Native American Fellowship Program
Since 2010, PEM has continued to grow and sustain the next generation of Native American professionals across the cultural heritage sector.
PEM houses the oldest actively growing collection of Native art in the Western Hemisphere. Beyond stewarding the collection through exhibitions and publications, the museum furthers its commitment by fostering and advancing the next generation of Native American leaders in the cultural sector through the Native American Fellowship (NAF) program. Join a community of scholars across fields such as art history, education and conservation, whose dynamic and interdisciplinary projects cut across many facets of work at PEM.
About the Program
The Native American Fellowship program emerged more than a decade ago as part of an Education Through Cultural and Historical Organizations grant to fulfill the need of embracing more Native American museum and cultural heritage professionals. We believe extensive, interconnected networks of family, community and professionals are essential. Our program strives to reach Native American, Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), Alaska Native, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities
Since 2010, the NAF has gathered talented emerging Indigenous scholars and cultural heritage professionals for summerlong positions within the museum. Fellows work directly with and are mentored by committed senior and midlevel PEM professionals. In 2017, we built upon the success of our summer fellowships by adding longer one- to two-year fellowship opportunities.
In addition to the mentorship and programming provided, we are adding to the conversation and widening our impact through increased publication, partnerships and curriculum sharing. By introducing our Fellows to new knowledge, bold tactics and continuous improvement opportunities, we create robust experiences for all involved.
NAF programming redefines the fellowship experience. We encourage Fellows to center their community’s values as they develop the knowledge, skills and networks necessary to become 21st-century visionaries who will shape their communities, museums and nonprofit cultural institutions.
In 2016, we received a three-year $750K grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As a result of their generous $1.3M five-year extension starting in 2019, our program continues to grow.
The Native American Fellowship recognizes the need for Indigenous voices to be heard across the cultural heritage sector. NAF opportunities provide dedicated space and programming necessary for these conversations to occur and produce results. We select Fellows interested in collaborating to amplify their voices.
NAF alumni have found positions in a variety of institutions and specialties. They embrace an active Indigenous presence in their communities and careers, whether their work is localized in their home community or at a large, mainstream institution. NAF alumni experience conscious mentoring, networking and other programming opportunities through annual gatherings and continued communication with the program staff. NAF alumni also find a second home in Salem as part of the PEM family.
The program supports them in sharing their experiences and current projects with Fellows during webinars and workshop sessions and encourages them to contribute to the museum and cultural heritage fields through publication, conference presentations, intellectual discussions and practical project implementation.
Meet the program team
Conserving barkcloth and its meaning
9 min read
Ongoing effort seeks to identify and correct harmful terms in PEM’s library catalog
5 min read