Skip to Content

Interested in becoming a Smithsonian Fellow?

The Smithsonian's Fellowships in Museum Practice (FMP) program, which has awarded fellowships to professionals and scholars since 1993, is growing and evolving along with the Smithsonian Learning Lab. We have a new vision and goals, yet we are constant in our search for dedicated, forward-thinking individuals with outstanding expertise in a particular field of interest.

As part of this new vision, we expect our fellows to be mid-career practitioners who empower students, teachers, and lifelong learners to access, integrate, and add to the Smithsonian's digital collection of assets. While fellows will continue to promote the exchange of knowledge in their field and increase the Smithsonian's impact as a national educational organization, they'll now be expected to do so in ways that are more personal, shareable, and meaningful.

These fellowships are generously supported by the Smithsonian Women's Committee, and will leverage the diversity of our fellows' fields of interest with the Learning Lab's growing collection of digital assets. Fellows will be expected to demonstrate discipline expertise that helps the Learning Lab further its mission of helping learners of all ages discover the Learning Lab's digital images, recordings, texts, and lesson plans regardless of a user's physical proximity to these assets. In everything we do, we also strive to encourage creation and sharing by users as part of the Learning Lab.

Fellowship Details and To Apply

Most fellowships include a $3,500 monthly stipend plus round-trip travel expenses between the recipient's home and Washington, D.C., and are awarded annually for a period of up to six months. However, unpaid fellowships may also be awarded to those who demonstrate an ability to further the Learning Lab's new objectives by working remotely, which is consistent with our commitment to accessing the Smithsonian's digital collections regardless of geographic location.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab reserves the right to not award a fellowship in a year if the reviewers decide that none of the applications are suitable.

On occasion the program offers an award of merit to an applicant whose proposal is worthy of further study but is not sufficiently structured to meet the Learning Lab's selection criteria. In these cases, the applicant may be awarded funds to support the costs of a short-term professional visit to the Smithsonian. Fellows in residence for up to 21 days or less are eligible to receive up to $150 per day.

While the Smithsonian Learning Lab may choose to provide fellows with office space, advisory services, and access to Smithsonian facilities, resources, staff and reference collections as well as informal forums in which to present work-in-progress, unpaid fellows may also be selected based on their ability to access these resources remotely.

To apply for a Smithsonian Fellowship in Museum Practice, complete this online application, and select “Fellowships in Museum Practice."

The application consists of:

Abstract of the proposed research— not more than one page and include the project title

Curriculum Vitae or Resume— 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

Bibliography— An annotated literature review relevant to the proposed research

Project/Research Proposal— The full statement of your research that should not exceed 1,500 words (maximum six pages, 12 point type, double spaced). Be sure to provide and address the following: 1) A description of the research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian Learning Lab, including the methodology to be utilized. 2) The importance of the work, both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own scholarly goals. 3) Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian Learning Lab, and utilization of research facilities and resources. 4) Identification of the member of the SCLDA's staff who might serve as your principal advisor/host. 5) Estimate of time period for each phase of the research proposed. 6) Description of the format for disseminating the research and the rationale for the choice, especially how this will be personal, shareable, and meaningful to a public audience.

References— Names and email addresses of two people familiar with your work. Ideally, don't make your proposed Smithsonian advisor one of your referees because they already will have an opportunity to offer feedback about your proposal as part of the application review process. All reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been waived by the reference. Through SOLAA, you will send an email to these referees so they can provide references through the web. In order to have the greatest impact on a candidate's application, referees are asked to submit references no later than the final application submission. However, references can be included with a candidate's application packet up to one month after the application submission. Please note that while not having references included with an application does not automatically disqualify an application, the absence of references may weaken a proposal in the eyes of reviewers.

Referees would address the following:

  • The range and depth of the applicant's knowledge and experience about the topic.
  • Evidence of the applicant's ability to produce quality work.
  • Extent to which research on the topic would contribute to improved digital museum education practices or impact institutional decisions.

Technical Review Board — Answer two specific questions related to your proposed research: 1.) Does your research involve collecting data or private information from living human subjects? 2.) Does your research involve the use of live animals? Answering “yes" to either of these will necessitate further permissions if your proposal is selected.

