Mellon Faculty Stipends

The Mellon Fund for Faculty Innovation
Request for Proposals


The Mellon Fund for Faculty Innovation at the Princeton University Art Museum encourages innovative curricular initiatives that use the Art Museum’s collections in a significant way. The goal of the program is to support interdisciplinary study throughout the University and thoughtful use of the Museum’s collections by fostering collaboration between faculty and the Art Museum. Successful past proposals have come from faculty in Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English, French and Italian, German, History, Music, Psychology, and Spanish and Portuguese. Grants are funded by an endowment from the Mellon Foundation as part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to strengthening the role of academic art museums in the teaching and training of undergraduate and graduate students. Research and discoveries about the Museum collections generated by the class may be incorporated into the Museum’s collections database.


Full-time members of the Princeton University faculty from all departments are encouraged to submit proposals. The expectation is that at least half of a course's sessions will meet in Museum galleries and study rooms. Faculty should discuss their proposal and access to the collections with a Museum curator before applying. Projects should be ratified by the department or program sponsoring the course, and a written endorsement from the chair of the sponsoring department must be included in the proposal.

Funding and Additional Resources

The Mellon Fund for Faculty Innovation provides financial support in the form of a one-time summer stipend of $10,000 for full-time members of the Princeton faculty and $5,000 for Princeton research scholars and post-doctoral fellows. Successful applicants will spend a portion of the summer conducting in-depth research on the objects they plan to include in their course. Museum curators are available to consult with faculty on specific portions of the collections and can provide access to additional research resources, including curatorial research files. While the new Princeton University Art Museum building is under construction, the Museum has two teaching rooms that can be used for class meetings when objects from storage need to be brought out for discussion and examination by students and faculty.

Applicants are encouraged to consult with Janna Israel, Curator of Academic Engagement, and Veronica White, Curator of Teaching and Learning, for more information.

Access to the Collections

The encyclopedic collections of the Princeton University Art Museum comprise more than 112,000 objects from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. Many of these works are accessible online through the Museum's collections database.


  • Recipients should make profound use of the collections.

  • Recipients are expected to spend a portion of the summer prior conducting research on objects in the Museum’s collections that will be included in the course. Over the summer, curators and registrars will help provide access to collections databases, storage, object files, and other relevant materials.

  • If the recipient would like to make use of the Museum’s teaching classrooms to examine objects with students, a checklist of desired works must be submitted before the start of the course.

Application Instructions

Proposals should include:

  • A course description (including the name of the consulting curator and the rationale for the course);

  • A course syllabus (including examples of objects that will be used);

  • An assessment plan taking into consideration what the instructor hopes the students will achieve from a course designed around original works of art, and how the instructor will know that these goals have been achieved by the end of the semester; and

  • A written endorsement from the chair of the sponsoring department.

Selection Criteria

A successful proposal will include:

  • A clear and compelling course rationale;

  • Thoughtful consideration of the Museum’s collections and their inclusion in a significant manner throughout the course; and

  • A demonstration of the viability of the course and the depth of the faculty member’s commitment to its development and implementation (including its relationship to other work underway).

Submission Instructions

Proposals should be submitted electronically to Janna Israel by February 13, 2023 for Fall 2023 courses.