The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)
Research and Scholars Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) (Washington, DC)
November 1, 2020
Starting Date: 
June 1, 2021
Post date: August 4, 2020

The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art (2021-2022) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) foster international research on American art and visual culture prior to 1980 that relates to the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Fellowships of three to twelve months are awarded annually at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior levels to scholars from abroad who are researching American art or to U.S. scholars with an exceptionally strong international component to their study. Appointments are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research. Recipients will be part of the premier residential fellowship program in American art—one that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

SAAM is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. This collection of over 44,000 works by more than 7,000 artists includes special strengths in nineteenth- and twentieth-century sculpture, nineteenth-century landscape painting and imagery of the American West, Gilded Age and American impressionist painting, twentieth-century realism, New Deal art, photography and graphic art, self-taught art, Latinx art, work by African American artists, and time-based media. Contemporary American craft and decorative art are featured in the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the museum located across from the White House.

Each scholar is provided a study carrel in SAAM’s Research and Scholars Center, situated across the street from the museum. Available research resources there include a 180,000-volume library that specializes in American art, history, and biography; the Archives of American Art; the graphics collections of SAAM and the National Portrait Gallery; the Joseph Cornell Study Center; and the Nam June Paik Archive, as well as a variety of image collections and research databases. Conveniently located in downtown Washington, DC, SAAM’s Research and Scholars Center is a short walk from other Smithsonian museums and libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art. Regular lunchtime seminars, workshops, public lectures, and symposia provide a forum for lively scholarly exchange and professional advancement. Short research trips are also possible. 

The stipend for a 12-month Terra Foundation Fellowship is $40,000 at the predoctoral level, $55,000 at the postdoctoral level, and $60,000 for senior scholars. Up to $4,000 is available for research travel. Additional allowances will be provided to help with temporary relocation to the Smithsonian and the cost of health insurance. The Smithsonian Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for awardees who require them.

Application Instructions 

The deadline for applications is November 1, 2020. Appointments must take place between June 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022. To be considered for this award, candidates should apply to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP) and identify a primary advisor/host at SAAM from the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study guide. For general information, application FAQs, or research consultation, visit or e-mail

Review Begins: 
November 15, 2020

Job, fellowship, and CFP listings are services that are offered by the American Studies Association to support its members in exploring professional opportunities in American studies. Any questions should be directed to the program, department, or center that has posted the opportunity.