Application Deadline and Review Period

All applications are reviewed by members of the Smithsonian's scholarly education community. Applications for the program are considered throughout the year; however, solicitations for the FMP program are reviewed beginning December 1 for the following year. For example, proposals received during December 2019 will be reviewed for placement during 2020. Because of processing time at the Smithsonian, applicants should submit proposals no less than 12 weeks before their proposed start dates. For example, applicants who submit a proposal on December 1 should indicate a start date of March 1 or later. Notification of decisions will be within eight weeks from proposal submission.

Miscellaneous Information


Smithsonian fellowship stipends are not salary or compensation. They are meant to support study and research during the tenure of the appointment and cannot be issued retroactively. All funds provided under Smithsonian Institution fellowships, including stipends and research and travel allowances, are subject to tax. Fellows awarded stipends receive a financial summary at the end of each calendar year and are responsible for meeting their own state and federal tax obligations.


Fellows undergo a United States government background investigation, including fingerprinting, as well as a computer security training.

What We Don't Fund:

  • Collection surveys
  • Converting theses or dissertations into films, websites, books, or exhibits
  • Requests to fund advanced degree study (universities, colleges, continuing education programs, certificate or graduate programs, material culture or connoisseurship programs or that are part of an institutional project, etc...)
  • Smithsonian employees, current Smithsonian research associates, and individuals who perform Smithsonian Institution service contracts are not eligible

More Information

General information about the Smithsonian's academic appointments can be found in the Academic Appointment Handbook.

Smithsonian Fellowships in Museum Practice Alumni

Lucy B. Alexander
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (USA)
The Public/Private Partnership: Beyond Giving (Merit Award)

Mary Alexander
Maryland Historical Trust (USA)
Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Function of Museums

Nola Anderson
Australian War Memorial (Australia)
An Investigation into the Use of Archival Film and Photography in Museum Exhibitions

Jennifer Anderson-Lawrence
Historic Hudson Valley (USA)
The Nursery of Living Thought: The Role of Public Education at the National Museum of American History

Olaug Andreassen
Documentarist and Anthropologist (Norway)
Making Digitised Collections Useful: What Can We Learn from Current Smithsonian Work with Source Communities?

Amelia Bachleda
Museum of Life and Science (USA)
Scientific Argumentation: Helping Students Identify, Evaluate, and Support Claims (Merit Award)

Maria Cristina Barbosa de Almeida
Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Possibilities and Strategies for Implementing the Museum Library into the Activities of Other Museum Departments

Robert Baron
Folk Arts Program, New York State Council on the Arts (USA)
Curating the Intangible through Public Programs

Romilly Beard
Independent Researcher (UK)
Digitizing the Donor Experience: Exploring the Use of Digital Collections to Build a New Culture of Philanthropy in the Museum Sector

Julie K. Brown
Author and Independent Researcher (USA)
Making the 'Speaking Picture': Displays for Health at International Expositions (1876-1904)

David Butts
Massey University (New Zealand)
The Changes that are Occurring in Decisions about Collecting and the Implications of those Changes on Collecting Strategies and Practices

Pietro Cerreta
LeRuote Quadrate Calitri (Italy)
Explorations into Ways of Combining Science History and Theory with Hands-On Museum Exhibits Effectively for a Broad, General Audience, and Especially for School-Age Visitors (Merit Award)

Elizabeth Cohen
Independent Scholar (USA) 
What is the Current State of Digital Edu-Curation Design Practices of Creators of Smithsonian Learning Lab Educational Collections?

Barbara Cohen Stratyner
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (USA)
An Exploration of Practices in the Presentation of Personal Narratives and Oral Histories in Exhibitions Intended to Serve Multi-Generational and/or Multi-Cultural Audiences

Jean Cooper
The Natural History Museum, London (UK)
Access for All: Integrating Accessible Design into Exhibition and Educational Programmed Development

Joe Cox
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida (USA)
The Development and Use of Interdisciplinary Handouts as an Effective Method of Increasing Retention in Young Museum Visitors

Antonio Delgado
University of New Mexico at Taos (USA)
New Mexico's Moradas: Developing a Museum Policy Partnership with the Hispanic Community (Merit Award)

Kayo Denda
Rutgers University Libraries
Discovering American Women's Histories: An Examination of Metadata Schema and Access Issues

