Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society Museum

The American Philosophical Society, the nation’s first learned society, invites applications for its two-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship. The APS seeks applications from recent PhDs in the fields of 18th- or 19th-century American history, history of science, art history, museology, or any other related humanities disciplines. The Fellowship, based in the APS Museum, will provide hands-on experience in curatorial work and the opportunity to pursue an independent research project, preferably one related to the collections or programs of the Society’s Library and Museum.

The Mellon Fellow’s primary responsibility will be to conduct research for exhibitions exploring the intersections of history, art, and science. The Fellow will be fully integrated into the APS Museum staff, working closely with others on the curatorial team. They will select objects for exhibitions and develop thematic narratives. The Fellow will gain extensive experience in planning and implementing exhibitions as well as researching and writing interpretive materials for non-scholarly audiences (exhibition labels and text panels, website text, etc.). Depending on the Fellow’s interests and the Museum’s needs, they may also participate in public programming, museum education, collections management, and website development. Upcoming exhibitions include (working titles):

  • 2019 - Mapping a Nation: Shaping the American Republic
  • 2020 - Benjamin Franklin's Science (2019-2021 fellow will be co-curator)
  • 2021 - Women in Science: Unequal Recognition (2019-2021 fellow will be lead curator)

Twenty percent of the Fellow’s time will be reserved for their own independent research, ideally using resources at the APS or kindred regional institutions. The Fellow will also be expected to participate in the vibrant intellectual community at the Society, including biannual symposia for the elected Members of the APS, monthly lunches at the Library with visiting scholars, and evening programs with specialists in a wide range of fields.

This two-year Fellowship begins July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2021. Compensation is $48,500 a year plus benefits, along with additional funds for research support, travel, and relocation. The Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant.

The application deadline is November 26, 2018. Notification of successful applicants will be in February 2019.

Application Guidelines


  • Ph.D. in any humanities discipline, awarded within the past five years. 18th- and 19th-century American history, the history of science, and the history of art often relate most closely to exhibition content. However, the Museum’s approach is interdisciplinary, and applications from qualified researchers in any humanities discipline are welcome. Applicants must have Ph.D. in hand by June 30, 2019
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience in writing for different purposes and broad audiences
  • Desire to work collaboratively
  • Broad interests, along with the intellectual and conceptual tools necessary for working across disciplines and time periods, and for making creative connections
  • Flexibility and the capacity to learn quickly
  • Project-oriented organizational skills
  • Strong interest in exploring a career in the museum field

Required Materials (Application Checklist)

Applications must be submitted by EMAIL only to with the subject line as follows: Last Name, First Name - Mellon Application 2019-21


  • Completed application form
  • Cover letter stating interest in exploring curatorial work
  • Comprehensive curriculum vitae, with items listed within categories in reverse chronological order (include external support received during graduate study, fellowships, teaching or research assistantships, tuition grants, etc.)
  • Statement of current research interests (no more than 1,500 words). This statement should include a description of a potential personal research project during the Fellowship, preferably one related to the APS collections or programs
  • Excerpt(s) from dissertation or thesis (no more than 5,000 words). An excerpt from a working draft is acceptable
  • Example of non-scholarly writing, if available
  • A letter from a Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) confirming that the applicant will complete their Ph.D. by the required date
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation, which must be submitted on the APS recommendation form provided
Application date
26 Nov 2018
Date of residence
1 Jul 2019 to 30 Jun 2021
2 years
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities Art & Art History History Literature Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years