The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) is accepting applications for an eleven-month interpretive fellowship beginning in October 2017 and ending August 2018. Supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Fellow will help advance SAAM’s new interpretation initiative. The Fellow will be engaged in both art historical and audience research; production of interpretive content; development of interpretive tools; interpretive planning for exhibitions; and visitor evaluation activities.
Reporting to the Senior Curator of Contemporary Interpretation, the Fellow will play a key role in interpretive planning for two forthcoming exhibitions: Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen and ONE THING: VIET-NAM, Art and America’s War, 1965-1975. The Fellow will participate in regular interpretive planning sessions for both exhibitions along with a cross-departmental team of professional staff from the museum’s Education, Curatorial, Exhibition Design, External Affairs and Media and Technology departments. The Fellow will participate in the development of a dedicated interpretive space for the ONE THING exhibition and will help devise interpretive strategies based on constituent feedback. This may involve research on strategies and best practices for dealing with unsettling subjects, as well as methods for collecting and sharing visitor responses.
The second facet of the Kress Interpretive Fellowship at SAAM will focus on the creation of a new interpretive video series based on the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. The Fellow will work closely with SAAM’s Digital Interpretation Specialist and an internal group of educators, curators and technology staff to produce 3 short-form videos for the series. The Fellow will conduct collections-based research to guide the selection of featured objects as well as to generate content for video scripts. Research will involve examining museum files, consulting art historical sources, and conferring with curators and museum conservators to uncover the most interesting object stories. The Fellow may also help draft scripts and assist in the production of individual episodes.
In addition to assisting with the development of the aforementioned interpretive resources, the Fellow will attend monthly meetings of the Education department and will be encouraged to participate in public programs and interact with pre- and post-doctoral scholars from the museum’s research fellowship program in American art. SAAM’s Fellowship Office organizes art historical lectures and academic symposia throughout the year as well as tours of art collections in Washington, D.C. Exposure to these activities will round out a rich and varied fellowship experience that will prepare the recipient for a career in museum interpretation.
The Fellowship is an 11-month position beginning in early October and ending in early August with a stipend of $30,000.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Recent degree in art history, museum education or museum studies (Masters preferred)
Course work in art history
Prior experience working in an art museum
Demonstrated interest in art museum education and visitor engagement
Experience in visitor evaluation (preferred)
Outstanding written and oral communication skills
Strong interpersonal skills (the Fellow will interact with general visitors and museum staff on a regular basis and must be comfortable approaching and speaking to others)
An ability to work independently and collaboratively across the museum
Strong organization and time-management skills, with an ability to manage multiple projects successfully
To apply for this position, please send the following materials to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Kress Interpretive Fellowship Application.”
A cover letter that addresses relevant professional experience related to interpretive planning and/or audience research
Name and contact information for 3 references
1 or 2 writing samples (not to exceed 500 words each) that demonstrate an accessible approach to interpretive writing about art that engages, provokes and informs the reader.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), the nation’s first collection of American art, offers an unparalleled record of the American experience. The museum is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks explore the key aspects of America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. SAAM’s vast collection totali...ng more than 43,000 works of art captures the aspirations, character, and imagination of the American people through three centuries. SAAM presents robust offerings of exhibitions and programs that serve almost 2 million visitors annually in its two historic buildings in the heart of the nation’s capital.