Guggenheim Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum

The Guggenheim Fellowships are competitive three- to twelve-month in-residence fellowships for pre- or postdoctoral research in aviation and space history. Predoctoral applicants should have completed preliminary course work and examinations and be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral applicants should have received their PhD within the past seven years. An annual stipend of $30,000 for predoctoral candidates and $45,000 for postdoctoral candidates will be awarded, with limited additional funds for travel and miscellaneous.

Candidates are encouraged to pursue programs of research and writing that support publication of works that are scholarly in tone and substance and intended for publication as articles in peer-reviewed journals or in book form from a reputable publisher (in the case of post postdoctoral applicants) or in a doctoral dissertation (in the case of pre-docs). 

  • Applications open on: mid-October
  • Applications due by: December 1
  • Deadline for letters of reference: December 15
  • Notification by: March 1
  • Fellowships start dates: Normally between August 15 and October 1


Each fellow will work closely with staff members who have similar interests. Staff members of the Aeronautics Department currently conduct research into aviation history including such themes as the growth and impact of aeronautics on society; the evolution of aircraft technology; and the development of air transport and military aviation. The department emphasizes both U.S. and international aspects of aviation history. Members of the Space History Department conduct research in the history of post-war science and technology and the history of space flight, and have written major works on the history of rocketry and the origins of space science.


Excellent archival and library staff and facilities are available. The Museum's archival collection contains photographs, motion picture film, a major collection of technical manuals and engineering drawings, and other documentary materials. The library holds over 29,000 book volumes and 11,000 serial volumes. The archival and library collections cover the history of aviation, space science and exploration, flight technology, aerospace industry, aerospace biography, lighter-than-air technology, and rocketry. The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies houses a NASA-supported Regional Planetary Image Facility that contains photographs, images and digital data of the planets and their satellites, as well as cartographic products generated from these images. Access to all other Smithsonian libraries, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives is available.

Guggenheim Foundation

The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1924 to advance the "well-being of mankind throughout the world." The Foundation supported Robert Goddard's work on the development of liquid-propelled rockets and established many research centers and scholarly activities concerned with the aerospace sciences and exploration. The National Air and Space Museum's Guggenheim Fellowship reflects the Foundation's continuing interest in the aerospace sciences.

Qualification for the Guggenheim Fellowship

Applicants who have received a Ph.D. degree or equivalent within seven years of the beginning of the Fellowship period are eligible to apply for a Postdoctoral Guggenheim Fellowship. The limitation may be waived upon demonstration that a Fellowship appointment would further the applicant's research training. Recipients must have completed that degree at the time the Fellowship commences. Students who have completed preliminary course work and examinations and are engaged in dissertation research are eligible to apply for a Pre-doctoral Guggenheim Fellowship. All applicants must be able to speak and write fluently in English.

Conditions of Appointment for Guggenheim Fellows

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed for a period of three to 12 consecutive months. More than one Fellow may be selected. The major portion of the appointee's research must be conducted at the Smithsonian. Requests for extension or renewal of appointments will be considered on a competitive basis with new applications. Residence in the Washington, DC metropolitan area during the Fellowship term is a requirement of the Fellowship.

In accepting an appointment in this program, the Guggenheim Fellow will be expected to devote his or her entire effort to the research program. Financial assistance may be received during the term of tenure, provided there is no objection on the part of the granting institution and no demands are made upon the time of the Fellow. Purposes for which other support is acceptable include attendance at seminars, scientific meetings, or conferences that contribute to the Fellow's program of research.

The Guggenheim Fellow is required to make at least one work-in-progress staff presentation on his/her topic, report regularly to his/her advisor, adhere to a 40 hour work week, maintain research expenditure records, and prepare a summary report at the end of the term.

The starting date for the Guggenheim Fellowship term should be mutually selected by the appointee and the Smithsonian advisor, with the concurrence of the Office of Fellowships.

Use of Information and Method of Selection

All completed applications are made available to appropriate Museum staff members and external reviewers for review. Applications and comments are then compiled and submitted to the Verville and Guggenheim Fellowship Selection Committee.

Selection will be based on the consensus of the Selection Committee according to the following criteria: the potential contribution of the project to the field of aviation and space history, its utilization of National Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian resources and staff, and its potential contribution to National Air and Space Museum programs. The Smithsonian Institution's Office of Fellowships offers and administers all awards.

The recipients will be notified by phone or e-mail before March 1. Applicants may reapply in subsequent years only by submitting a new application.

