Applications for 2021–2022 are due by 1 November 2020 (11:59pm EST)
The Lemelson Center is accepting applications for the 2021–2022 Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship. Given the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the museum’s reopening status, potential applicants should note:
- We may be unable to accommodate applicants from outside the United States. Due to travel restrictions, the Smithsonian is currently unable to request J-1 visas and there is no timetable for their reinstatement.
- We are hopeful that the appointed fellow will eventually be able to join us in residence, and we are committed to flexibility in scheduling in-person visits. However, the appointed fellow should expect that most engagement with the Lemelson Center may be virtual.
- The appointed fellow may have limited access to the museum’s artifacts, archival collections, and library resources.
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/emeritus professor level or equivalent) from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field. Smithsonian staff are not eligible. 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.
Topics: The Lemelson Center invites all applications covering the broad spectrum of research topics in the history of technology, invention, and innovation. However, the Center especially encourages proposals that align with one (or more) of its strategic research and programmatic areas, including 1) projects that illuminate inventors from diverse backgrounds or any inventions and technologies associated with under-represented groups, such as women, minorities, LGBTQ, and the disabled; (2) projects exploring innovation in sports and sports technology; or (3) projects that explore the broader ecosystem of individuals and institutions that support inventors, including inventors' professional organizations; angel investors, venture capitalists, and financiers; incubators and entrepreneurial coaches; patent agents and IP attorneys; product designers, manufacturers, and marketers; and bankruptcy-liquidation specialists.
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 2021 through 31 May 2022.
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.
Applications must be completed in English.
Applicants must apply through the Smithsonian OnLine Academic Appointment system (SOLAA):
- From the SOLAA homepage, click the link that reads: “Don't have an Account? Create an Account.”
- Once you have created a SOLAA account and successfully logged in, click “Start Your Application.”
- For “Program Category” select “Fellowship/Other Academic Appointment.”
- For “Office/Museum/Research Center” select “National Museum of American History.”
- For "Program Status" select "All." Click Search.
- You will see a result set of various fellowship programs. Find the “Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship” and click "Apply Now." On the following confirmation screen, click "Continue Application."
- Proceed with entering your information and uploading your documents. For "Year of Program Competition," please select "2021."
A complete application for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship consists of:
- General Information: via web form, please provide contact and demographic information, institutional affiliation, academic history, project title, etc.
- CV/Resume: please provide a current CV (no page limit).
- Other - Timeline/Schedule: please provide 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. **Given the COVID-19 pandemic, please note if you anticipate working virtually vs. in-person in Washington, DC. The Lemelson Center is committed to flexibility in scheduling. (1 page maximum).
- Project/Research Proposal: Please describe your proposed project outlining the subject matter; scope; research methodology; sources, including the Smithsonian resources (objects, archival collections, trade literature, staff members) to be consulted during the fellowship; intended research product(s); and the contribution that your work will make to the study of invention and innovation (6 pages, double-spaced maximum).
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 1 November 2020 (11:59 p.m. EST).
**Note: Get your application uploaded early! Several fellowship programs across the Smithsonian have applications due on November 1, and because of high user volumes, the SOLAA website may exhibit poor performance on the afternoon/evening of November 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, disability, or national origin.
For more information, contact the Fellowship Coordinator:
Eric S. Hintz, PhD
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:
Apply for other Lemelson Center and Smithsonian Fellowships!
Applicants may apply for multiple fellowship and grant programs in the same application cycle. Click here for a comprehensive list of fellowship opportunities across the Smithsonian. Traditionally, Lemelson Center applicants have explored these additional fellowship and grant programs: