Updated: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Job Type: Postdoc

Application Deadline: November 23, 2015

The American Philosophical Society (APS), the nation’s first learned society, invites applications for its two-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellowship. The APS seeks applications from recent PhDs in the fields of history of science, art history, 18th- or 19th-century American history, museology, or any other related humanities disciplines. The Fellowship, based in the APS 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 and museum.

The Mellon Fellow will conduct research in the APS collections in preparation for the APS Museum’s exhibitions exploring the intersections of history, art, and science. The exhibitions take place in Philosophical Hall, located within Independence National Historical Park. As the public face of the APS, the museum researches and interprets the APS’s extensive collections for the regional, national, and international visitors who converge on Philadelphia’s historic district. Upcoming exhibitions include (working titles):

  • April – December, 2016: Gathering Voices: Thomas Jefferson and Native America
  • April – December, 2017: The Artistic and Scientific Family of Charles Willson Peale
  • April – December, 2018: Franklin to the Moon: 250th Anniversary Exhibition

The Fellow’s primary responsibility will be to conduct scholarly research for exhibitions, programs, and other related activities. The Fellow will be fully integrated into the APS Museum staff, working closely with others on the curatorial team. He or she will select objects for exhibition and develop thematic narratives. The Fellow will gain extensive experience in planning and implementing 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 Museum’s needs, he or she may also participate in public programming, museum education, collections management, website development, and grant-writing. Twenty percent of the Fellow’s time will be reserved for his or her own independent research, ideally using resources at the APS or kindred regional institutions. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to network with APS Library staff and other post-doctoral Fellows in the region’s cultural institutions.

This two-year Fellowship begins September 1, 2016 and ends August 31, 2018. Compensation is $45,000 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.

The application deadline is November 9, 2015. Notification is in early spring 2016.


  • PhD in any humanities discipline, awarded within the past five years. The history of science, 18th– and 19th-century American history, and the history of art often relate most closely to exhibition content. However, the museum’s approach is interdisciplinary, and applications from qualified researchers in any humanities discipline are welcome.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience in writing for different purposes and broad audiences.
  • Broad interests, along with the intellectual and conceptual tools necessary for working across disciplines and time periods, and for making creative connections.
  • Flexibility and the capacity to learn quickly and to work both independently and in collaboration with others.
  • Project-oriented organizational skills.
  • Strong interest in exploring a career in the museum field.


Applications must be submitted by EMAIL only to MellonFellowship@amphilsoc.org with the subject line as follows: Last Name, First Name_Mellon Application 2016-18


  • Cover letter stating interest in exploring curatorial work.
  • Completed application form, found at http://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/curatorialfellowship
  • Comprehensive curriculum vitae, with items listed within categories in reverse chronological order (include external support received during graduate study: fellowships, teaching or research assistantships, tuition grants, etc.)
  • Statement of current research interests (no more than 1,500 words). This statement should include a description of a potential research project during the Fellowship, preferably one related to the APS collections or programs.
  • Excerpt(s) from completed dissertation or thesis (no more than 5,000 words).
  • Example of non-scholarly writing, if available.
  • Confirmation Letter of Academic Status (candidacy or degree conferred).
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation, which must be submitted on the APS recommendation form provided at http://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/curatorialfellowship
  • See application form for further instructions.

To Download Application Form and Recommendation Forms: ttp://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/curatorialfellowship

For further information on Library and Museum collections: ttp://www.amphilsoc.org/library ; ttp://www.apsmuseum.org/collections

The deadline for receipt of all materials is November 9, 2015.


Posted: September 18, 2015