Use of Smithsonian Facilities

Each Fellow will be provided with appropriate work space and supplies to conduct research, including a computer and telephone. Secretarial service is generally not available.

Stipends and Allowances

Normally only one Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded each year, either Postdoctoral or Pre-doctoral, although in some years funding may allow the awarding of additional Fellowships. The stipend for Postdoctoral Fellowships is $45,000 for a 12 month term, and the Pre-doctoral stipend is $30,000 for a 12-month term. For shorter terms, the stipend amount will be prorated.

Fellows are eligible to receive a travel allowance not to exceed the cost of one round trip ticket from the nearest airport to assist their temporary relocation to the Smithsonian. For research-related expenses, Fellows may also receive a research travel allowance of up to $2,000 for the Guggenheim Pre-doctoral Fellowship, of up to $3000 for the Guggenheim Postdoctoral Fellowship, and of up to $5,000 for the Verville Fellowship and Lindbergh Chair, subject to the submission of a budget acceptable to the principal advisor(s). Please provide a budget and provide justification within your proposal. See the instructions below for further details.

Taxes and Visas

The Smithsonian Institution does not withhold income taxes from stipends. This is the responsibility of the Fellow. Fellows are excluded from Social Security coverage as well, as a Fellow is not an employee of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian Office of Fellowship and Grants will assist with the necessary arrangements for visas for foreign nationals who do not already possess visas, or who wish to change the type of permit held. Normally, visas arranged by the Smithsonian Institution will give the Fellow the status of "Foreign Exchange Visitor" (J-visa). A spouse and minor children may travel on the same visa as the Fellow.

Application Instructions for Guggenheim, Verville and Lindbergh Fellowships

All applications for the Guggenheim, Verville and Lindbergh Fellowships must be submitted electronically through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Before beginning your application, you must create an account. As you work on your application, you can save your progress and resume your application as needed. As part of the application, you will be required to include the following supplemental files:

  • Three letters of reference
  • A summary description, not longer than 250 words, of your proposed research.
  • A research proposal not more than 1,500 words. This statement should set forth your research plan, indicating the importance of the work both in relation to the larger discipline and to your own intellectual goals. The proposal must contain your evaluation of the contributions that Museum staff members are expected to make to your studies, and indicate what Museum collections, special facilities, and other resources are needed. In addition, the proposal must also provide justification for the research-related expenses included in the research budget. We encourage the inclusion of an annotated historiographical introduction to the subject field of your proposal.
  • A research budget for remote travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself. Research budget does not include:
    • Fellowship stipend.
    • Relocation expenses.
    • Living expenses.
    • Reasonable quantity of photocopying.
    • Local travel expenses to Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Library of Congress, National Archives, etc. in the Washington Metropolitan Area (including northern Virginia and Maryland).
    • Supplies (pencils, pens, paper, folders), equipment, or services normally available at the Museum.
    • Computers, laptops, printers, cameras, scanners, sound recorders, etc.

      Maximum research budget allowance for the Guggenheim Predoctoral Fellowship is up to $2,000 for a full 12-month term. For the Guggenheim Postdoctoral Fellowship, the allowance is up to $3,000 for a full 12-month term. For the Verville Fellowship and the Lindbergh Chair, the allowance is up to $5,000 for a full 12-month term. If expenses significantly exceed these amounts, the applicant should indicate what other funds will be available to cover the difference. In addition, the amount requested must be justified by the research budget.

  • A bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant's proposed research, especially that cited in the research proposal.
  • An estimated schedule for each phase of the proposed research.
  • A curriculum vitae or resumé, not longer than three pages, including pertinent publications, fellowships or accomplishments relevant to your proposal.

Every Fellow appointed at the Smithsonian must have a Smithsonian principal advisor. Identify in the proposal the member(s) of the Smithsonian's research staff who might properly serve as your principal advisor(s), as well as those who might be suitable as consultants. This announcement contains the necessary information about staff research specialties and current departmental interests to help you determine which staff member(s) is best suited to your research needs. It is to your advantage to contact that person or persons as you develop your proposal. You are urged to do so, but are not obliged.


Every Fellow appointed at the Smithsonian must have a Smithsonian principal advisor. Identify in the proposal the member(s) of the Smithsonian's research staff.

Application date
1 Dec 2018
3-12 months
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities History Other Engineering Mathematics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 7 years
Award granted
US$ 45.000