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The Ancient Art Curatorial Fellowship


The Ancient Art Curatorial Fellowship at the Freer and Sackler Galleries is intended to promote collection-based research and curatorial training in one of two focused areas of ancient art (described below). The incumbent will work with the Freer|Sackler curator of Islamic art and other staff as necessary and participate in the museums’ activities as requested. Fellowship duties will include exhibition-related work with the relevant collection, carried out in consultation and collaboration with Freer|Sackler staff.

Depending on the scholarly background and interest of the successful applicant, the fellowship will be awarded in one of two collections areas: ancient art of South Arabia or the art of the Sogdians. This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal.

South Arabia

The Sackler Gallery recently acquired an important collection of ancient material excavated in south Yemen in the mid-twentieth century. The ceramics, sculpture, architectural pieces, and other objects in this collection will be the focus of concentrated research in the coming years, and will be the subject of multiple exhibitions. The Ancient Art fellow will be central to these efforts, both in terms of collections research and exhibition planning.

The Sogdians

The museum is planning a major international loan exhibition on the art of the Sogdians for 2017, which will bring together new research from both central Asia and China to provide a nuanced view of Sogdian culture over time and across space. The project is well underway with a team of international scholars, a guest curator, and Freer|Sackler staff. The Ancient Art fellow should be able to contribute knowledge of Sogdian art and architecture from the central Asian homelands and will be a key member of the exhibition team.


Applicants should have completed their PhD within the last five years or have submitted their dissertations by the start of the fellowship. The Ancient Art Fellowship is open to scholars of all nationalities. Meeting requirements for and obtaining required visas for residence and research in the United States is the responsibility of the applicant. Upon request, the museums will supply documentation of the award of the fellowship, dates of appointment, and financial support.

Application Deadline

May 15, 2014, with notification in early June

How to Apply:

Applications must be submitted in English and include:

  • Cover letter describing curatorial experience or interest and previous object-based research
  • Curriculum vitae with contact information
  • Five-page writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation sent either electronically directly from the writer or as originals in sealed envelopes signed across the flap. Reviewers are requested to comment on the candidate’s academic record, research experience, and potential for curatorial work. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all application materials are submitted by the deadline.

All materials (except letters) must be sent electronically to Nancy Micklewright at micklewrightn@si.edu. Please include “Ancient Art Fellowship Application” in your subject line.

Mailing Address (letters)

(Please note that mail to the Smithsonian is very slow. If time is short, you may wish to use a courier service such as FedEx or UPS.)

Ancient Art Fellowship Program
c/o Scholarly Programs and Publications
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 707 P.O. Box 37012
Washington DC 20013-7012

Street Address (special deliveries—FedEx, etc.)

Ancient Art Fellowship Program
c/o Scholarly Programs and Publications
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
1050 Independence Ave., SW
Washington DC 20560

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.