News Release

Heard Museum

The Heard Museum has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to extend and grow its fellowship program and increase awareness of and opportunities for employment in museum professions within the American Indian community, particularly in curatorial or conservation roles. The fellowship program will bring together American Indian artists, museum curatorial staff, conservators, collections specialists and Mellon Fellows in order to yield valuable insights into the care and long-term preservation of the Heard Museum’s collection while meaningfully informing and enriching the museum’s exhibitions.

Originally launched in 2017, the Heard’s Mellon Fellows program first focused on Navajo textiles. The 2020 grant expands the program to engage with the full breadth of the Heard Museum’s collection, which includes Indigenous-made object types such as paintings, sculpture, textiles, carvings, pottery, baskets, beadwork and jewelry. The program will provide nine months of paid, hands-on training for three Mellon Fellows per year, for five years. The grant also supports a permanent position of Assistant Curator, who, in addition to traditional curatorial activities of exhibition research and development, will contribute to ongoing work building relationships with program partners and tribal communities.

“We are very grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for enabling the Heard Museum to more fully realize its mission of advancing American Indian art by offering these fellowships,” said David M. Roche, the Heard Museum’s director and CEO. “We are strongly encouraging American Indian students to apply for this program, which promises to create a new generation of Indigenous leadership within the museum field.”

The Heard is committed to reaching candidates who may not fit the traditional higher-education model for fellows. In order to create new leadership opportunities, the Heard will open the Mellon Fellowship to both university students and applicants who have not attended college but have demonstrated a strong commitment to American Indian art and museums. Application information for the Mellon Fellowships is posted on the museum’s website:

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About the Heard Museum

Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum, a private nonprofit organization, has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.

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