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Lemelson Center Fellowships

The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program supports 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 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, 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

The Lemelson Center invites application 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 back-grounds; 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; and the HIV/AIDS and LGBT Reference Collections, which document innovative public health programs and associated technologies.

The Center annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and other professionals who have completed some advanced training.  Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, DC 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. The fellowship is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, condition of handicap, or national origin. Researchers are encouraged to consult with the fellowship coordinator prior to submitting a proposal.

Areas of Study: invention; innovation; technology; American history

Eligibility: Graduate Student;Post-Doc;Recent Graduate of M.A., or M.S. or equivalent;Predoctoral Candidate (all but dissertation);Non-student;Professional

Additional Eligibility Requirements: The Lemelson Center Fellowship is intended for pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and other professionals who have completed some advanced training.

Contact : Eric Hintz, PhD

Contact Address: Lemelson Center, Smithsonian Institution, MRC 604 P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC 20013-7012

Contact Phone: (202) 633-3734

Contact Fax: (202) 633-4593

Contact Email:

Program Website:

Term: Up to ten weeks

Stipend: Pre-doctoral: $630/week; postdoctoral and professional: $925/week

Deadline: December 1

Apply Through: SOLAA