The Lemelson Center's Fellowship Program and Travel to Collections Awards support projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation and draw upon the holdings of the Archives Center and curatorial divisions at the National Museum of American History. Projects may include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects resulting in publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, and multimedia products. Both programs provide access to the Smithsonian's vast artifact and archival collections, as well as to the expertise of the Institution's research staff. The Center offers fellowships and travel grants to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and other professionals who have completed advanced training.
The Archives Center holds more than 20,000 feet of archival materials. The collections are particularly strong in documenting the history of technology, invention, and innovation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Both individuals and companies are documented in subject areas including railroads, pianos, television, radio, plastics, ivory, and sports equipment. One of the largest collections is the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, ca. 1840-1994. Other collections of significance include the Earl S. Tupper Papers, documenting the iventor Tupper, and his invention, Tupperware; the Darby Windsurfing Collection, 1946-1998, documenting the invention of the sailboard; and the Records of Small Beginnings, Inc., a medical supply company that designs, invents, manufactures, and distributes products for premature infants. A comprehensive list of Archives Center collections is here.
The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to qualified researchers. Fellowship tenure is based on the applicants' stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of ten weeks. 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 at the museum. Stipends for 2011-2012 are $575/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $870/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows. Applications will be accepted from 1 October 2010 thru 14 January 2011 and notifications will be made by 15 April 2011. Fellows can begin their residence at the museum on or after 1 June 2011. Application procedures and additional information are here.
The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Program annually awards 4 to 5 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. Only applicants who reside or attend school beyond commuting distance of the National Museum of American History are eligible for this program. Awards may not be used to extend other Smithsonian appointments. Only one award can be offered to a visitor within a twelve-month period. Applications will be accepted from 1 October 2010 thru 30 November 2010 and will be announced by mid-December 2010. Recipients must commence their research at the museum within one year of being notified of the award. Recipients are asked to submit a short report following their research and provide the Center with a copy of any publications resulting from their funded research. Application procedures and additional information are here.