Fellows and Interns
Fellowship Opportunities in American Art
The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and its Renwick Gallery invite applications for research fellowships in the 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 with the National Portrait Gallery and the Archives of American Art. More than 3,000 artworks can be accessed daily in SAAM’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 reopened in November 2015 following a major renovation.
Each scholar is provided a carrel in SAAM’s Fellowship Office, situated 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 SAAM 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., SAAM and the 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.
SAAM hosts fellows supported by the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program and also offers the following named fellowships:
- The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship is endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. The recipient will be jointly appointed at SAAM and NMAH (National Museum of American History) and will draw on the resources of both museums.
- The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art is given for predoctoral 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 a one- to three-month research appointment in American art, preferably sculpture, in honor of the distinguished career of SAAM’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 the art of the United States up to 1980. Three twelve-month fellowships will be awarded annually, one each at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior levels, to scholars from abroad who are researching American art or to U.S. scholars who are investigating international contexts for American art.
- The William H. Truettner Fellowship supports one to three months of research, in recognition of Mr. Truettner’s career of nearly fifty years as a curator of painting and sculpture at SAAM. 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 their doctoral degree and must be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral fellowships are available to support specific research projects by scholars who have earned a PhD or equivalent. Senior fellowships are intended for scholars with a distinguished publication record who have held their doctoral degree for more than seven years or who possess a commensurate 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 Smithsonian 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 $32,700, plus research and travel allowances. The stipend for a one-year postdoctoral or senior fellowship is $48,000, 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 Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program, found under the Office of Fellowships in the online application system (SOLAA), and not under the museum’s name. Applicants must propose a primary advisor/supervisor from SAAM to be eligible for a fellowship at this museum. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered for all relevant awards.
Applicants are encouraged to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian advisors before submitting them.
For research consultation:
Emily D. 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: Deadline: December 1, 2015, is the application deadline for fellowships that begin on or after June 1, 2016. Awards are based on merit. Fellowships are open to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, 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.