Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship Program


November 1.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and its Renwick Gallery invite applications to its premier fellowship program, the oldest and largest in the world for the study of American art. Scholars from any discipline who are researching topics that engage the art, craft, and visual culture of the United States are encouraged to apply, as are those who foreground new perspectives, materials, and methodologies. Fellowships are residential and support full-time research in the Smithsonian collections. SAAM is devoted to advancing inclusive excellence in the discipline of art history and in higher education more broadly, and therefore encourages candidates who identify as members of historically underrepresented groups to apply.

To learn more about the program, visit

The museum 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. All candidates should apply to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP) by the November 1st deadline. Applicants must identify a member of SAAM’s research staff to serve as primary fellowship advisor in order to hold a residency at this museum. They are encouraged to notify the potential advisor in advance of their application. To find a potential advisor whose research interests match yours, browse the museum’s staff listings in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) guide or search our Staff Bios. Applicants to the SIFP who propose a SAAM primary advisor will automatically be considered for the museum’s named fellowships:

  • The Will Barnet Foundation Fellowship is awarded biennially and funds a full year of research on a topic related to American modern art, including its influence on later generations. 
  • The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship is endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. The recipient is jointly appointed at SAAM and the National Museum of American History and draws on the resources of both museums. 
  • The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art provides for a full year of dissertation research at the museum. 
  • The Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship supports a year of research in American art and visual culture. 
  • The Audrey Flack Short Term Fellowship*** facilitates one month onsite for a scholar whose personal circumstances (i.e., financial constraints, employment conditions, care-giving responsibilities, or other limitations) preclude them from participating in longer-term residencies.  
  • The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Fellowship advances research on modern and contemporary art. Residency is available for twelve months at the predoctoral level or nine months at the postdoctoral or senior level. 
  • The George Gurney Fellowship funds a six-month research appointment in American sculpture in honor of SAAM’s late curator emeritus of sculpture. Residencies should take place June–December 2024 or January–August 2025.
  • The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is intermittently awarded and is supported by alumni and friends in memory of the museum’s former director and founder of the fellowship program.
  • The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art expand narratives of American art by fostering inclusive and equitable research that centers undervalued and underrepresented artists and communities. Fellowships of three to twelve months are available at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels, and ten-week summer graduate fellowships are open to MA and PhD students who have not yet advanced to candidacy. Eligible projects will center undervalued and underrepresented artists and communities. They may focus on the art and visual culture of any period, including contemporary art, provided that it engages with historical American art, U.S. history, or American art history and relates to the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Priority will be given to proposals that: reflect a cross-cultural approach or otherwise foreground the United States’ global connections, the diversity of its cultural heritage, and the diasporic identities of its people; and demonstrate inclusive models of research and interpretation including, but not limited to, community-engaged, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and digital methods.
  • The William H. Truettner Fellowship provides for six months of research in recognition of Mr. Truettner’s career of nearly fifty years as a curator of painting and sculpture at SAAM. Residencies should take place June–December 2024 or January–August 2025.
  • The Windgate Foundation supports a yearlong fellowship for the study of American craft. 
  • The Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns the study, appreciation, and recognition of excellence in all aspects of American art. 
  • The Betsy James Wyeth Fellowship in Native American Art*** seeks to foster new scholarship on Native art of the United States that centers and elevates Indigenous methodologies, knowledges, and communities. This one-year fellowship is jointly hosted by SAAM and the National Museum of the American Indian and provides scholars with access to the resources of both museums.  

***The Audrey Flack and Betsy James Wyeth Fellowships have unique applications, tenure lengths, stipend levels, and deadlines. 

Applicants for any fellowship who are conducting research with Indigenous communities should describe the current state of consultation or collaboration with Indigenous artists and estates, knowledge holders, and communities relevant to the work, and demonstrate how the research is accountable to these rights holders. A letter of support from a tribal community member, knowledge holder, artist, or artist’s estate will strengthen a proposal and may be submitted as an additional reference letter. If applying to the Betsy James Wyeth Fellowship in Native American Art, such a letter of support is required.  


PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and senior scholars from any field who are pursuing research on American art are eligible to apply.


3–12 months

Fellowship Category Stipend Research Allowance

Senior Fellowships
- for scholars at least seven years beyond the Ph.D.

$57,000 per year up to $5,000 per year

Postdoctoral Fellowships
- for scholars up to seven years beyond the Ph.D.

$57,000 per year up to $5,000 per year

Predoctoral Fellowships
- for doctoral candidates to conduct dissertation research.

$45,000 per year up to $5,000 per year
Ten-Week Graduate Student Fellowship $10,000  N/A

Stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months. Additional allowances will be provided to help with temporary relocation to the Smithsonian and the cost of health insurance.  


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


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