FAQ About Applying for SAAM Fellowships

Q: How do I apply for a fellowship at SAAM, such as the Terra Foundation Fellowships?
A: Applications should be submitted to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program using the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).

Once inside the application, under “Search for Program,” you will see a box labeled Office/Museum/Research Center. From the drop-down menu, select “Office of Fellowships” (not “Smithsonian American Art Museum”). To be eligible for a fellowship at SAAM, applicants should propose a primary advisor/supervisor at this unit. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered in all relevant award categories, including the Corn, Douglass, Frost, Gurney, Roby, Taylor, Truettner, and Wyeth named Fellowships.


Q: If I want my fellowship to be hosted by SAAM, can I propose a co-advisor or consultants based at a different Smithsonian unit?
A: Yes, as long as the primary sponsor is based at SAAM. For interdisciplinary projects, applicants are especially encouraged to identify co-advisors or consultants at appropriate Smithsonian units.


Q: How do I identify the best Smithsonian advisor(s) for my research project?
A: A directory of Smithsonian research staff and their specialties is available in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) Guide. Additional queries can be directed to SAAM’s Fellowship Office at (202) 633-8353 or AmericanArtFellowships@si.edu

Q: The SAAM Fellowships web page encourages applicants to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian
advisors. What if I don’t hear back? Can I still list that person on my application?

A: Yes. Applicants are encouraged to contact potential Smithsonian advisors early in the application process to allow them enough time to read proposals and respond. As the application deadline approaches, though, many Smithsonian staff are inundated with inquiries. If you do not hear back from your choice of advisor by the application deadline, you may go ahead and submit his or her name.

Q: Is it appropriate to list on my application the research resources that I hope to utilize at other Smithsonian museums? What about non-Smithsonian institutions, such as the Library of Congress and National Archives and Records Administration?
A: Yes. SAAM fellows are encouraged to use collections and archives across the institution and in the Washington, D.C., area.

Q: By when must I submit my application?
A: The online application system (SOLAA) closes at midnight Eastern Standard Time on December 1st. All application materials and reference letters must be submitted by that time.

Q: In the application, under “Program Choices,” I am asked to indicate where I am traveling from and traveling to. What should I enter in those fields?
A: SAAM fellowships are residential, so you should list your current city of residence in the first field, and enter “Washington, D.C.” in the second field.

Q: Under “Program Choices,” I am asked to indicate the proposed dates of my fellowship tenure. What are my tenure options?
A: The standard term of residency is twelve months, but terms as short as one month will be considered. Stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months. SAAM fellowships may begin on or after June 1st of that year and must conclude by August 31st of the following year.

Q: Are there any word-count limits for the bibliography, budget, and timetable?
A: There is a six-page (double-spaced, 12 point type) limit for the proposal narrative, but no word count for the bibliography, budget, or timetable.

Q: What types of expenses are eligible for inclusion in the proposed research budget request?
A: The research allowance is solely intended to support essential research travel during your Smithsonian fellowship (e.g., airfare and lodging to visit a private collection outside of Washington, D.C.). Trips that will last longer than three weeks require advanced approval from the Smithsonian advisor and program manager. Your budget request should not include costs for relocation. The Smithsonian cannot provide funds for travel or living expenses of dependents. Other ineligible expenses include: equipment costs, photocopying fees, and funding for a research assistant.