Research and Scholars Center

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The Nation’s Premier Center for the Study of American Art

The museum offers residential fellowships for artists and scholars at the graduate level and above and internships for college seniors and graduate students. SAAM also produces American Art, a peer-reviewed periodical on the arts in America, organizes scholarly symposia, and sponsors several publication prizes. The museum’s specialized art research databases of a half million records and its extensive research collections further scholarship in the field.

Fellowships and Internships

SAAM’s fellowship program has advanced scholarship on American art, craft, and visual culture for more than fifty years. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research. Since 1968, SAAM’s internship programs have provided instruction and inspiration to hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as others seeking self-enrichment.

Research Databases and Collections

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s specialized art research databases, including the Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture and the Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index, describe more than a half million artworks in public and private collections worldwide. SAAM’s Photograph Study Collection contains nearly a quarter million negatives and study prints documenting American art works by leading fine arts photography firms. The Nam June Paik Archive Collection and the Joseph Cornell Study Center offer an in-depth view of two of America’s most influential artists.


SAAM disseminates new scholarship on American art through regular symposia, annual publication prizes, and the peer-reviewed journal American Art, co-published by the University of Chicago Press.

American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Shelves with periodicals in the American Art/Portrait Gallery Library

The American Art and Portrait Gallery Library is managed by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and is open to the public. Its holdings include over 180,000 volumes on American art, history, and biography, as well as a rich collection of Art and Artist Files.

Research and Scholars Newsletter

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