Research Fellowships

Fellowship Opportunities in American Art
2018–19

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. Recipients will be part of the premier residential fellowship program in American art—one that celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2020.

Resources and Facilities

The holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum reveal the United States’ 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 painting, twentieth-century realism, photography and graphic art, folk and self-taught art, Latino art, African American art, and film and media arts. The collection is housed in a National Historic Landmark building shared with the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) and the Archives of American Art. The expansive holdings of the Luce Foundation Center, a three-story visible art storage facility, can be accessed on a daily basis. Contemporary American craft and decorative art are featured in the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the museum located across from the White House.

Each scholar is provided a study carrel in SAAM’s Research and Scholars Center, situated across the street from the museum. There, fellows have access to a 180,000-volume library that specializes in American art, history, and biography; the Archives of American Art; the graphics collections of SAAM and NPG; the Joseph Cornell Study Center; and the Nam June Paik Archive, as well as a variety of image collections and research databases. Located in downtown Washington, DC, SAAM’s Research and Scholars Center is a short walk from other Smithsonian museums and libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art. Regular lunchtime seminars, workshops, public lectures, and symposia provide a forum for lively scholarly exchange and professional advancement.

Qualifications and Selection

PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and senior scholars are eligible to apply. 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.

Applications will be evaluated on the quality of the proposed research project; its compatibility with Smithsonian collections, facilities, staff, and programs; and the applicant's academic standing, scholarly qualifications, and experience. Fellowships are open to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, or sexual orientation.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should apply to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP), found under the Office of Fellowships and Internships in the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA), and not under SAAM’s name. The deadline is December 1, 2017.

Applicants are encouraged to share proposals with a primary advisor at SAAM before applying. For assistance identifying an advisor, contact SAAMFellowships@si.edu or browse the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study guide. Applicants to the SIFP who propose a SAAM primary advisor will automatically be considered for the museum’s 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 the National Museum of American History (NMAH) 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 sculpture in honor of the distinguished career of SAAM's former curator of sculpture. Contribute to this fund.
  • The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is supported by alumni and friends in memory of the museum's former director and founder 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 are 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 with an exceptionally strong international component to their study.
  • 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.

Support and Tenure

The stipend for a one-year fellowship is $36,000 for predoctoral scholars and $50,400 for postdoctoral and senior scholars, with an allowance of up to $4,000 available for short research trips. Additional allowances may be provided to help with temporary relocation to the Smithsonian and the cost of health insurance. The standard residency is twelve months, but shorter terms are available with prorated stipends. All fellowships must take place between June 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019. The Smithsonian Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for fellowship recipients who require them.

For more information:

Amelia Goerlitz, Fellowship and Academic Programs Manager
Telephone (202) 633-8353
Email AmericanArtFellowships@si.edu

SAAM also hosts fellows from the following programs:

For other Smithsonian opportunities:

Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships
Telephone: (202) 633-7070
Email siofi@si.edu