HomeTerra Foundation Fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

HomeTerra Foundation Fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

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Published on Friday, October 23, 2015


The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce a new structure for its Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art. Starting in 2016-2017, three twelve-month fellowships will be awarded annually – one each at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior levels – to non-U.S. candidates who are researching American art or to U.S. scholars with an exceptionally strong international component to their study.



The Terra Foundation fellowships in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of 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 who are investigating international contexts for American art. SAAM also hosts fellows supported by the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program and offers other named fellowships. All fellowships are residential and fund full-time independent and dissertation research.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. Search the museum's permanent collection at AmericanArt.si.edu/collections/search/


Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research.

Each scholar is provided a carrel in SAAM’s Fellowship Office, situated 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; the graphics collections of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery; the Joseph Cornell Study Center and the Nam June Paik Archive; as well as a variety of image collections and research databases.

Conveniently located in downtown Washington, D.C., SAAM and the 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 SAAM, 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, symposia, and professional workshops. Short research trips are also possible. 


The annual stipend for Terra Foundation Fellows is $32,700 at the predoctoral level and $48,000 at the postdoctoral and senior levels. A maximum allowance of $4,000 is available for research travel.

The standard term of residency is twelve months, but shorter terms will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months.

The amount awarded will be determined based on the budget and justification presented by the applicant. An additional allowance may be provided to help with temporary relocation to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for fellowship recipients who require them.

Fellowships will begin on or after June 1, 2016. For applications, research consultation, and general information visit AmericanArt.si.edu/fellowships or email AmericanArtFellowships@si.edu.

Qualifications and Selection criteria

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 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 Smithsonian collections, facilities, staff, and programs will also be considered. A committee of curators and historians will review the applications.

Application Procedures

Applicants should apply to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program, found under the Office of Fellowships in the online application system (SOLAA), and not under the museum’s name. Applicants must propose a primary advisor/supervisor from SAAM to be eligible for a fellowship at this museum. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered for all relevant awards.

Applicants are encouraged to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian advisors before submitting them.

The deadline for applications is December 1, 2015.

For more information, visit www.americanart.si.edu/terrafellows/


The proposals are reviewed and ranked by a pan-Smithsonian committee comprised of curators from the various Smithsonian arts divisions: Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum, Archives of American Art, National Museum of African Art, Freer and Sackler, and Cooper-Hewitt. However, the final decision is made by our museum's curatorial team with the assistance of an outside reviewer. The three key scholars involved in the decision making are:

  • Emily D. Shapiro, Academic Programs Advisor, Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)
  • Eleanor Harvey, Senior Curator, SAAM
  • Virginia Mecklenburg, Chief Curator, SAAM


  • 750 9th St NW, Fellows Office
    Washington, America (20001)


  • Tuesday, December 01, 2015


  • fellowship, american art, smithsonian, predoctoral, postdoctoral, United States


  • Amelia Goerlitz
    courriel : GoerlitzA [at] si [dot] edu

Information source

  • Amelia Goerlitz
    courriel : GoerlitzA [at] si [dot] edu


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Terra Foundation Fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum », Scholarship, prize and job offer, Calenda, Published on Friday, October 23, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/tfz

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