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The Warren Family Curatorial Fellowship

The American Folk Art Museum seeks an innovative thinker and collaborator to partner with the Curator of Folk Art on a range of ambitious projects, relating to the museum’s upcoming exhibition programs and its collection of more than 8,000 objects, including early American painting, textiles, sculpture, works on paper, and other media. The fellowship is fulltime with potential for flexibility.

This dynamic two-year fellowship position begins in summer 2021 and offers an exciting opportunity for hands-on curatorial experience for an emerging museum professional. The fellow will be a key member of the museum’s highly collegial team, with the opportunity to engage deeply in all aspects of the curatorial department’s ongoing functions, with particular attention to exhibition planning. Candidates of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Core Responsibilities: Throughout the two-year period of the fellowship, the role’s central focus will be on an upcoming 2023 exhibition – Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in Early American Vernacular Art (working title) – exploring African American representation and marginalization in early American art and material culture.

Working closely with the Curator of Folk Art, she/he/they will take ownership of the following range of responsibilities, with additional projects to be assigned according to the fellow’s individual interests and capacity.

• Work alongside the Curator of Folk Art and Guest Co-Curator to refine the exhibition checklist for Unnamed Figures; pursue loans and funding; develop concepts for interpretation and design; research objects and draft label copy; prepare the exhibition catalogue.
• Liaise with the project’s Advisory Committee of African diaspora scholars, contemporary Black artists, and other collaborators.
• Participate in the finalization of interpretation and installation for the museum’s 60th anniversary exhibition, opening in winter 2022.
• Attend and participate in periodic Exhibition Committee meetings.
• Take on responsibilities for additional upcoming exhibitions as needed.

• Research objects from across the museum’s collection; add to object files.
• Update existing cataloguing and labels for the museum’s online collections database.
• Assist with the review of potential acquisitions and donations, and in the preparation for quarterly Collections Committee meetings.

Research & Writing-
• Pursue additional research and writing projects – on AFAM’s virtual platforms and elsewhere – relevant to the museum’s collection and exhibitions as opportunity allows.
Education & Public Programs-
• Partner with the education team to develop a public program for Unnamed Figures.
• Conduct public tours for the 60th anniversary exhibition.
Oral History Project for the Fields of Folk and Self-Taught Art-
• Assist with logistics, development of interview questions, selection of interviewees, and participation in selected interviews for the museum’s innovative oral history project.

Experience & Qualifications:
• This position encourages applicants from a range of backgrounds, including the fields of American folk art, decorative arts, African American studies or history, material culture, and/or art history. Regardless of discipline, candidates with a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of early African American history will be prioritized.
• Personal qualities should include self-motivation; a strong sense of commitment; a team-oriented approach; and a deep historical curiosity. The ability to work both collaboratively and independently is essential.
• Applicants should be emerging professionals with excellent research, writing, and public speaking skills. Past exhibition and/or project management experience is a plus. Knowledge of TMS is also helpful but not required.
• Applicants should possess an M.A., PhD candidacy, or equivalent experience.

Salary & Benefits:
• Salary of $45K/annually
• The American Folk Art Museum offers a robust Employee Benefits Plan, including fully paid single health insurance, generous Paid Time Off and Sick time, and discounts on local transit passes.

To Apply:

• Application Deadline: February 1, 2021
• Application Materials: CV; letter of interest (500 words); a 10-15 page writing sample on a research topic of relevance; 2 letters of recommendation (can be from academic advisors and/or employers)
• Please submit materials to Emelie Gevalt, Curator of Folk Art, at

Teachers College & American Folk Art Museum: Teaching Fellowship Program

The American Folk Art Museum Teaching Fellowship Program, in partnership with Teachers College, provides graduate students the opportunity to work with and learn from the American Folk Art Museum’s encouraging community of arts professionals, the Museum’s staff, collection, special exhibitions, and audiences.

This program is offered to graduate students at Teachers College who are currently enrolled. Accepted candidates will teach from the AFAM’s permanent collection and special exhibitions by giving thematic, gallery-based tours, and learn how to make their unique academic knowledge engaging and accessible to the Museum’s diverse and growing audience.

As emerging educators, Teaching Fellows will learn to work with confidence directly from art objects and develop effective communication skills to address the histories that frame these artworks. Teaching Fellows will also strengthen their pedagogical skills, deepen their understanding of visual culture, American history, and the continuum of folk and self-taught art. Within the education department, Teaching Fellows will be an integral part of the Museum’s work environment.

Candidates must be currently enrolled in a graduate-level program in art education or a related field at Teachers College. They should also be finishing their coursework or working toward completing their advanced degree.

Please check back for information about the application process for the Teaching Fellowship Program. Have a question? Please email us with “AFAM Teaching Fellowship” in the subject line.


Equal Opportunity Employer
The American Folk Art Museum provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, marital status or domestic partner status, genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status, gender identity, HIV status, military status and any other category protected by law in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, lay-off and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.


Image: Sampler; Abigail Wisdom (c. 1790-1878, Nova Scotia); c. 1800; silk on linen; approximately 11 x 9 in. Museum purchase, with partial funds provided by Nancy Kollisch and Jeffrey Pressman.