The Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery invite applications for research fellowships in art and visual culture of the United States. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research.

The collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum spans the nation’s artistic heritage, representing outstanding visual accomplishments from the seventeenth century to the present day. Comprising more than 42,000 objects, this unparalleled collection includes special strengths in nineteenth- and twentieth-century marble and bronze sculpture, nineteenth-century landscape painting, Gilded Age and American impressionist paintings, twentieth-century realism, photography and graphic art, folk art, Latino art, and African American art. Artists represented in depth include George Catlin, William H. Johnson, Sean Scully, Lee Friedlander, Christo, Nam June Paik, and William T. Wiley, among others. The collection is housed in a National Historic Landmark building, shared by the National Portrait Gallery and the Archives of American Art, where the expansive holdings of the Luce Foundation Center for American Art can be accessed on a daily basis. American craft is featured in the Renwick Gallery, a curatorial department of the Museum located across from the White House in a restored building designed in 1858 by James Renwick. The gallery’s permanent collection includes works in glass, ceramic, wood, fiber, and metal.

Each scholar is provided a carrel in the Fellowship Office located across the street from the Museum. Available research resources there include a 180,000-volume library that specializes in American art, history, and biography; the Archives of American Art; and the graphics collections of the American Art Museum and NPG; as well as a variety of image collections and research databases. Conveniently located in downtown Washington, D.C., the Museum and Fellowship Office are a short walk from other Smithsonian museums and libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art. During their stay at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, scholars will be part of one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished fellowship programs in American art, and will have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of lectures, symposiums, and professional workshops. Short research trips are also possible.

The museum hosts fellows supported by the Smithsonian’s general fellowship fund as well as the following named fellowships:

  • The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of art of the United States up to 1980. They support work by scholars from abroad who are researching American art or by U.S. scholars who are investigating international contexts for American art.
  • Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowships support scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. Recipients will draw on the Smithsonian’s broad resources in both areas.
  • The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art is given for scholarly research in American art.
  • The Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship is offered to support research in American art and visual culture.
  • The James Renwick Fellowship in American Craft is available for research in American studio crafts or decorative arts from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • The Sara Roby Fellowship in Twentieth-Century American Realism is awarded to a scholar whose research topic is in the area of American realism.
  • The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is supported by alumni and friends of the fellowship program. Contribute to the Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship Fund.
  • The Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns the traditions of American art.


Qualifications and Selection

Predoctoral applicants must have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for the doctoral degree, and must be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral fellowships are available to support specific research projects by scholars who hold the doctoral degree or equivalent. Senior fellowships are intended for scholars with a distinguished publication record who have held the doctoral degree for more than seven years or who possess an equivalent record of professional accomplishment at the time of application.

Applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed research project, academic standing, scholarly qualifications, and experience. The project’s compatibility with the Museum’s collections, facilities, staff, and programs will also be considered. A committee of curators and historians will review the applications.


Application Procedures

The stipend for a one-year predoctoral fellowship is $30,000, plus research and travel allowances. The stipend for a senior or postdoctoral fellowship is $45,000, plus research and travel allowances. The standard term of residency is twelve months, but shorter terms will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months.

Applicants should apply through the general Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered in all relevant award categories. Applicants must propose a primary advisor/supervisor from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be eligible for a fellowship at this unit.

All applicants are encouraged to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian advisors before submitting applications.

For research consultation:
William Truetner
Telephone (202) 633-8384
Email TruettnerW[at]

Amelia Goerlitz
Telephone (202) 633-8353
Email GoerlitzA[at]

For applications or general information:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship Office
Telephone (202) 633-8353
Email AmericanArtFellowships[at]
Application for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program

For other Smithsonian opportunities:
Office of Fellowships
Telephone (202) 633-7070
Email siofg[at]

Deadline: January 15 is the application deadline for fellowships to begin on or after June 1, 2013.


Awards are based on merit. Fellowships are open to all qualified persons without reference to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or condition of handicap. The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for fellowship recipients who require them.