2021-2023 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship at the Library & Museum
The American Philosophical Society Library & Museum (APS) invites applications for its two-year The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship. The APS seeks applications from recent humanities Ph.D.s interested in exploring career paths in libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions. The Fellowship, based in the APS Library & Museum, will provide hands-on experience in curatorial work and the opportunity to pursue an independent research project, preferably one related to the collections or programs of the Society’s Library & Museum.
The Fellow will be fully integrated into the APS Library & Museum staff, working closely with others on the curatorial team. Primary responsibilities will include:
Conducting research in the APS
Library & Museum collections in preparation for exhibitions
exploring the intersections of history, art, and science;
Selecting objects for exhibitions and
developing thematic narratives;
Helping plan and implement
exhibitions as well as researching and writing interpretive
materials for non-scholarly audiences (exhibition labels and text
panels, website text, etc.);
Depending on the Fellow’s interests
and the Library & Museum’s needs, they may also participate in
public programming, museum education, collections management, and
Twenty percent of the Fellow’s time will be reserved for their own independent research, ideally using resources at the APS or kindred regional institutions. The Fellow will also be expected to participate in the vibrant intellectual community at the Society, including biannual symposia for the elected Members of the APS, monthly lunches at the Library with visiting scholars, daytime workshops and programming with other residential fellows, and evening programs with specialists in a wide range of fields.
This two-year Fellowship begins July 1, 2021 and ends June 30, 2023. Compensation is $51,548 a year plus benefits, along with additional funds for research support, travel, and relocation. The Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant.
Ph.D. in any humanities discipline,
awarded within the past five years. The Library & Museum’s
approach is interdisciplinary, and applications from qualified
researchers in any humanities discipline are welcome. Applicants
must have Ph.D. in hand by June 30, 2021.
Excellent analytical and writing
skills; experience in writing for different purposes and broad
Desire to work collaboratively.
Broad interests, along with the
intellectual and conceptual tools necessary for working across
disciplines and time periods, and for making creative
Flexibility and the capacity to learn
Strong interest in exploring a career
in the museum field and/or public history.
Fellows are not required to have
specialized expertise in the individual exhibition topics. However,
general interest in these topics is desirable. There is one
exhibition per year, running from mid-April through December.
Upcoming exhibitions include (working titles):
April – December, 2021: Dr
Franklin, Citizen Scientist
April – December, 2022: Climate
Science (2021-2023 fellow will assist)
April – December, 2023: Women in
Please complete an application in Interfolio [https://apply.interfolio.com/79200] with the following materials:
Cover letter stating interest in
exploring curatorial work;
Statement of current research
interests (no more than 1,100 words). This statement should include
a description of a potential personal research project to work on
during the Fellowship, preferably one related to APS collections or
Excerpt(s) from dissertation (no more
than 5,000 words). An excerpt from a draft in progress is
Example of non-scholarly writing, if
available is highly recommended;
A letter from a Department Chair or
Director of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) confirming that the
applicant will complete their Ph.D. by the required date.
Two confidential letters of
recommendation that address the following questions:
Does the applicant have a sincere
interest in museum studies and/or public history?
How would this fellowship advance
their career goals?
Is the applicant able to research and
write collaboratively? If possible, please provide specific
How does the applicant respond to
externally imposed changes to a project in which they are
Please direct any additional questions to Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
APPLICATION DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 4, 2020
About the APS
The American Philosophical Society (APS), the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purposes of “promoting useful knowledge.” In the 21st century, it serves to advance knowledge and promote scholarship in the humanities and social, mathematical, life, and physical sciences. Members of the Society are elected from among the most eminent scholars and civic and cultural leaders in North America and abroad. More than 100 living APS Members are Nobel laureates.
The APS Library & Museum’s collections make it among the premier institutions for documenting and exhibiting the history of the American Revolution and founding, the history of science from Newton to NASA, Native American languages and culture, and the development of American anthropology. The Library houses over 14 million manuscripts, 350,000 volumes and bound periodicals, 250,000 images, fine art, and other objects. Museum exhibitions interpret these extensive collections for the regional, national, and international visitors who come to Philadelphia’s historic district. In so doing, the exhibitions aim to nurture the spirit of inquiry, promote critical thinking, and engender enthusiasm for object-based learning by using primary source documents and authentic objects. The Library & Museum also hosts a robust fellowship program, offering over 25 short-term and 10 long-term fellowships each year to scholars using its collections.
For Further Information on APS Library & Museum Collections visit:
The American Philosophical Society is committed to maintaining the highest standards of scholarly excellence while supporting a working and intellectual environment that fosters an inclusive atmosphere for learning, prizes diverse origins and points of view, advances equal opportunities to learn and communicate, and encourages the widest possible access to its collections. The APS has titled these goals the APS IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, and Access) for its enduring institutional commitment to these values.