Smithsonian Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships in Conservation of Museum Collections Program

All applications must be submitted by October 15, 2024 11:59 EST

Notification of decisions will be made the beginning of March 2025.

General Application Information:

All applications should be sent through our SOLAA system.

Once registered and logged in you will need to complete the requested information regarding mailing address, academic history, current university or college etc.

You can find the application for the opportunity under the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships.

Files you will need to upload:


An abstract of the proposed research, not more than one page (please upload this in the same file with your Research Proposal).

Research Proposal:

The full statement of your research, maximum THREE PAGES typescript. It should be double-spaced, with 1" margins, excluding all other parts of the application, such as the abstract and bibliography. Do not use type smaller than 11 point font. In preparing your proposal, be sure to provide and address the following:

  • A description of the research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian Institution, including the methodology to be utilized.
  • The importance of the work, both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own scholarly goals.
  • Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian and utilization of research facilities and resources.
  • Identification of the member of the Smithsonian’s research staff who might serve as your principal adviser/host. Also identify potential co-adviser(s) and/or consultant(s), if applicable (consultants must be Smithsonian affiliated research staff). The publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS), contains the necessary information on staff research specialties and current departmental interests to help you determine which staff members are best suited to your research needs. Research staff may be named by applicants to serve as principal advisers, co-advisers or consultants. Affiliated research staff may be named as co-advisers or consultants if they will be in residence during at least a portion of the tenure period proposed. You are strongly encouraged to correspond with your proposed adviser(s) as you prepare your proposal.
  • If you select any non-Smithsonian consultants for your proposal, provide the consultant’s professional title as well as contact information, including an email address. 

Diversity Statement 

  • Please address - How your perspective, experience, and/or project contribute to a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable discipline.
  • No more than one (1) page, double spaced. 

Budget and Justification:

Budget and justification for equipment, supplies, research-related travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself (excluding stipend and relocation costs). You are encouraged to discuss potential research costs with your proposed adviser(s) before submitting your application. If the funds required to support the research exceed the maximum research allowance of $5,000, please explain the source of additional funds.


A bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant’s proposed research.

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum vitae, including previous and current fellowships, grants, and/or awards, and a description of your research interests. If English is not your native language, describe the level of your proficiency in reading, conversing, and writing in English.

Transcripts (unofficial are acceptable):

Transcripts (or other materials when transcripts are not issued) from all appropriate institutions are required, except for senior fellowship applications. Applicants for postdoctoral fellowships need only submit graduate transcripts. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations.


  • You will need the names and email addresses of two persons familiar with your work. Please note that all reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Do not list Smithsonian staff members as your referees; they will have the opportunity to review your application after it is submitted.
  • Please provide a copy of your proposal and a copy of Letter to Referee (downloadable pdf) to your referees.
  • All reference letters will be considered confidential and the contents will not be revealed to the applicant unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Therefore, please have the reference submit in sufficient time to meet the application deadline.
  • The application, consisting of the proposal, academic records, and two supporting letters, will be reviewed by members of the Smithsonian’s research staff. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the proposal’s merit, the ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed research and study, and the extent to which the Smithsonian, through its staff members and resources, can contribute to the proposed research.
  • Through the system SOLAA you will send an email to these referees so they can provide references through the web.

Identifying an Advisor

Applicants must contact staff members (listed below)  to help identify potential advisers, determine the feasibility of the proposed research being conducted at the Smithsonian Institution, and ensure the availability of relevant resources such as staff, collections, and archives and library materials during the proposed tenure dates. Additional facilities may be available to museum or archives fellows for analytical work at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), but an MCI staff member must be listed as an advisor/co-advisor or consultant as part of the application.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum:

Sarah Barack, Head of Conservation and Senior Objects Conservator, (decorative/applied arts: textiles, paper, three-dimensional objects) 212-849-8360;

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden:

Stephanie Lussier, Paper and Photographs Conservator, (modern materials: works on paper, sculpture, and time-based media) 202-633-2732;

Museum Conservation Institute:

Carol Grissom, Senior Objects Conservator, 301-238-1236,

National Air and Space Museum: (Note: This location will not be accepting applications for the 2023-2024 application cycle)

Malcolm Collum, Engen Conservation Chair, (objects) 703-572-4361;

National Museum of African American History and Culture: 

Michèle Gates Moresi, Supervisory Museum Curator of Collections, 202-633-4762;

Antje Neumann, Supervisory Conservator, 301-238-1599;

National Museum of American History: 

Janice Ellis, Senior Paper Conservator, (books and paper) 202-633-3623;

Sunae Park Evans, Senior Costume Conservator, (costumes and textiles) 202-633-3629;

National Museum of Asian Art: 

Andrew Hare, Supervisory Conservator, East Asian Painting, (Objects, Paper, and East Asian painting) 202-633-0370;

Matt Clarke, Conservation Scientist, (Conservation Science), 202-633-0366;

National Museum of Natural History: (Note: This location will not be accepting applications for the 2023-2024 application cycle)

Catharine Hawks, Museum Conservator, (natural history and anthropological objects) 202-633-0835;

National Portrait Gallery:

Lou Molnar, Head of Conservation, (paintings and paper) 202-633-5822;

National Postal Museum:

Scott Devine, Paper Conservator, (archives, books, and paper) 202 633-5510;

Smithsonian American Art Museum:

Amber Kerr, Chief of Conservation, (colonial to contemporary paintings, paper, objects, and frames) 202-633-4346;

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives:

Nora S. Lockshin, Senior Conservator, (books, works on paper, photographic, audiovisual and born-digital media) 202-633-5913;

Selection Criteria:

Applications are evaluated by a Smithsonian Peer Review Committee made up of scholars in appropriate fields. Fellows are selected based on the following:

  • Proposal’s merit
  • Applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research and study
  • Likelihood that the research could be completed in the requested time
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Extent to which the Smithsonian, through its research staff members and resources, could contribute to the proposed research.

As part of its mandate for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” including the diverse ideas, skills, and cultures of our nation, the Smithsonian Institution pursues policies of equal opportunity and cultural diversity. The Smithsonian Fellowship program does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, gender stereotyping, pregnancy, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, or marital status.


Office of Academic Appointments and Internships

No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract, nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office Academic Appointments and Internships.

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