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Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Opportunity: Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, November 4. 2008 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.


The Lemelson Center offers two different ways for researchers to receive financial support while using the invention-related collections at the Smithsonian. The Fellowship Program provides a prorated stipend for up to ten weeks and is currently accepting applications until the January 15, 2009 deadline. The Travel to Collections Award offers researchers a travel allowance and a stipend for up to 21 days and accepts applications year-round.

These programs support research projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society may include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects resulting in publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, and multimedia products. [Ed: emphasis mine.]

The Archives Center holds more than 14,000 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 inventor 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.

Since 1995 the Lemelson Center has supported oral and video documentation of contemporary inventors and inventions, covering inventions in a variety of fields, such as healthcare, consumer electronics, and toys.

The Lemelson Center was established at the National Museum of American History in 1995 through a gift from The Lemelson Foundation. Jerome Lemelson (1923-1997) was an independent inventor who earned more than 600 patents, representing one of the largest patent portfolios in America's history.

The Center's mission is to document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation, to encourage inventive creativity in young people, and to foster an appreciation for the central role invention and innovation play in the history of the United States.

For more information about these programs, including deadlines, eligibility, and application forms and procedures, please visit: http://invention.smithsonian.org/research_opps
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