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Fellowships and internships at MCI span a wide variety academic disciplines. Whether the visitor is a fellow in materials science or conservation, or an intern in conservation, there is a common thread --that the experience benefits the students' understanding of artifact characterization or preservation.
The Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute offers fellowship and internship opportunities involving a variety of artifact analysis, preservation, and conservation treatment specialties. MCI's commitment is to enhance the experience of the fellow or intern, providing specialized technical and scientific training. Such training contributes significantly to the qualifications of the students in their subsequent professional employment.
Beginning in 2005, opportunities for fellowships at MCI were announced through the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Fellowships with the Smithsonian Postgraduate Fellowships in Conservation of Museum Collections program.
The fellowship and internship program has been very successful, but even more can be achieved using the interdisciplinary nature of the MCI environment. Accordingly, fellowships and internships have been restructured so that the fellow or intern will be insured of a wider range of experience at the laboratory rather than sole concentration within a sub-disciplinary area.
Responding to a national need for especially more practical training opportunities for conservators of archaeological materials, MCI has designed this area to build upon existing training of objects conservators at the graduate programs. Annually the fellowships/internships provide the students with hands-on practice at two archaeological excavation projects, supervised by a MCI conservator. In between the field projects, studies at MCI provide the additional benefit of research and other projects within its interdisciplinary environment. The field projects are chosen to expose the students to a variety of geographical and cultural conditions.
Beyond the presenting the students with exceptional training opportunities, this area has broadened the archaeologists appreciation for the role of conservators, on site in the field. The recent establishment of an archaeological field school at Copán, Honduras, and the participation of the MCI program in that project, opens even larger opportunities for outreach education toward field archaeologists.
This program has assisted local museums and cultural institutions in the host countries of the field projects, by training local conservation professionals through workshops, lectures, and demonstrations.
MCI receives regular requests for study opportunities from scholars and students, nationally as well as world wide, with funding from other sources. Such requests are evaluated on the basis of the intrinsic merit of the proposal as well as concurrence with MCI programs and priorities.
Funding sources have included the Fulbright Fellowship program, Organization of American States, various foreign governmental organizations, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Smithsonian Trust funds, and private funding.
MCI’s program for Smithsonian collections staff (conservators, curators, etc.) is available to carry out independent research at MCI, using space, equipment, and expertise on a project associated with Smithsonian museum art and artifacts. This program would be available to permanent, full-time staff to conduct technical/scientific research on an aspect of their collection at MCI on a part- or full-time basis for a mutually agreed on length of time.
The Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships (OF) has announced one-year fellowships for recent graduates of masters programs in art and archaeological conservation or for conservation scientists to conduct research and gain further training at the Smithsonian in the conservation of objects in its collections. The fellowship begins in the fall.
The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute is offering short-term opportunities to work on research projects with staff members. Preference will be given to applicants currently enrolled in conservation training programs or graduate students in related subjects. Stipends may be offered for a period of up to 10 weeks. The internships are intended mainly for the summer of 2011, but consideration will be given to projects at other times during the year.