Skip to Main Content

Curatorial Fellowships

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship

Call for Applications     

Send PDF application components to this email by May 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

The National Gallery of Art hosts a postdoctoral curatorial fellowship endowed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is accepting applications now through May 1, 2023, for fall 2023. This is a two-year fellowship with the possibility of renewal for a third year. The fellowship provides curatorial training and supports scholarly research related to the collection of the National Gallery of Art. The fellow is fully integrated in a curatorial department with duties, privileges, and status equivalent to those of an assistant curator. Time is divided between assigned projects and general curatorial work within the department, including research on the collection and new acquisitions, work on the presentation and interpretation of the collection, participation in aspects of special exhibition and publishing projects, and opportunities to give public lectures. 

Through weekly gatherings and discussions, the fellow takes part in research sharing and sessions that explore the inner workings of the National Gallery. The fellow takes part in departmental and curatorial-wide meetings and has opportunities to work with departments across the National Gallery.  

The ideal candidate will demonstrate scholarly excellence and promise in addition to a strong interest in a museum career. Applications are requested from scholars whose interests and areas of expertise align with National Gallery of Art collections and programs. Specifically, the fellow will be a full participant in the preparation of one of the three exhibition projects and departments listed below, including developing exhibition frameworks, creating the object checklists, determining layouts, preparation of exhibition interpretation, writing for the exhibition catalog and/or contributing written content for web-based platforms, and where possible, contributing to in-person public programming for audiences in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area as well as virtual programming for nationwide audiences. Cover letters and statements must specify which project is most aligned with the applicant’s scholarly expertise and interests. 


Prints and Drawings

In 2026, the National Gallery of Art will recognize the 250th anniversary of the United States of America with an exhibition of works on paper that explores what it means to be of the nation and for the people. The exhibition might consider and complicate ideas of freedom, independence, nationhood, inclusion and exclusion, and identity against the backdrop of 250 years of U.S. history.  The fellow will work closely with the curators and advisory group in developing topics for thematic sections of the exhibition and innovative approaches to interpretation, conducting research, producing checklists and website content and as well as ideas for related programming. The fellow will also be fully integrated in the day-to-day life of the Division of Prints and Drawings and will contribute to educational programs in the Division’s two study rooms.  


Modern and Contemporary Art and/or American Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts

The National Gallery of Art will stage a survey exhibition of American Art that will travel internationally in 2027. Drawing from the National Gallery’s permanent collection, the exhibition will look inclusively at the “American experience” in the United States from the Civil War era to present. Working with the Division of European and American Art, the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Department of Modern and Contemporary Prints and Drawings, and the Department of Photographs, the fellow will help devise the exhibition’s framework, which might address themes of indigeneity, migration, nation-building, race, gender, sexuality, inclusion, and absence.  


Department of Photographs

In 2025, the National Gallery of Art will open Photography and the Black Arts Movement, 1955-1985, an exhibition that documents and presents the role of African American and Afro-Atlantic diaspora photographers in developing, fostering, and advancing a distinct and vibrant Black art and culture. The exhibition will explore how these photographers used their art as a powerful tool for communicating important messages and played a prominent role in an international call for social justice. Works will demonstrate how the urgency of the period spawned new and innovative approaches to making art and communicating with photographs. The fellow will work closely with the co-curators and exhibition team to produce the exhibition and catalog, conduct research, interview artists, contribute scholarship and feedback, and help develop interpretive labels, other educational content, and special programs.  The fellow will also be fully integrated in the day-to-day life of the Department of Photographs and will contribute to educational programs in the Department’s study room.  


Fellowship Period

The fellow must be in residence at the National Gallery of Art during the fellowship period, which lasts for two years, with the possibility of a third year, starting in the fall, 2023. 



Consideration is given to candidates working in fields represented by the Gallery’s permanent collection of European and American art, as well as candidates with special research focuses on African American art or art of the African diaspora, Latinx art and art history, and Native American art history. The doctoral degree in art history (or the equivalent in countries outside the United States) must be or have been officially conferred within five years (preferably three years) of the start date of the fellowship. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This is an international program. With questions, please write to this email address and title the subject of your email: Last Name, First Name.AWM Fellowship QUESTION.



The fellow will receive an annual salary of $64,957, plus research and travel expenses up to $6,500 per year. 


Nature of the Position and Benefits

The Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow is a full-time, non-federal, term employee of the National Gallery of Art and is eligible for coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program. The fellow is entitled to annual leave and medical leave, 104 hours of each per year, earned on a biweekly basis, paid federal holidays, and a public transportation subsidy. Benefits for non-U.S. citizens vary according to treaty requirements. 


Equal Opportunity

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship without regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, or any other protected status. The National Gallery of Art is committed to diversity and offers equal opportunity and treatment to all who apply.


Application Timeline and Procedures

Deadline:  May 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT)

By the date above, all application materials must be submitted as PDF attachments, by email, in English, to [email protected]. We do not accept applications or related materials via postal mail or in person. There is no fee to apply for this fellowship.

The application requires you to provide the following in PDF format:

  • Cover letter 
  • Full curriculum vitae of education, professional experience, honors, awards, and publications
  • A statement, not to exceed 1,000 words, Explain your reasons for applying, and specify your areas of research and their relationship to the Gallery’s collection and proposed fellowship focus areas.
  • Copy of a published paper or recent writing sample
  • Transcripts from the university that granted the PhD degree
  • Three references, their names, titles, and email addresses. Include at least one academic reference and one professional reference from recommenders who know your work well. 

Submit all application materials in PDF to the following National Gallery of Art email address: [email protected] by the May 1 deadline, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). Please title the subject of your email: Last Name, First name. AWM Fellowship Application.


Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of National Gallery of Art staff. Please do not contact National Gallery curators or other officials directly regarding possible placement or projects. With questions, please write to this email address and title the subject of your email: Last Name, First Name. AWM Fellowship QUESTION.


Virtual Interviews 

Finalists for the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship will be contacted for virtual interviews which will take place in late May or early June.  


Fellowship Position Requirements

  • PhD in Art History received within the past 5 years (after 2017)
  • Demonstrated interest in pursuing a museum career
  • Security background check for finalist


Professional Knowledge and Experience Requirements

  • Professional knowledge of the history, intellectual discourse, and practice of historical, modern, and contemporary American and European painting, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings, and photography, including Latinx, African American, and Afro-Atlantic diaspora art.
  • Knowledge of research tools and methodology 
  • Specialization in the areas of focus described in this fellowship description is strongly preferred.
  • Understanding of professional museum principles, practices, and procedures
  • Curatorial experience in a museum, including curatorial fellowships and internships and/or as a curatorial assistant or associate 
  • Experience in building relationships with museum colleagues, audiences, living artists, collectors, museum donors, and galleries is preferred. 


Skills and Abilities Requirements

  • Ability to communicate clearly and professionally
  • Exemplary writing, speaking, and listening skills in English
  • Public speaking skills; commitment to audience accessibility and diversity awareness 
  • Collegiality, diplomacy, interpersonal effectiveness, and flexibility
  • Demonstrated ability to complete projects within deadlines
  • Diligence in maintaining high ethical standards, confidentiality, and discretion 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, Teams, and PowerPoint
  • Experience with The Museum System (TMS) collection database software (preferred)
  • Proficiency in foreign language(s) relevant to National Gallery projects of focus for this fellowship (preferred)

Department of Gallery and Studio Learning
Division of Education
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

[email protected]
(202) 842-6257

Please do not contact Gallery curators or other department heads directly regarding possible placement or projects.

Please review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about internships.