Ann Elizabeth Denkler
Alexandria Archeology (USA)
Interpreting Utopia through Interactive Community Experiences in Greenbelt, Maryland

Caitlin Feeley
The Education Arcade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
Change Makers: Exploring the Potential of Next Generation Museum Games

Lea Foster Warden
Independent Researcher (USA)
IMPACT: The Traveling Exhibit Industry and Sustainability

Cheryl Fox
Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture (USA)
Ways in Which Museum Exhibitions, Whose Primary Subject is a Distinct Cultural Group, Can Attract Broad Audiences Who Are Not Members of that Cultural Group (Merit Award)

Rebecca A. Fuller
Independent Scholar (USA)
The Tactile Exhibit: Topics, Concepts and Techniques (Merit Award)

Helen Glazer
Goucher College (USA)
In Quest of Myth: A Prototype Multi-Museum Tour at the Smithsonian

Robert Goler
Arts Management Program, American University (USA)
Developing Pedagogical Tools for More Effective Interim Museum Directorships

Helen Graham
International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University (UK)
Museums for Us: Exploring Museums with People with Intellectual Disabilities

Song Xiang Guang
Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology, Peking University (China)
Museum Collection Management: An Applied Project Designed for the Arthur Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University

Martha Gutierrez Steinkamp
Researcher and Author (USA)
In Search of Exchange: An Analysis of the Application of Current Museum Theory—The Development of Participatory Outreach Programs and Exhibits in Culturally Diverse Communities (Merit Award)

Jessica S. Hall
Newseum (USA)
Old Stories, New Ways: Using New Technology to Create Interactive Learning Experiences

Jooyeon Han
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (South Korea)
From Collecting to Sharing: Grass-Roots Museums Culture and Public Education

Marjorie L. Harth
Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College (USA)
Old Traditions/New Obligations: Museums and the Management of Indigenous Collections

George E. Hein
Lesley University (USA)
Democracy and Museums: The Social Responsibility of Museums

Claudia Hernandez
The New Museum of Contemporary Art (USA)
Educational Outreach to Minority High School Youth Audiences through Museum-School Based Programming

Nigel Holman
Farm and Ranch Heritage Foundation (USA)
The Curation and Use by Museums of 'Sensitive' Native American Photographic Images: Stepping Back to Look at the Big Picture

Christian Holtorf
Deutsches Hygiene-Museum (Germany)
The Impact of Public Lectures on the Production of Knowledge, A Case-Study: Representations of Arctic Research at the Smithsonian Institution from the 19th Century to the Present

Sherry Hutt
Independent Researcher (USA)
Legal Aspects of Ownership: Contrasting Cultural and Biological Collections (Merit Award)

Charlie Keck
La Casa de la Ciencia, San Cristobal de las Casas (Mexico)
School and Outreach Programs: Effective Approaches in Science Museums

Deborah E. Kmetz
State Historical Society of Wisconsin (USA)
Seeing It with Your Own Eyes: The Nature of Visual Communication in History Exhibits

Hadwig Kraeutler
Belvedere Museum of Austrian Art (Austria)
Alma Stephanie Wittlin (1899-1990): The Extraordinary Life and Work of an Inspiring Museologist (Merit Award)

Christina Kreps
University of Denver Anthropology and Museum Studies (USA)
Bridging the Gaps: Participatory Approaches to Museum Development and Cultural Work

Karol Ann Lawson
Sweet Briar College Art Museum and Galleries (USA)
Not for Sale: Recent Deaccessioning Controversies in U.S. Museums

Antonia Liguori
Loughborough University (UK)
Storying’ the Cultural Heritage: Digital Storytelling as a tool to enhance the 4Cs in formal and informal learning.

