Research Opportunities at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center Application Deadline: January 15, 2014
The Lemelson Center Fellowship and Travel Award programs support projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. These include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, theses, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products.
The 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, while the American Trade Literature collection features 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 that resonate with its mission to foster a greater understanding of invention and innovation, broadly defined. However, the Center especially encourages project proposals that will illuminate the role of women inventors; inventors with disabilities; inventors from diverse backgrounds; or any inventions and technologies associated with groups that are traditionally under-represented in the historical record. Pertinent NMAH collections include the papers of Victor L. Ochoa, a Mexican-American aeronautical inventor; the papers of Dr. Patricia Bath, an African-American inventor of a patented cataracts treatment; the Safko International papers, documenting assistive technologies built for the physically disabled; and the HIV/AIDS and LGBT Reference Collections, which document innovative public health programs and associated technologies.
The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral 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 for 2014-2015 will be $575/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $870/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows. Applications are due 15 January 2014. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_fellowships.aspx.
Researchers are encouraged to consult with the fellowship coordinator prior to submitting a proposal – please contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or [email protected].
The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Award Program annually awards 2 to 3 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 15 January 2014. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_travel.aspx. Researchers are encouraged to consult with the travel award coordinator prior to submitting a proposal – please contact archivist Alison Oswald at +1 202-633-3726 or [email protected].