is awarded to a scholar whose research topic is in the area of American realism.
- The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is supported by alumni and friends of the fellowship program. Contribute to this fund.
- The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of art of the United States up to 1980. They support work by scholars from abroad who are researching American art or by U.S. scholars who are investigating international contexts for American art.
- The William H. Truettner Fellowship, which funds pre- and postdoctoral research in American art, is a tribute to Mr. Truettner’s career of nearly fifty years as a curator of painting and sculpture at the museum. Contribute to this fund.
- The Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns the study, appreciation, and recognition of excellence in all aspects of American art.
Qualifications and Selection
Predoctoral applicants must have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for the doctoral degree, and must be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral fellowships are available to support specific research projects by scholars who hold the doctoral degree or equivalent. Senior fellowships are intended for scholars with a distinguished publication record who have held the doctoral degree for more than seven years or who possess an equivalent record of professional accomplishment at the time of application.
Applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed research project, academic standing, scholarly qualifications, and experience. The project’s compatibility with the Museum’s collections, facilities, staff, and programs will also be considered. A committee of curators and historians will review the applications.
The stipend for a one-year predoctoral fellowship is $32,500, plus research and travel allowances. The stipend for a one-year senior or postdoctoral fellowship is $47,500, plus research and travel allowances. The standard term of residency is twelve months, but shorter terms will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months.
Applicants should apply to the general Smithsonian Fellowship Program, found under the Office of Fellowships in the online application system (SOLAA), and not under the Museum’s name. Applicants should propose a primary advisor/supervisor from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be eligible for a fellowship at this unit. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered for all relevant awards.
All applicants are encouraged to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian advisors before submitting applications.
For research consultation:
Emily Dana Shapiro
Telephone (202) 633-8335
Telephone (202) 633-8353
For applications or general information:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship Office
Telephone (202) 633-8353
Application for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program
Application FAQ (pdf)
For other Smithsonian opportunities:
Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships
Telephone: (202) 633-7070
Deadline: December 1, 2014 is the application deadline for fellowships to begin on or after June 1, 2015. Awards are based on merit. Fellowships are open to all qualified persons without reference to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or condition of handicap. The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for fellowship recipients who require them.