Margaret A. Lindauer
Virginia Commonwealth University (USA)
Inside, Out, and Back Again: The Relationship of Museology and Curriculum Studies to Museum Education

Phaedra Livingstone
Arts & Administration Program, University of Oregon (USA)
Touchstones, Touchscreens and Tall Tales: Interpretive Perspectives and Representational Limitations across the Process of Developing an Exhibition

Kathy Mackey
Queensland Academies (Australia)
The Influence of Cultural Partnerships on a New Form of Innovation Inquiry within Education for Highly Capable Students in Queensland's State Schools—Putting STEAM into STEM

Carol E. Mayer
Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (Canada)
International Collaboration—Addressing the Legacy of Early Collecting Practices

D. Lynn McRainey
Chicago Historical Society (USA)
Interpreting History through Interactive Experiences

Kathleen Meaney
Virginia Tech University
10 Ways to Translate an Exhibit for Learning

Susan Miner
Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum (USA)
A Learning Style Assessment at the National Zoo

Teresa Morales
Programa de Museos Comunitarios y Ecomuseos (Mexico)
Cultural Appropriation and Community Museums

Theano Moussouri
Museum Studies, Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UK)
Cooperative Learning: An Integrated Approach to Co-Designing and Researching Family Learning Experiences in Museums and Other Informal Learning Contexts

Sarah A. Ogilvie
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USA)
Lessons Learned from Memorial Museums and Sites of Conscience: A Study of Best Practices and Guiding Principles

Vishwamitra Oree
Rajiv Gandhi Science Center (Mauritius)
Effective Science Museum/School Partnerships

Segametsi C. Radise
Botswana National Museum, (Botswana)
An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Educational Programs in Relation to the School Curriculum Needs

Stephanie Ratcliffe
Maryland Science Center (USA)
Kid Stops: Integrating Parenting Skills Information into Exhibits for the Early Childhood Audience

Charles R. Regier
Kauffman Museum (USA)
An Analysis for Current Approaches to Traveling Museum Exhibitions and the Development of New Solutions for Use in the Production of Such Exhibits

Jessica Sack
Yale University Art Gallery (USA)
The Opportunities and Barriers for Teaching Teachers to use Museum Collections as Primary Sources (Merit Award)

Richard P. Sandell
Leicester University (UK)
Museums and the Combating of Prejudice

Eric Sandweiss
History Department, University of Indiana (USA)
The City's Museum and the Museum's City: The Urban Landscape and Museum Practice in Europe and North America (1850-2000)

Tine Seligmann
Learning Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark)
May I Share a Story with You? On Different Approaches to User Involvement (Merit Award)

Luciana Sepulveda Koptcke
Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (Brazil)
The Overlapping Agendas of Health Promotion and Culture Accessibility: How Could Museum Make a Difference?

Niyatee Shinde
Birla Academy of Art & Culture (India)
The Philosophies, Methodologies, and Practices Across the Spectrum of Photographic Collections in Museums and Archives, While Identifying Ways in Which Interdisciplinary Access to Photographs can be Broadened

Cindi Steffan
The Manitoba Museum (Canada)
An Examination of Best Practices in Alternative Work Models: Looking at Successful Implementation within the Museum Sector

Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert
Cyprus University of Technology and Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Lab (Cyprus)
Museums and Visitor Photography: Art Experience, Reproduction, and Memory

Andrew Jay Svedlow
Winthrop University (USA)
Life Long Learning and Museums: In Pursuit of Andragogy

Mac Swackhammer
Dawson City Museum and Historical Society (Canada)
A Project to Examine and Compare Experiences with, and Attitudes toward, Repatriation of First Nations Material and Documentary Heritage, in Some Canadian and United States Museums, with the Intent to Develop Models for Repatriation Negotiations and Activities

Gail Thakur
Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland (USA)
From Historical Trauma to Museum Exhibition: The Social Life of Material Self-Expression in the Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese-American Internment Camps, 1942–1946 (Merit Award)

Selma Thomas
Independent Scholar (USA)
An Examination into the Impact of Web 2.0 on Museum Exhibitions

Martin Tillett
Howard B. Owens Science Center (USA)
The Development of Science Education Lessons about Maryland Dinosaurs

Stefan Toepler
George Mason University (USA)
Museum Merchandising: An Exploration of its Uses and Limitations

Peter H. Welsh
Arizona State University (USA)
Paradox in Museum Practice

Karin Wiltschke-Schrotta
Vienna Museum of Natural History (Austria)
Issues Related to the Manner in which Human Remains are Presented in Museum Exhibitions

Tongyun Yin
Tsinghua University (China)
Dynamic Intersection: Museums and the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Alessia Zorloni
Strategic Management for Contemporary Art, Austrian Science Fund (Austria)
Achieving Excellence: Investigation into the Use of Performance Indicators in Museums