Interpretive Fellowships at Art Museums
The purpose of the Kress Interpretive Fellowships at Art Museums program is to provide a new kind of mentored professional development opportunity within American art museums. The program is intended to encourage students to explore interpretive careers in art museums, whether as future museum educators or curators; to strengthen the profession of museum educator within the art museum community; to strengthen ties between museum educators and curators in the shared task of interpretive programming in art museums; and to expand the range of promising career options available to students of art history and related fields.
Successful interpretive programs in art museums require formal education in art history, understanding of learning theory, and sensitivity to the learning needs and styles of widely diverse audiences. Within a mentoring environment, the Kress Interpretive Fellow develops the first-hand experience, expertise, and confidence on which to base an interpretive career in art museums, whether as museum curator or museum educator.
Kress Interpretive Fellowships provide competitive grants to American art museums which sponsor supervised internships in art museum education. Where appropriate, preference may be given to institutional applications that will provide fellows with an opportunity to collaborate closely with both art museum educators and curators, and will advance the appreciation of European art history of the pre-modern era.
Interpretive Fellowship Guidelines
Kress Interpretive Fellowships are awarded each year to American art museums for 9-to-12 month professional development opportunities. Typically, Interpretive Fellowships begin in late summer or early fall. The full Fellowship award of $30,000 must be allocated as a stipend for the fellow. Payroll taxes may be withheld from the $30,000, but any other benefits, travel or education reimbursement, or administrative costs must be met by the institution or other funding. A final report will be due from the host institution approximately one month after the completion of the fellowship (see the Reporting and Other Requirements section below).
Application must be made by the art museum proposing to host a Kress Interpretive Fellow. These Interpretive Fellowships are intended as an opportunity for individuals who have completed a degree (B.A., M.A., or Ph.D.) in art history, art education, studio art or museum studies and who are pursuing or contemplating graduate study or professional placement in these or related fields. The appropriate level of educational achievement will be determined by the host museum and be dependent upon the needs of the proposed fellowship project. The Fellowship candidate may be identified in advance of application by the host institution or recruited subsequently.
Priority is given to first-year requests, but worthy projects that clearly outline benefits to the Fellow for a second year of Fellowship will also be considered.
Reflecting the goals of the Fellowship program, the evaluation of applications is based on relative as well as independent criteria. Overall, the program seeks to support a set of professional development opportunities that offer:
- Opportunities to work collaboratively and in a team environment alongside both art museum educators and curators
- Opportunities for students or graduates from a variety of North American academic programs in art history and related fields
- Opportunities to work in a variety of institutions, including large municipal art museums, smaller regional art museums and academic art museums
- A combination of proven Fellowship sites as well as opportunities at institutions that have not previously hosted Kress Interpretive Fellows
- Interpretive Fellowship applications will be rated according to the potential for the host institution to:
- Provide a varied and challenging set of tasks appropriate to the goals of the program
- Provide a strong mentoring environment embracing both professional art museum educators and curators working in tandem
- Identify a suitable Fellowship candidate
If a specific candidate is proposed, review will also be made regarding the proposed Fellow’s commitment and potential to pursue a career in interpretation within the art museum community, and the appropriateness of the proposed Fellowship experience for that individual.
If a specific candidate is not proposed at the time of application, review will include the appropriateness of the search procedure to fill the Fellowship position. Final approval of awards will be contingent on the Kress Foundation’s approval of the selected Fellow and their commitment and potential to make a contribution to the field.
Reporting & Other Requirements
Fellowship host institutions agree to:
- Acknowledge the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s financial support in all publicity materials and news releases related to the project. Recommended language: “This Kress Interpretive Fellowship has been supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation”
- Submit a final written report to the Kress Foundation approximately one month after the completion of the fellowship summarizing the goals, activities, and results of the Fellowship, and confirming that the total grant funds have been expended. The exact date of the reporting deadline will be communicated in a formal award letter from the Foundation
Applications must be submitted through the grantmaking portal on or before April 1 at 5:00pm EST.
How to Apply
Applicants who do not already have access to the grantmaking portal must register for access at https://kressfoundation.fluxx.io.
In the portal applicants will be asked to describe, in the text fields provided:
- the proposed Fellowship program, including envisioned interpretive activities and mentoring relationships
All applicants will be required to upload the following:
- IRS determination letter of 501(c)3 status for the organization that will receive and administer the funds
- curriculum vitae of the Fellowship mentor or supervisor
If a Fellow has not been identified, applicants will be asked to describe:
- the ideal candidate, including education level
- how the Fellowship position will be publicized
- how and by whom the candidates will be evaluated and a selection made
If a Fellow has been identified, applicants will be asked to upload the following:
- curriculum vitae of the proposed Fellow
- one (1) letter of recommendation for the proposed Fellow
The portal will accept Interpretive Fellowship applications annually between March 1 and April 1.
Deadline & Notification
Completed applications must be submitted via the grantmaking portal to the Foundation on or before the deadline on April 1 at 5:00PM EST. Notification of results will normally be made by May 31. Award payments will normally be made by August 1.