Curatorial Fellowship in Ancient Near Eastern Art, USA

Publish Date: Oct 13, 2015

Deadline: Nov 15, 2015


The two-year Curatorial Fellowship in Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries is intended to promote the arts of the region within all dimensions of the museum’s programs. The Freer|Sackler holdings from the Ancient Near East include materials from ancient Egypt, Iran, and Arabia.

Ancient Egypt: Charles Lang Freer’s trips to Egypt in the early twentieth century resulted in some 200 objects in glass, faience, bronze, and wood, spanning the Old Kingdom to Roman periods. The Freer Gallery of Art’s collection of Dynasty 18 glass vessels is the most significant of its kind, rivaled only by the V&A’s holdings of this material. 

Ancient Iranian Ceramics: The collection of ancient Iranian ceramics ranges in date from the fifth millennium BCE to the seventh century CE with the largest and most important group from Iron Age I–III (circa 1400–600 BCE). These compare with some of the finest collections in the Field Museum, British Museum, and the Louvre.

Ancient Iranian Metalwork: A great strength of the Freer and Sackler, the collection of ancient Iranian metalwork comprises silver-gilt vessels from the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian periods.

Ancient Arabia: In 2013, the Sackler received nearly 370 Yemeni objects from the American Foundation the Study of Man, which had been excavated by Wendell Phillips and his team. This is the only provenanced collection of its type outside of Yemen.

In addition, the Freer houses a collection of unpublished ancient Iranian and Mesopotamian seals, and its archives houses the papers, photographs, drawings, and notebooks of the celebrated German archeologist, Ernst Herzfeld.  

The incumbent will propose, develop, and implement a project (e.g., exhibition, public programs, print and web-based publications and resources, workshop or symposia, or some combination thereof) that draws on the Freer|Sackler collections, perhaps with strategically selected additions from other collections. Such a project will be done in collaboration with other museum staff and under the supervision of the chief curator. In addition, the incumbent will work with the curator of the arts of the Islamic world or head of the archives on various collections-based initiatives that relate to the Ancient Near East.

The applicant should have at least a master’s degree in Ancient Near Eastern art and/or archeology; ABD and PhD will be given preference.

Proposals will be evaluated in terms of merit, originality, feasibility, and methodology that will advance scholarly and public understanding of the arts of the Ancient Near East.


Application Deadline:  November 15, 2015

Applications must be submitted in English as a PDF and must include: 

  • Application cover sheet (download)
  • Curriculum vitae with contact information
  • Project proposal consisting of a précis (250 words) and a narrative (maximum length 2,000 words). The proposal should outline a project related to the collections of Ancient Near Eastern art at the Freer|Sackler that will advance scholarship and access to these holdings as result.
  • Two letters of recommendation. The original versions must be delivered to the mailing address below in sealed envelopes signed across the flap. Reviewers should comment on the merits of the proposal and the feasibility of the research plan as well as the candidate's potential for curatorial work.

Email complete applications to Lizzie Stein at

Mailing Address
Ancient Near Eastern Curatorial Fellowship
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 707, PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Address for Express Delivery Services
Ancient Near Eastern Curatorial Fellowship
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
1050 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20560
TEL 202.633.4880

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