Elizabeth Perkins Fellows Program


Silk Taffeta Dress Faubourg, St. Honoré, Paris, ca. 1867
Bequest of Elizabeth Bishop Perkins - H.1983.062

The Fellowship is an intensive ten-week program in research and hands-on museum practice. The experience includes exposure to museum education, development, and administration issues as they relate to curatorial activity and exhibit development. The fellow will work on site in the archives, collections and historic structures, attend professional staff meetings and have opportunities to meet and network with other regional museum professionals. The 2015 Fellowship will consist of curatorial work in the Museum’s collections and the preparation of a final report or project. The Fellowship may include field trips to other museums in northern New England. Field trips are planned by the Fellow and appropriate staff and are related to the projects and interpretative themes.

The Fellow will receive the Breckenridge Patterson Perkins stipend in the amount of $3,000 for the ten-week period. The ten weeks may be applied to either the summer or fall semester. Room and board are not provided.

Program Location

The Fellowship is centered at the Museums of Old York in York, Maine. Settled in 1631, York is located on the southern coast of Maine. The immediate area offers a density of historic villages and settlements, many having been established in the 17th century. York is one hour north of Boston, forty-five minutes south of Portland, Maine and fifteen minutes from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The area offers extensive cultural and recreational activities.


About the Museums of Old York

The Museums of Old York is one of the largest historical museums in Maine, maintaining eight historic museum buildings, an archive, collection storage and a nature preserve. The museums houses a large collection of artifacts associated with the development of southern Maine from pre-history through the twentieth century. With roots stretching back to 1899 and the opening of its first museum in 1900, Old York is recognized as one of the earliest collecting institutions in New England.

Program Considerations

2012 Elizabeth Perkins Fellow Codi Lamb On the job training for the exhibit, We Draw Our Living From the Ocean

The first class of Perkins Fellows started in 1988. The program was created to provide students interested in establishing museum and cultural academic careers with the opportunity to conduct meaningful research and present it in a public forum. The most successful Fellows are those who are self-starters, highly motivated, able to work closely with others and who seek to gain professional insight during an intense and rewarding experience.

The Fellowship is open to graduate and upper level undergraduate students pursuing museum, preservation, or academic careers. Selection is very competitive. Academic credit may be arranged through the applicant’s school.

2015 Fellowship Research Project

We seek one candidate who can work independently and in collaboration with curatorial, education and library staff in support of Museum projects. The fellow will report directly to the curator. The successful candidate must be proficient in PastPerfect or similar collection management software. The primary focus for 2015 is to evaluate an unprocessed textile collection. Activities in this endeavor include: identifying pieces; evaluating each piece’s relevance to the Museum’s interpretive and collecting plans; accessioning or recommending deaccessioning; conducting research, photographing and creating a condition report. The project will include developing textile storage in the Museums’ new collections storage facility.

The ultimate goal of the project will be to make the collection accessible to museum staff and other researchers and to recommend ways it may be integrated into future exhibits and programming at the Museums of Old York.

Application Procedures

The selection committee bases its decisions on a completed application, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation from faculty or professional references. Strong candidates also participate in a telephone or in-office interview. Applicants are not required to be currently enrolled at an academic institution at the time of their admission to the Fellowship program. Also, since the Fellowship aims to expose young professionals to museum work, previous experience in museums is not required, but does demonstrate a strong interest in the field. Completed applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on April 6, 2015. A decision will be made by mid-April.

Contact Information For more information about the Elizabeth Perkins Fellowship Program, please contact: Cynthia Young-Gomes, Curator Museums of Old York P.O. Box 312 York, ME 03909 curator@oldyork.org P: (207) 363-4974 x20 F: (207) 363-4021