The Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional Program began in 2002 in response to staff members from Affiliate organizations seeking additional training and specialized experience.
Through a competitive application process, Visiting Professionals are selected to come to the Smithsonian once a calendar year to meet and work with Smithsonian staff in a subject area or on a project specifically applicable to their organizational and professional goals. Visiting Professionals typically work full-time (40 hours per week) at the Smithsonian for two weeks. Visiting Professional programs may be completed during any two consecutive weeks during the calendar year that best suits the Affiliate staff member's and Smithsonian staff member's schedules. Drawing upon resources and expertise at the Smithsonian, the program provides a supervised professional development experience. In addition to building capacity and skills, Visiting Professionals often also build lifelong networks and a series of professional contacts.
The Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional Program is designed for Affiliate museum professionals at Affiliate organizations who are either beginning their careers and are seeking to gain more experience, or are mid-level professionals who find themselves with newly added job responsibilities. Applicants must be full-time staff members at an official Smithsonian Affiliate.
A Visiting Professional receives $350.00 per week, or a total of $700.00. Payments are officially distributed via the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships.
Candidates for a Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional award must complete the application materials, which include a nomination by his/her home organization. All application materials are then reviewed and evaluated by Smithsonian Affiliations and a candidate's potential project supervisors. Selection criteria are based upon the availability of Smithsonian resources, the relationship of the proposed project to the Affiliate organization's goals, and the relationship of the proposed project to the applicant's professional goals. Smithsonian Affiliations will provide candidates and Affiliate organizations with information regarding the status of applications and will notify the candidates of final selections. Not all candidates will be accepted. Candidates may be required to successfully pass a background investigation and be fingerprinted.
Projects should not only reflect the need of an Affiliate but also the professional objectives of the candidate. It is encouraged that projects suggest a general topic or discipline to be studied. Projects can be in a variety of museum areas, including curatorial research, exhibition design, collections management and administration. Finally, projects should allow a Visiting Professional to develop a new skill or solve a challenge related to his/her professional objectives.
Click here for examples of past Visiting Professional projects.
Please apply using the Smithsonian online application system https://solaa.si.edu. Once registered and logged in you will need to complete the requested information.
A complete application package must include:
Smithsonian Affiliations requires each Visiting Professional to submit one (1) final written report:
This final report (2 pages typed) is the Visiting Professional's opportunity to summarize and assess his/her experience while at the Smithsonian, as well as to characterize how s/he intends to apply the new skills or knowledge back at the Affiliate organization. Project reports may be shared with Smithsonian staff, or used in promotional material as appropriate.
Selected candidates have the opportunity to complete their program during any consecutive two-weeks from January through September each year. Smithsonian Affiliations will provide candidates and Affiliate organizations with information regarding the status of applications and will notify the candidates of approval based on their proposed dates of choice and Smithsonian staff availability.
Visiting Professionals Program 2015:
Visiting Professionals Program 2016:
Any questions regarding application procedures may be directed to Elizabeth Bugbee at Smithsonian Affiliations by sending an e-mail to BugbeeE@si.edu.