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The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program

The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States from diverse backgrounds. The program aims to make a critical impact on American art museums by expanding the diversity of their curatorial staff and developing gifted curators who are committed to engaging with the full spectrum of museum audiences. In July 2015, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation published a report, Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey, which addresses the pilot phase of this program in more detail.

The program is being implemented at six partnering institutions. Each museum holds a world-class, encyclopedic collection that represents the broad range of artistic production across history and around the globe.

The program is organized around two components: the Summer Academy and the Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program.

Students must first apply to a Summer Academy, to be held at each of the six partner museums. Summer Academies are one-week immersion programs designed to provide a rich experience in the museum environment and expose the participants to career options related to art and art history. The Summer Academy introduces students to the many departments across the museum and its staff, with an emphasis on the curatorial field. Each Summer Academy includes workshops, tours, field trips, and networking events with museum professionals. Fifteen students will be selected to participate in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 2018 Summer Academy during the week of June 17-24. At the end of each Summer Academy, participants are invited to apply for the Fellowship Program.

Fellows participate in the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program throughout their undergraduate career with the goal of entering into a graduate program. The two-year fellowships provide students with hands-on experience inside a museum setting, working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Fellows are matched with a museum mentor/curator who works to enrich the academic experience and broaden the fellow’s understanding of art and art history. Fellowships are part time during the academic school year and full-time during the summer at a partner museum. Fellows receive a yearly stipend of $10,000.

Eligibility Requirements >>

The program is intended specifically for undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field. Applicants should express an interest in art, art history, or the museum field. In addition to having a strong academic record, applicants should be able to demonstrate, through areas of study, extracurricular activities, background, or other experiences, how they will contribute to the program.

Who is eligible to apply?
  • Individuals from historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field
  • Undergraduates currently enrolled at a university, college, or community college
  • Undergraduates who, if selected as a fellow, can commit to two years in the program prior to graduating (typically a current freshman or sophomore student)
  • Individuals who are eligible to work in the United States

What other qualifications are preferred?
  • Demonstrated interest in art, art history, or the museum field
  • Enrollment at a university, college, or community college located near a partner museum
  • Openness to the idea of pursuing a masters or doctorate degree in the arts or museum field

How to Apply >>

Students must first apply to a Summer Academy.

Please complete the following application materials by January 31, 2018:

Application Form

Please include your personal statement, résumé, and transcripts when you submit your application. Application materials should be submitted as PDFs.

Personal Statement

Please limit the personal statement to no more than 700 words and be sure to address the following:
  • What interests you about the Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program? The program, which is supported by the Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the diversity of curatorial ranks in American art museums. Do you think this is important? Please explain.
  • Describe why you consider yourself to be a student representing diversity in terms of culture, background, or experience, and why you feel committed to representing diverse perspectives. How do questions of diversity shape your academic interests?
  • Drawing on your extracurricular activities, areas of study, background, or other experiences, explain how you can contribute to the Mellon Foundation’s initiative.
  • Provide an example of an experience where you were able to offer a diverse perspective to a project, discussion, or dialogue, and explain the impact you had.

Résumé

Please be sure to include relevant employment and volunteer experiences as well as computer and language skills.

Transcripts

Please provide unofficial transcripts for your entire undergraduate career, including the college or university you currently attend and any you may have previously attended.

One Letter of Recommendation

Applicants must have one confidential letter of recommendation submitted by a faculty member at your college or university or a past or current employer who is familiar with your skills and abilities. The letter of recommendation must be submitted via email to by the application deadline. The recommendation must come directly from the recommender’s institutional e-mail address and should clearly indicate the applicant’s name in the subject line.

FAQ >>

Summer Academy

What is the Summer Academy?
Summer Academies are one-week immersion programs designed to provide a rich experience in the museum environment and expose the participants to career options related to art and art history. Each Summer Academy includes workshops, tours, field trips, and networking events with museum professionals.

How long is the Summer Academy?
Summer Academy participants spend one week at their host museum.

When will the 2018 Summer Academy take place?
The PMA’s 2018 Summer Academy will be held during the week of June 17-24.

Is there financial support to participate?
Yes. Summer Academy participants receive a modest per diem for the week. If students do not live in the host museum area, a modest travel stipend may be provided. Housing arrangements are also made for participants.

How many students will be selected?
Fifteen.

When will students be notified if they have been selected to participate?
Students will be notified in April for the PMA’s 2018 Summer Academy. Notification dates may vary at partner museums.

Should students attend a college close to one of the partner museums?
Yes, this is preferred. Participants in the Summer Academy who are selected for the Fellowship Program will be paired with a curatorial mentor at the host museum with whom they will work on projects and meet regularly during the academic year and summer.


The Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program

What is the Fellowship Program?
The Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program is a multiyear program providing fellows with hands-on experience inside a museum setting, working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs.

How long is the Fellowship Program?
Fellows can expect to spend two years at their host museum. During the academic year, fellows must meet with their mentors and with a local program coordinator on a regular basis. In the summer, fellows will have ten-week, full-time fellowships. Fellows will also participate in a yearly national convening at one of the partner museums rotating annually and will engage their counterparts across the country in an online community platform.

Is there financial support to participate?
Yes. Once selected as a fellow, students will receive a yearly stipend of $10,000. A housing and travel stipend may also be provided to fellows during the summer.

How are fellows selected?
Students must first participate in the Summer Academy. After completing the Summer Academy, participants interested in becoming fellows will submit supplemental materials and have an interview for consideration for the Fellowship Program.

How many students will be selected to be fellows?
Two fellows will be selected following each Summer Academy.

Do I apply to the Summer Academy and to the Fellowship Program separately?
No. Students must first apply and participate in the Summer Academy in order to be considered for the Fellowship Program.

If I applied to a Summer Academy and was not selected to participate, can I reapply when there is a future Summer Academy?
Yes, you may reapply to the program if you still meet all the eligibility requirements.

If I applied to a Summer Academy and participated but was not selected to be a fellow, can I apply to a future Summer Academy?
No. Students who participate in a Summer Academy may not reapply to the program, but they may be considered for different opportunities at the partnering museums in the future.

Apply Now: Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship


Applications for the 2018 Summer Academy are due by Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

This initiative is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Please direct questions to .

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