Research Opportunities at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center
Applications Due: 1 December 2017
Through its fellowships and travel grants, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation supports research projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. Projects may include (but are not limited to) historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products.
Our programs provide access to the expertise of the Institution's research staff and the vast invention and technology collections of the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The NMAH Archives Center documents both individuals and firms across a range of time periods and subject areas. Representative collections include the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, ca. 1840-1994 and the Earl S. Tupper Papers, documenting Tupper, and his invention, Tupperware. In addition, the NMAH Library offers long runs of historical technology serials like Scientific American and American Machinist, and the American Trade Literature collection, which includes 300,000 catalogs, technical manuals, and advertising brochures for some 30,000 firms, primarily from 1880-1945. For a comprehensive catalog of objects, manuscripts, images and research materials available at the NMAH (and other Smithsonian units), see http://www.collections.si.edu/.
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.
The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship supports the work of 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 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. The stipend is $35,000. 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. Applications are due December 1, 2017. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.si.edu/arthur-molella-distinguished-fellowship. Applicants may wish to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal – contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or email@example.com.
The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral and experienced scholars, and other professionals who have completed advanced training. Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, D.C. area, to participate in the Center's activities, and to make a presentation of their work to colleagues at the museum. Fellowship tenure is based upon the applicants’ stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of ten weeks. Stipends will be $630/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $925/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows. Applications are due December 1, 2017. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.si.edu/lemelson-center-fellowship-program. Researchers may wish to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal – contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Award Program annually awards 3 to 4 short-term travel grants to encourage the use of its invention-related collections. Awards are $150 per day for a maximum of 10 business days and may be used to cover transportation, living, and reproduction expenses; they are intended only for applicants who reside or attend school beyond commuting distance of the NMAH. Applications are due December 1, 2017. See http://invention.si.edu/lemelson-center-travel-collections-awards for application procedures and additional information. Researchers may wish to consult with the travel award coordinator before submitting a proposal – contact archivist Alison Oswald at +1 202-633-3726 or email@example.com.