Mellon Faculty Stipends

Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Faculty Innovation
Request for Proposals


The Andrew W. 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. Past proposals have resulted in courses in Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English, French and Italian, German, History, Music, and Spanish and Portuguese. Grants are funded by an endowment from the Andrew W. 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.


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 in 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

Financial support is provided 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. Those who receive funding 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 and bibliography. As the Museum building is expected to close for renovation in Spring 2021, applicants should consult with Veronica White, Curator of Academic Programs.

The Museum has study 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. Study rooms can hold a maximum of 15 people and class meetings can also take place in the galleries.

Access to the Collections

The Museum’s collections include over 100,000 objects, with approximately five percent on view at any one time. Strengths include: Greek and Roman antiquities; medieval sculpture and metalwork; European and American painting, particularly from the nineteenth century; Chinese art, including the most important collection of calligraphy outside China; art of the Ancient Americas, including remarkable examples of Maya art; old master prints and drawings; photography; and a growing collection of modern and contemporary art. The entire collections database is now available online.


  • Recipients should teach at least half of the course’s sessions in the museum and make deep use of the collections.

  • Recipients are expected to spend a portion of the summer prior working with the Museum’s collection and conducting research on objects 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 and spaces.

  • Six weeks before the start of the course, recipients are required to submit a checklist of desired works for study room use

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 get out of 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)