Applications for 2018 are now closed.
Due on December 1, 2017
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is accepting applications for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). We seek to appoint an experienced author or senior scholar (at the associate/full professor level or equivalent) from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field. The specific arrangement is flexible: the Molella Distinguished Fellow may use the funds as a sabbatical supplement; for several short-duration visits; for a single residency focused on research and writing; or for a series of lectures leading to a major publication. We invite the Molella Distinguished Fellow to participate in the intellectual life and programmatic activities of the museum; to take advantage of the expertise of the museum’s research staff; and to consult the Institution’s vast invention and technology collections (see http://collections.si.edu/). The Lemelson Center will assist in arranging a visa for non-US citizens, provide a workspace, and facilitate startup procedures at the Smithsonian.
The Lemelson Center invites applications covering a broad spectrum of research topics in the history of technology, invention, and innovation. However, the Center especially encourages project proposals whose topics align with one (or more) of the Lemelson Center’s strategic research and programmatic areas, including: (1) the cultivation and training of inventors and innovators; (2) innovation in sports and sports technology; (3) the role of risk and failure in invention and innovation; (4) the role of venture capitalists and other intermediaries (e.g. patent attorneys, incubators, designers, etc) in the process of innovation; or (5) projects that illuminate inventors from diverse backgrounds or any inventions and technologies associated with groups (e.g. women, minorities, disabled, LGBTQ, etc.) that are traditionally under-represented in the historical record.
Stipend and Residency: $35,000 (US). Funds may be used flexibly to support travel for several short-term visits, living expenses for longer residences up to six months, and related research expenses. Dates are flexible. Fellows may begin their residencies on/after 1 June 2018 through 31 May 2019.
How to Apply
Researchers may wish to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal (see contact information below). We receive many inquiries during application season, so thanks for your patience, as it may take a few days to respond.
Applicants must apply through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA):
- From the SOLAA homepage, clink the link that reads: “New to SOLAA? Create Account here.”
- You will receive an email with your SOLAA user name, an activation link, and complete instructions for creating a password and logging into SOLAA.
- Once you have successfully logged into SOLAA, click “Manage Applications” then “Add New Application.”
- For “Program Type” select “Fellowship/Other Academic Appointment.”
- For “Office/Museum/Research Center” select “National Museum of American History.”
- For “Program that you wish to apply for” select “Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship.”
- Click “Add Application” to proceed with entering your information and uploading your documents.
A complete application for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship consists of:
- General Information via web form: contact/demographic information, institutional affiliation, academic history, project title, etc.
- CV/Resume: your current curriculum vitae.
- Other - Timeline/Schedule: a timeline schedule for the fellowship period, describing how you plan to arrange your residence, e.g. several short visits, one long residency, tentative dates, etc.
- Project/Research Proposal: a 3-5 page description of your proposed project outlining the subject matter, scope, methodology, sources, intended research product(s), and the contribution that your work will make to the study of invention and innovation.
Note: We do not require the applicant to supply references or to solicit reference letters from their colleagues. We hope that any applicant for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship will have already established a sterling reputation that speaks for itself!
Traditionally, the most successful applications have: 1) explicitly explored themes of invention, innovation, and technology, including the specific sub-themes listed above; and 2) drawn explicitly upon the collections at the NMAH and across the SI.
Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted to SOLAA by December 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m. EST.
**Note: Get your application uploaded early! Several fellowship programs across the Smithsonian have applications due on December 1, and becaue of high user volumes, the SOLAA website may exhibit poor performamce on the afternoon/evening of December 1. Please plan ahead!
All application materials will be made available to the Lemelson Center staff and its selection committee, which may include outside advisors. The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, condition of handicap, or national origin.
For more information, contact the Fellowship Coordinator:
Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D.
Lemelson Center Fellowship Coordinator
National Museum of American History, MRC 604
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: +1 202-633-3734
Fax: +1 202-633-4593
About Arthur P. Molella, PhD
The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship is endowed by The Lemelson Foundation in recognition of Dr. Arthur P. Molella’s scholarly contributions in recording and celebrating the history and importance of invention and innovation in American society. During his 40+ years at the Smithsonian, and as founding director (emeritus) of the Lemelson Center, Molella has been responsible for collecting initiatives, major exhibitions, and numerous publications that have explored Joseph Henry’s scientific contributions; science in American life; Nobel laureates; foundational scholars in the history of technology (including Lewis Mumford, Abbott Payton Usher, and Sigfried Giedion); eco-cities and other connections between technology and the environment; museum strategies and best practices; the history of world’s fairs and expos; and the influences of culture, play, and place in the inventive process.
Smithsonian resources: More information about Smithsonian collections and staff can be found on the following websites: