The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Toledo Museum of Art
for the design and implementation of a postdoctoral fellowship program that addresses one of the singular challenges facing the field todaypreparing tomorrows museum leaders. The new program is unusual in that it blends curatorial work with the interdisciplinary nature of museum operations, according to Toledo Museum of Art Director Brian Kennedy.
We will provide mentorship, work experience and broad, cross-departmental learning opportunities that should be of great value to those early in their careers. That blend will give the Fellows broad-based knowledge and experience that is both required and crucial for the next generation of museum leaders, Kennedy said.
The new initiative actually refreshes a fellows program offered from 197078 by the Museum. That program produced 36 graduates, many of whom have since become influential leaders in the field. Over the coming four years, the grant will enable the Museum to host three Fellows, each of whom will work in the curatorial branch and be involved in expanding public access to the art collections and working with artists.
We are very excited to be able to begin this fellowship program at the same time we are embarking on new strategic directions for maximizing use of our Museums resources, said Amy Gilman, associate director of the Museum and fellowship administrator.
The first Fellow is expected to begin in January 2012. The second Fellow will join the Museum in January 2013, and the third, in January 2014. Staggering the two-year fellowships ensures the initiative has the deserved focus, resources and attention to develop into an internationally recognized program, Gilman said.
In addition to handling curatorial duties, each Fellow will be able to travel and research independently, work with TMAs executive staff and complete an independent project related to a personal or scholarly interest in museum work. Fellows will be paid an annual salary and receive benefits during their two-year appointments.
Applicants must be no more than five years from completing their doctoral studies, have a specialty in one of the collection priorities of the Museum, be strong academic performers, have both a potential for and an interest in museum leadership, and be able to make a two-year commitment to TMA.
The Mellon Foundation previously awarded grants to the Museum that funded conservation activities in the form of an endowment founded in 2002 as part of TMAs Centennial Celebration campaign and an endowment in support of Museum publications in 1981.