Kress Conservation Fellowships

FAIC is pleased to be administering the Kress Conservation Fellowship program on behalf of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The purpose of the Kress Conservation Fellowship program is to provide a wide range of post-graduate fellowship opportunities that will help develop the skills of emerging conservators. 

At the crossroads of science and art, the fields of conservation and technical art history demand a complex knowledge of chemistry and materials and an extraordinary sensitivity to artistic intent, as well as physical dexterity, patience, and powers of concentration. Initial training, typically at one of a handful of institutions in North America, provides basic qualifications that must be supplemented with an extended period of specialized concentration on paintings, objects, textiles, antiquities, ethnic materials, photographs, prints and drawings, books and manuscripts, furniture, etc. Within a supervised environment, the young conservator develops the specific skills, the hands-on experience, and the confidence on which to base a future career.

The Kress Conservation Fellowships provide competitive grants to museums and other conservation facilities which sponsor supervised internships in the conservation of specific objects and onsite training.


Six to nine $32,000 Fellowships are expected to be awarded each year for one-year post-graduate internships in advanced conservation at a museum or conservation facility.  The full $32,000 must be allocated as a fellowship stipend.  Payroll taxes may be withheld from the $32,000, but any other benefits, travel or education reimbursement, or administrative costs must be met by the institution or other funding.  Grant funds may not be used for indirect costs.

Most Fellowships begin in late summer or early fall, and run for a term of 9 to 12 months.  A report, whether interim or final, will be due from the host institution in September of the year following the award.


Application must be made by the museum or conservation facility at which the internship will be based.  Fellows should have completed (or will complete prior to the Fellowship) a masters-level degree in conservation prior to beginning the Fellowship.  Fellows must be either a resident or citizen of the U.S. or Canada, or a recent graduate from a conservation graduate program in the U.S. or Canada.  The Fellowship candidate may be identified in advance of application by the host institution or recruited subsequently.

Priority is given to first-year requests, but outstanding projects that clearly outline benefits to the Fellow for a second year of Fellowship can be and have been funded.


Because of the broad goals of the Fellowship program, the evaluation of applications is based on relative as well as independent criteria.  Overall, the program seeks to support a set of internships that offer:
  • A variety of specialty areas (paintings, paper, objects, etc.)
  • Opportunities for graduates of a variety of North American graduate programs
  • Opportunities to work in a variety of institutions, from large municipal museums to university museums and other conservation facilities, as well as sites outside the U.S.
  • A combination of proven Fellowship sites as well as opportunities at institutions that have not previously hosted Kress Fellows
Applications will be rated according to the potential for the Fellow to develop professional skills, knowledge, and abilities in conservation, based on an ability to:
  • Provide a varied and challenging set of tasks
  • Provide sufficient and qualified supervision and mentoring
  • Provide access to appropriate expertise and analytical services
  • Provide appropriate work space and equipment
  • Provide opportunities for professional presentations and public outreach activities
If a specific candidate is proposed, review will also be made regarding the potential for the Fellow to make a contribution to the conservation community, and the appropriateness of the proposed Fellowship experience for that individual.

If a specific candidate is not proposed at the time of application, review will include the appropriateness of the search procedure to fill the Fellowship position.  Final approval of awards will be contingent on FAIC approval of the selected Fellow (including eligibility requirements) and his or her potential to make a contribution to the conservation community.

Review Process

Fellowship proposals are evaluated by at least three conservation professionals, selected to reflect the specialty areas proposed.  Reviewers typically are drawn from past Fellows, past Fellowship supervisors, and others with mentoring experience.  The process is managed by the FAIC Institutional Advancement Director and supervised by an AIC or FAIC Board member.  The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has final approval of all recommended awards.

Reporting and Other Requirements

Fellowship host institutions agree to:
  • Acknowledge FAIC and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s financial support in all publicity materials and news releases related to the project.  Please use the phrase, “This [Fellowship/research/project] has been supported by a grant from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation” in acknowledgements. 
  • Follow Award Conditions (as provided in the official award letter).
  • Submit a final written report to FAIC prior to September 15 of the year following the award, summarizing the goals, activities, and results of the Fellowship, and confirming that the total grant funds have been expended as proposed.  (If the Fellowship is not complete at that time, an interim report will be required by September 15.)

Application Process

All materials must be RECEIVED in the FAIC office by January 22.  Notification of results will normally be made by April 1.  Award payments will normally be made by August 1.

Application form (PDF)
Report Guidelines
Past Awards
Frequently Asked Questions
Sample Application - Smithsonian American Art Museum
Sample Application - Shelburne Museum