Through fellowships and internships, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society helps to fulfill its mission to educate the public on the history and heritage of the Capitol and Congress. Fellows and interns at the Society have made significant contributions to the scholarship on these topics. They are responsible for the research and writing behind many of our publications, including our We the People calendar and the Outstanding Members of Congress series. While providing scholars with both experience and exposure, the internships and fellowships also benefit both the Society and the public.
Inaugurated in 1986, the Capitol Fellowship Program has provided financial support to more than fifty scholars researching important topics in the art and architectural history of the United States Capitol Complex. Fellowship support permits scholars–selected on the basis of their qualifications and research proposals–to use the extensive documents housed in the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. The Fellowship is funded by the United States Capitol Historical Society and jointly administered by the Architect of the Capitol.
Graduate Students enrolled in a degree program in art or architectural history, American history, American studies, museum studies, or decorative arts, and scholars with a proven record of research and publication may apply.
The proposed topic must directly relate to some elements of art or architecture within the United States Capitol complex: the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court buildings, and the Botanic Garden. It may include studies of individual artists, architects, or other historical figures and forces. The research must involve the resources of the Architect of the Capitol, including the architectural drawings, manuscripts, and reference collections, or material on the Capitol in the Library of Congress, National Archives, or other specific collections identified in the applicant’s proposal.
Depending upon the scope of the proposal, the fellowship may be requested for a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year. The fellowship amount is $2,500 per month, up to a maximum of $30,000 for a full year, pending the availability of funding. Each year, the total amount available may be given to one project or may be divided, depending upon the quality and scope of the applications received. It is expected that full time will be devoted to research during the tenure of the fellowship. Research space will be provided in the Curator’s Office of the Architect of the Capitol. Limited support services, including photocopying (but not typing), also will be provided. Travel and research expenses are to be covered by the monthly stipend. Fellows are responsible for arranging their own housing and transportation.
Applications will be judged on the qualifications of the applicant, the significance of the topic, the degree of need for the proposed research, the feasibility of the research plan, and the likelihood that the research will lead to publication. The selection committee will be composed of the Curator for the Architect of the Capitol, a representative of the United States Capitol Historical Society, and a third expert. The final selection will be approved by the President of the United States Capitol Historical Society and the Architect of the Capitol.
A brief report of accomplishments must be submitted to the Architect of the Capitol and to the United States Capitol Historical Society at the end of the fellowship period. Copies of the final written paper and any resulting publications must also be submitted.
PLEASE NOTE: The Capitol Fellowship Program is suspended through 2022. Applications for 2023-2024 Fellowships will be accepted along the following dates in 2023.
Applications must be emailed by March 15th. (Letters of recommendation may arrive later but will be needed by the end of March for the evaluation process.) Our usual fellowship year begins on September 1 and ends on August 31.
Applications must include:
- A curriculum vitae or resume
- Transcripts of graduate work (as appropriate)
- Two supporting letters (one from graduate advisor where applicable)
- Dates for which the fellowship is requested, with estimated time period for each phase of the proposed research
- List of expected sources of income during the proposed period
- Research proposal (maximum 5 pages) justifying the importance of the topic to understanding the history of the art and architecture of the Capitol and detailing the relevant resources to be used in the records of the Architect of the Capitol, National Archives, Library of Congress, etc.