Research and Scholars Center

Two researchers in library stacks

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 internshipsfor 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.

This is a picture of Eleanor Harvey giving a talk in front of a painting at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Research Databases and Collections

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s specialized art research databases—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 by leading fine arts photography firms. The Nam June Paik Archive and Joseph Cornell Study Center offer an in-depth view of two of America’s most influential artists.

This is a photo of a tour inside the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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.

Eldredge Prize Lecture



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

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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