Applications for 2020 are now closed.
Since 1995, the Lemelson Center has supported oral and video documentation of contemporary inventors and inventions such as the SmartLevel, a high-tech electronic level; the Gerber Cutter, a computer controlled fabric cutter invented by H. Joseph Gerber; the Sendzimir “Z” Mill for cold rolling steel invented by Tadeusz Sendzimir; and the windsurfer invented by S. Newman Darby.
To encourage use of its invention-related collections, the Lemelson Center offers short-term travel awards. Awards are $150 per day for a maximum of 10 business days (Monday-Friday). No additional funds will be granted for travel. The travel award may be used to cover transportation and living expenses, and copying pertinent archival resources. All funds awarded are subject to tax and non-US applicants should inquire about visa status and tax implications. Scholars, graduate students, and independent researchers not residing or attending school within commuting distance of the National Museum of American History may apply for this program. Awards may not be used to extend other Smithsonian appointments. Only one award can be offered to a visitor within a 12-month period.
Decisions are made on the basis of recommendation and review by the Smithsonian staff.
- Recipients must commence and complete their research at the National Museum of American History within one year of being notified of the award.
- Recipients are requested to submit a short report on their research at the National Museum of American History. Edited versions or excerpts from these reports may be used in the Lemelson Center's publications.
- Recipients are asked to provide the Center with a copy of any publication resulting from research conducted as a result of the award.
The Application Process
Applications for 2020 may be submitted now. The deadline to submit applications for the 2020 cycle is 1 November 2019.
Applicants must apply using the Smithsonian online application system.
***In the year field of the application, please select from the drop-down list the year 2020. This is the year you will begin your appointment.***
Please be aware that complete applications must include the following:
- application form;
- current curriculum vitae or resume;
- bibliography of relevant secondary sources;
- statement of purpose summarizing their project (approx. 5 double-spaced pages) detailing why the Archives Center’s collections are essential to their research; and
- list of specific collections or resources to be consulted
Applicants must consult with the Travel Award Coordinator prior to submitting a proposal. Awards will be announced in March 2020.
To request information about the Archives Center’s invention-related holdings, contact Alison L. Oswald at 202-633-3726. More information about Smithsonian collections and staff can be found on the following websites:
For more information, contact:
Travel to Collections Awards Program
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
National Museum of American History, Room 1210, MRC 604
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Tel: (202) 633-3726
Fax: (202) 633-4593