Research Fellowships

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and its Renwick Gallery offer annual research fellowships in the art and visual culture of the United States. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research. In response to COVID-19 precautions, the museum either deferred fall residencies or allowed fellows to participate in the program remotely. Recipients become part of the premier residential fellowship program in American art—the oldest and largest in the world—that celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020.

A Half Century of Fellowship: Wyeth Foundation Symposium

This 2020 symposium chronicled the development and impact of the oldest and largest fellowship program in the world for American art. Watch the webcast to hear research talks by distinguished former fellows and listen to a series of PechuKucha-style fast-paced presentations that highlight efforts to expand the field in the age of Black Lives Matter, decolonization, climate change, globalization, and digital scholarship.

See Where Our Scholars Are Now

SAAM fellows and visiting scholars go on to shape the global art world as museum directors, curators, professors, critics, artists, and conservators. Alumni of our program are active in 30 foreign countries, 40 US states, and the District of Columbia. Learn how SAAM’s fellowship program impacted their scholarship and career paths.

SAAM has hosted fellows and visiting scholars from more than 225 institutions in 43 states and 25 foreign countries. The alumni directory is searchable by year, type, and affiliation.

Established in 1970 by former director Joshua C. Taylor, the museum’s fellowship program traces its origins to the dynamic leadership of Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley. Learn more about the program’s 50-year-long history and the events and figures key to its formation and development through our interactive timeline.

Make A Gift To The Next Generation

Contribute to SAAM’s 50th Anniversary Fellowship Campaign and help advance the study of American art—now and for the future.

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Annual Fellows Lectures

Each year, SAAM's research fellows present new scholarship on a range of topics and time periods, media and messages. The 2019–2020 fellows presented their talks online due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Listen to presentations by this new generation of American scholars.

How To Apply

SAAM hosts a number of fellows each year through the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP), and also awards its own named fellowships to candidates from this general pool. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2020.

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Luce Curatorial Fellowship

SAAM seeks an outstanding emerging scholar of American art for a curatorial fellowship funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. Beginning in fall 2021, this two-year position, with a possible third-year renewal, will provide an invaluable professional development opportunity to a scholar interested in a curatorial career in an art museum. Apply by Tuesday, June 1.

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For More Information

Amelia Goerlitz, Chair of Academic Programs
Telephone (202) 633-8353