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      Jobs & Opportunities

      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.

      Summer Fellowship

      The summer fellowship program provides an 8- to 10-week hands-on experience in a world-class museum. Experience Salem, Massachusetts, in the summer and learn from experienced and dedicated museum professionals.

      Long-Term Fellowship

      The long-term fellowship provides a deep learning experience, following a project or two over the course of one to two years. The longer term position enables the fellow to forge connections with PEM staff and create a deeper professional network.

      Two yung women looking at artwork layed out on a white table

      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

      Sustained Commitment
      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.

      Enriching Growth
      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.

      Cultivating Innovators
      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.

      Recognized Quality
      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.

      Amplifying Voices
      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.

      A young man speaking into a microphone, seated on a stage with two other people


      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.

      I have people behind me I can lean on. It's not all about me figuring everything out. It's about us figuring everything out together.”
      — Rachel Allen (Nez Perce), Summer Fellow 2017
      I'm leaving with more confidence, independence and capable of leadership … I feel so impassioned going out into the museum world.”
      — Felicia Garcia (Samala Chumash) Summer Fellow 2017

      Meet the program team

      Karen Kramer
      Karen Kramer

      Program Director of the Native American Fellowship Program, The Stuart W. and Elizabeth F. Pratt Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture

      As director of PEM's Native American Fellowship Program, Karen Kramer brings over 20 years of commitment to working with Native artists, scholars, communities and cultural heritage professionals. Her deep institutional memory of and participation in the program since its inception, as well as her desire for innovation, growth and caring, guide her existing and future approaches to shaping and directing the program.

      Just as Karen's curatorial work has dismantled stereotypes and explored concepts of change, so too has her work as director. While many Native American fellowships are about training rising leaders, Karen says, "I want to foster relationships. We are more than a community of museum and cultural heritage professionals. We are family."

      Frank Redner
      Frank Redner

      Native American Fellowship Program Manager

      Frank Redner (Pezihutazizi Oyate [Upper Sioux]) is an alumnus of the NAF Program’s long-term fellowship (2018–2019). He arrived with an interest in interpretation and curatorial work, developing a deep love of telling and analyzing stories. As an alumnus, he has a special point of view and understanding of the fellowship experience. “The work is so invaluable and there is always something new to learn. Giving others the opportunity to experience that is incredibly rewarding,” he says.

      Redner holds an M.A. from Tufts University's History of Art and Architecture program in Art History and has a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University.


      Our program is open to students or in-service professionals with a Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, or First Nations background. To establish eligibility, applicants provide their tribal or community affiliation in the application. Because this is a leadership training fellowship rather than an internship, priority is given to graduate students and in-service professionals.

      At this time, PEM’s Native American Fellowship program is for Indigenous peoples who have clear ancestral ties to communities located in what is now known as the United States and Canada: Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives and First Nations (including Métis and Inuit).

      Over the years, scholars, artists, activists and beyond have made false claims to Native identity and/or belonging to Indigenous communities. The PEM NAF program’s core beneficiaries are the next generation of Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native and First Nations professionals. This means we must pursue these documentation processes to be certain that the program serves Indigenous people.

      Upon acceptance into the program, you will receive an I-9 form from PEM that lists acceptable documents to serve as evidence of your identity and authorization to work in the U.S. You must bring these documents with you on your first day of work. Please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information.

      You must already be eligible to work for any employer in the United States. PEM will not sponsor a visa application.

      Students completing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, as well as professionals who have several years of experience in the field, have benefited most from our fellowship program. However, the Peabody Essex Museum offers volunteer options and internships with flexible hours in a range of departments. PEM volunteers and interns must be 18 years of age or older. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit the PEM Internship page or contact for more information.

      Fellows are expected to work full time (35 hours per week, 9 am to 5 pm) during their stay at PEM. As such, it may be difficult to obtain or hold a second position during a fellowship, and it is not encouraged. Fellows in graduate programs should plan around their graduation requirements and responsibilities to attend, but can request academic credit. Fellows working at different institutions may need to organize a temporary leave of absence with their workplaces.

      Fellows who immerse themselves in the experience get the most out of it! Working full time as PEM employees, attending museum events and joining program-related field trips during evenings and weekends leaves minimal time for other commitments such as outside employment or classes. Fellows may also enjoy using their downtime to explore Salem, the North Shore, Boston and greater New England together as part of their experience.

      For summer fellowships, we need official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended in the past five years, including any programs just started or in process. Long-term fellowship postings will indicate whether official transcripts are required.

      Letters of recommendation should be from anyone who knows you and your work well. Ideally, we would like to have one academic, one professional and one community member recommendation, with each sharing their views about you in these particular settings. Strong recommendation letters should speak to and provide concrete examples of your character, your work ethic and output, your leadership potential and your commitment to working in the nonprofit cultural heritage field. The applicant will be responsible for uploading the letters to the online portal and will be trusted not to edit or otherwise tamper with these recommendations.

      Because applications and written materials only tell us so much, interviews are integral to our selection process. A conversation allows an applicant to share so much more. For the summer fellowships, we conduct interviews by phone or video conferencing. For our long-term fellowships, we prefer face-to-face interviews (conducted at the program’s expense) so the candidate can meet the other PEM staff members they would potentially work with.

      Our program is committed to mentorship from the start. We understand it can be daunting applying for a fellowship at an institution like PEM. We will contact all applicants to thank them for applying and to let them know the status of their application. If your application has not been selected, program staff will encourage you to apply again and can work with you on how to strengthen your application going forward if that is something you are open to. We have several alumni who applied more than once before they became fellows.

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