Careers & Internships
Mellon Curatorial Fellowship

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship

Undergraduate students: Spend a week in the museum learning the ins and outs of curating

Do you know that curators are responsible for the following?

Developing exhibitions

Researching the collection

Writing labels, text panels, articles, books, etc.

Acquiring works of art to strengthen the collection

Collaborating with museum staff and community members

Engaging the community to foster conversations about art and its meaning

Curators are experts in a specific field and they are tasked with finding creative ways to share and safeguard the collection. Curating offers the opportunity to explore a museum’s collection through a variety of different lenses, such as cultural, political, social, etc.

Through the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, we aim to help develop the next generation of curators.

The Program is divided into two components: the Summer Academy and 2-year Fellowships.

Summer Academy: Introduction to curatingMellon fellow examining sculpture by Degas
The Summer Academy is a one-week immersion program designed to provide a rich experience in the museum environment and expose the participants to career options related to art and art history. Each Summer Academy includes workshops, tours, group and individual projects, and discussions.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Academy is rescheduled for either:

In person: August 1-7, 2021


Virtual experience: August 1–14, 2021, with 2-3 hours of daily scheduled programming with additional individual and group work assigned.

Number of Participants: 15 students

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Undergraduate students of color;
  2. Undergraduates enrolled at a university, college or community college within the Kansas City Region (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas);
  3. Undergraduates who, if selected as a fellow, can commit to two years in the program with plans to graduate no earlier than May 2022;
  4. Students who are eligible to work in the United States;
  5. Individuals who have a strong interest in Art History, History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Museum Studies, other cultural studies are preferred.

Application Deadline: Friday, April 2, 2021.

Application Instructions (PDF)

Return to the Careers page to begin your online application.

2-Year Fellowships: Invaluable experience within the museum
All Summer Academy participants are eligible to apply for a Fellowship combining curatorial mentoring with hands-on curatorial experience within the museum.

Mellon fellow and curator looking at artEach Fellow is partnered with a curator who crafts a unique, hands-on curatorial experience focused on developing research, writing and public speaking skills. Fellows also participate in museum events, conferences and annual National Convenings with Fellows from partnering museums.

Fellows must commit to approximately 10 hours of monthly engagement during the academic year followed by a 10-week, full-time hands-on museum experience in the summer.

Fellows receive an annual stipend of $10,000.

2021–2022 or 2021–2023 Fellows selected: early September 2021
Eligibility Requirement: All participants of the most recent Summer Academy are eligible to apply.

Candidates must display:

  1. Strong interest in curating in an art museum.
  2. Strong interest in attending graduate school.

Application deadline: Friday, August 27, 2021

Meet Our Fellows

For more information about the program, please contact Michele Valentine.

If you are a faculty member and would like to discuss the program further, recruitment strategies for your campus, or other museum partnership opportunities, please contact Michele.

Program Overview
Established in 2013, the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States from diverse backgrounds within the following institutions: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The fellowship seeks to make a critical impact on American art museums by developing gifted curators who are committed to engaging with the full spectrum of museum audiences. This initiative is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

More information about the need for a diverse education pipeline into the curatorial field is available in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey published in 2015.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities; Scholarly Communications; Arts and Cultural Heritage, International Higher Education and Strategic Projects; and Diversity. Within each of its core programs, the Foundation concentrates most of its grantmaking in a few areas. Institutions and programs receiving support are often leaders in fields of Foundation activity, but they may also be promising newcomers, or in a position to demonstrate new ways of overcoming obstacles to achieve program goals. Our grantmaking philosophy is to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, we develop thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invest sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results.