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ACHP-Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Fellowship

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Posted: 06/09/2017

Smithsonian Institute (SI)/ Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)

Through its 19 museums and research centers, SI works to preserve over 154 million artifacts and specimens. The ACHP is an independent federal agency that oversees the historic preservation review process for federal projects,which ensures that Federal Agencies take into account the effect of their undertakings on properties on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The ACHP also conducts a variety of preservation programs dealing with promoting public appreciation of cultural heritage, economic development, sustainability, Native American interests, national preservation policy, and preservation related legislation.

ACHP-Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Fellowship
Internship Opportunity
Washington, DC

Description and Qualifications:

The theme for the 2017 Fall Semester ACHP-SI fellowship is Latino Heritage. Those with an interest in learning more about the preservation of Latino culture, heritage, sites and artifacts are especially encouraged to apply.

This fellowship is a joint experience with the Smithsonian Institution (SI) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). As defined by UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage is more than monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expression inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

How it Works:

Over the course of at least 10 weeks (Fall Session: September – December), fellows will explore cultural heritage preservation both in situ at a site that is on or eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places and ex situ in Washington, DC. During their fellowship, fellows are expected to spend no less than one week at the chosen historic site and will spend the remaining time in Washington, DC. While in DC, fellows will split their time between the ACHP and the Smithsonian.

This place-based, cultural heritage fellowship will highlight the connection between intangible cultural heritage and place.

During their program fellows may explore:

  • The significance of place-based intangible heritage and how it relates to public policy and discourse
  • The methods used for the identification, collection, conservation and preservation of paper, photographs, audio and video recordings, and electronic records
  • The intersection of policy and methods as it relates to a specific location and the associated intangible heritage
  • The communication strategies employed to better engage youth and more diverse audiences in historic preservation

Example: Los Matachines

Los Matachines ritual dance, with origins tracing back to the Moors, is performed throughout the New World and varies significantly from place to place. Los Matachines performances usually have similar elements, but the traditions surrounding the dance, the music, and the performance itself are unique to each location. At El Santuario de Chimayo, a National Historic Landmark outside Santa Fe, NM, Los Matachines is performed twice a year, during Easter and the Santo Nińo Fiesta.


To help defray living expenses during the tenure of their fellowship, fellows will receive a $6,000 stipend. Additional funds for travel and research expenses are available and will be evaluated as part of the application.

Eligibility & Prerequisites:

  • Current or recent undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in cultural and/or historic preservation are eligible to apply for this fellowship.
  • Some familiarity with cultural and/or historic preservation is desirable, but not required. If you are looking for guidance or ideas, a good place to start is with your local and/or state historic preservation office.

How to Apply:

To apply, applicants need to create an account on the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA, solaa.si.edu). Then, start an application for this fellowship program, which is listed as the Office of Fellowships (OF). Follow the steps listed, and be sure to upload all necessary supporting documents.

The application will consist of:

  • Project Proposal (max 2 pages)
    • The proposal should identify the your research goals and the importance of the work in relation to the discipline and your own scholarly endeavors
    • The proposal should identify the proposed site and proposed advisor
  • Timing & Budget Proposal (max 1 page, see example below in Reference section)
    • Timing: propose a schedule for each component of the fellowship: 1. DC component with both the ACHP and the Smithsonian; and 2. site-based component (must be at least 1 week, but could be more depending on interests)
    • Budget: propose a budget for travel and other research costs (if any).
    • The selection committee recommends combining travel to be as economical as possible, e.g. traveling to the site on the way back from DC (home-DC-site-home), and anticipates this allowance to be no more than $1000.
  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages)
  • Identification of a Proposed Site
    • The site must be registered or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (nps.gov/nr/)
  • Identification of a Proposed Smithsonian Advisor
    • For information on available advisors, see the SORS Guide (https://www.smithsonianofi.com/sors-introduction/) ; the selection committee recommends contacting potential advisors prior to completing the application
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
    • At least one of the recommendations should be from either the proposed Smithsonian advisor or a representative from the proposed site

Questions about the application can be directed to Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or siofi@si.edu, please include “Cultural Heritage Fellowship” in the subject line.


  • Sample Timeline and Budget Justification (https://www.smithsonianofi.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ACHP-Sample-Timeline-and-Budget-Justification.pdf)
  • Additional Reading: Fifty Years of Heritage So Rich: The National Historic Preservation Act (https://www.smithsonianofi.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Significance-is-intangible.pdf)
OPen until

How to apply
Questions about the application can be directed to Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or siofi@si.edu, please include “Cultural Heritage Fellowship” in the subject line.
Phone: (202) 633-7070
Washington, DC

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