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Field Fellowship Application Information

Fellowships at the National Building Museum provide scholars with opportunities to pursue independent research related to the Museum’s broad areas of interest in the building arts. In addition, fellowships provide opportunities for interdisciplinary learning through exposure to all aspects of the Museum’s daily operations. This year, the Field Fellowship will support the creative, educational, and non-commercial use of video or multimedia projects to interpret the built environment. The intent is to foster the creation of content that can be used to enhance design education. 

The National Building Museum’s educational programs focus on disciplines relating to the built environment including architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, design, engineering, construction, and historic preservation. Projects or studies that broaden and diversify the research conducted within these disciplines are encouraged. For 2014, the Field Fellowship areas of interest include:

  • Construction or demolition of buildings/infrastructure
  • Sustainable waterways or waterfronts
  • Design resilience for natural disasters
  • Specialty building materials (particularly glass)
  • The built environment of Washington, D.C.
  • Play, playgrounds, and learning with/through building related toys
  • Intersections between architecture and American cinema/or television, photography, or other fields within the fine arts

Research projects relating to the National Building Museum’s historic home, collections, exhibitions, or adult/family/school/youth programs are likewise encouraged. The Museum’s permanent collections are particularly strong in the materials, styles, and construction practices that defined urban America from the end of the 19th through the first half of the 20th century. For more details, please see the Museum’s collections web page.

The proposal must outline a scholarly idea that can be developed as video or multimedia content and featured within a National Building Museum exhibition and/or online.  

The proposal should outline:

  • An engaging story line that fits the concept or idea
  • The target audience
  • An appropriate format (e.g. a 7 minute documentary video, an in-person interactive experience, or a series of shorter 2½ to 5 minute videos…)
  • Any technical needs and special logistical considerations


    Fellowships are awarded for a period of 10 weeks. In accepting the appointment, the Field Fellow will be expected to devote his/her full-time efforts to the project proposed and to be in residence at the National Building Museum, except for approved absences. The Field Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend and a research allowance up to $250. Tenure must be established and completed between January 6, 2014, and December 19, 2014, in consultation with Museum staff.


    Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program seeking or having already received their Master’s or Ph.D. in a field such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, architectural history, history of technology, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, American studies, public history, museum studies, museum education, or journalism.

    Fellowships target students who have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for the doctoral degree, and are engaged in dissertation research.

    Postdoctoral Fellowships may be awarded to scholars who have held the doctoral degree or equivalent for fewer than five years. Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English.

    Application Process

    Each complete application will include a resume or CV (not to exceed three pages), two references (at least one academic who can speak to your work in this field and one who can speak to your video production capabilities), a statement of interest from the applicant (not to exceed four pages), and a video sample.

    The statement of interest should:

    • Propose a topic in accordance with one of the mentioned subject areas
    • Submit a detailed research proposal describing why or how the project supports the Fellow’s own work
    • Explain why the National Building Museum is an appropriate place for the fellow to carry out his/her research.

    Letters of reference should address:

    • The tenure and nature of the relationship with the student
    • The scholarly level of the student’s work and the scholar’s potential
    • The feasibility and appropriateness of the proposed project
    • The applicant’s ability to contribute to the intellectual life of the Museum.

    Only complete applications will be considered. Applications may be hand delivered (by Sept. 27, 2013, 5:30pm), submitted by mail (postmarked by September 27, 2013), or sent via email (by September 29, 2013, 11:59pm EST).

    To begin your application, complete the online form.

    For questions and/or to apply, please contact:

    Chrysanthe B. Broikos, curator
    National Building Museum
    401 F St. NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    202.272.2448, ext. 3411

      Selection Criteria

      Applications to the Museum's Fellowship Program are reviewed by staff and affiliated advisors. Only complete applications will be considered. Quality ranking factors governing selection include the merit of the proposal, the research and academic record of the applicant, the degree of applicability to the Museum's areas of interest, and the likelihood that the research can be completed during the appointment period. The National Building Museum's Fellowship Program does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, sex, age, marital status, disability, or national origin.

      Important Dates

      Application deadline: Sunday, September 29, 2013

      Announcement of Field Fellow: Friday, November 1, 2013

      Conditions of Appointment

      Fellowships are awarded for a period of 10 weeks. In accepting an appointment, the Field Fellow will be expected to devote his/her full-time efforts to the research proposed and to be in residence at the National Building Museum except for approved absences. Financial support will be a stipend of $5,000.00 with up to $250.00 additionally available for approved direct expenses.

      In addition to monetary assistance, fellows will be supported by the Museum with a study carrel, computer station, access to the Museum’s multimedia production studio and video equipment, an email account, access to printers, and photocopying, fax, and phone privileges, as well as access to the staff library and the Museum’s collections. Fellows will meet with Museum staff on a regular basis, and the Field Fellow will be invited to weekly brown bag lunches with staff and invited guests.

      Each Fellow will give an introductory presentation of their proposed research project for National Building Museum staff, as well as a final presentation for staff and invited guests. The findings and video/media content of the research will be shared by mutually agreed upon terms.