The Cole Fellowship Program


Cole Fellowship 2023-2024 | Call for Applicants

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site (TCNHS) is now reviewing applications for the Cole fellowship, a one-year, residential fellowship at the Thomas Cole National Historic site. COLE FELLOWS participate in the research and interpretation of the work, home, and studios of the artist, Thomas Cole (1801 – 1848). This includes conducting new primary research and working with staff on museum wide offerings spanning exhibitions and collections to educational programs, audience engagement, and more.

Four candidates are invited to join the site June 6, 2023 – May 28, 2024. Through a combination of research, interpretation, and hands-on projects, Cole Fellows conduct significant research and gain professional museum experience.  Selected candidates are provided the opportunity to:

  • Conduct in-depth primary research that leads to a major project, presentation, and paper based on their work.
  • Work closely with the Curator, and other TCNHS staff on projects that may include collection care and research, exhibitions, educational programs, and other special events.
  • Attend an intensive one-week seminar with leading Cole scholar and Professor, Dr. Alan Wallach.
  • Receive public speaking coaching and participate in ongoing sessions with award winning Broadway Director and TCNHS Board member, Warner Shook.
  • Guide and interact with visitors at the site and have full engagement with interpretive programming.
  • Participate in site-wide activities and staff meetings to learn about the structural, strategic, and creative decisions involved in the day-to-day operations of a historic artists’ house and museum.
  • Attend monthly field trips and site visits to museums and cultural venues; benefit from professional development opportunities including resume review and next step career planning based on individual goals.

Additional Compensation: Free shared housing on-site in a fully furnished house with a private bedroom is provided in addition to utilities (electric, water, heat, internet, and garbage removal), and a monthly stipend of $650.

Qualifications: TCNHS seeks self-motivated recent graduates, graduating college seniors, and graduate students who have expressed a commitment to pursue careers in history, art, museums, material culture, decorative arts, collection and exhibition management, and/or education. Applicants should be flexible, organized, energetic, have a passion for art and ideas, and an affinity for working with the public. A car is helpful, but not required.  Participation in the entire program is required. Work-week is Wednesday-Sunday. If site is closed in winter months, week shifts to Monday-Friday.

APPLICATIONS will be accepted until February 8, 2023. Applications must include:

  • Brief letter of introduction describing your interest in the Fellowship, relevant experience, and career goals
  • Resume
  • References – Include the names and full contact information for 3 people (professors, teachers, employers only)
  • Writing sample (2 to 4 pages MAX please)

Please label each PDF file/s with your name and content, for example “Sally_Green_Resume”

Please SEND by email labeled application materials (PDF files only) to Kate Menconeri, Chief Curator | Director of Curatorial Affairs, Contemporary Art, and Fellowship:

For questions, email For general information about Thomas Cole National Historic Site, upcoming programming and exhibitions, and future events, please visit:

Cole Fellow Projects have included developing and curating the first solo exhibition of work by Emily Cole; expansion and redesign of the Hudson River School Art Trail; and developing new digital educational programs. Fellows have worked as part of the curatorial team to realize contemporary and art historical exhibitions and publications, including the nationally touring exhibition Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment, and site-specific installations at the Cole Site such as Kiki Smith: From the Creek, Thomas Cole’s Refrain: the Paintings of Catskill Creek, Shi Gourui: Ab/Sense-Pre/Sense, Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance; Jason Middlebrook: Nature Builds/We cover, and Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process. Fellows have also developed school lesson plans, launched art and education workshops, edited publications and transcribed original writing by Thomas Cole, proposed and written new tours, and curated projects from the collection. Additionally, Cole Fellows have been an integral part of  the research and planning team working now to re-interpret and expand the narrative around the 1815 home and studios of the artist, Thomas Cole.

Primary Research by Year






  • All Time is Now: Developing Audience Engagement Through Exhibitions and New Media – Leila Farrer,
  • Empowering Children: The Historical and Cultural Legacy of Thomas Cole and Catskill – Kathleen Brousseau
  • “Nature is a sovereign remedy”: Expanding the Hudson River School Art Trail – Casey Monroe
  • Design, Interaction, and the Visitor Experience at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site – Claire Pohl


  • The Appreciation of ‘Pure, Simple Nature’: Friends and Patrons of Thomas Cole – Amy LeFebvre
  • Traveling Through Time with Thomas Cole: Creating an Engaging Web Experience – Elena Ostock
  • The Social Importance of Art: Imagining Thomas Cole’s East Parlor – Keith Lebel


  • Catskill Calling: Thomas Cole’s 1825 Hudson River Journey – Rita Carr
  • Making Commitments: Revisiting the letters, poems, and journals of Thomas Cole, 1835-1836 – Kathryn O’Dwyer
  • Then and Now: Tracing the Histories of Thomas Cole’s Paintings – Jennifer Morales


  • A Worthy Pupil: The Relationship between Thomas Cole and his most celebrated student, Frederic Edwin Church – Kelsey Hoffman
  • In their Own Words: Central Themes in Thomas Cole’s Art and Writing and Their Continued Relevance Today – Catherine Popovici
  • “An Alter [sic] onto Mammon” – Thomas Cole, Industrialization, and Reverent Editing – Anne Rich


  • Thomas Cole’s Paintings at Home: 1836-1848 – Margot Mache
  • Thomas Cole: Art & Tourism in the 1820s – Amara McMann
  • From Passion to Painting: Thomas Cole & the Visual Representations of his Intellectual World – Madeline Turner

Words from a few of our Fellows:

The Cole Fellowship opened my eyes to the world of American Art and how a museum can highlight the continued relevancy of an historic art movement in the present-day. As a fellow, I had the opportunity to partake in every aspect of the historic site’s operations while also making my own contribution to the organization’s goals with my research project. There is no other opportunity like this for recent undergraduates and its impact on my life and career will be long-lasting.  

Marissa Hamm, 2020

The Thomas Cole Fellowship provides the infrastructure for recent graduates to grow into future leaders and thinkers. It gives a unique space to condense years of learning into action—to develop unique ideas about the future of museums, the environment, and art history. From working on a year-long research project to giving multiple tours to diverse audiences, one leaves the program with the ability to scale challenges across personal and professional silos. With a dynamic staff and loving community, I cannot recommend the Thomas Cole Fellowship enough.

Hampton Smith, 2020

Being able to devote so much of my attention towards education was tremendously useful; the fellowship is so well designed in that you can highly specialize in an area of interest while never feeling boxed in. [ … ] I was regularly awed and honored by how much responsibility I was entrusted with during my time as a fellow, but not only that, how much support I was given to carry out these responsibilities. … This meant, for example, that I was able to go into classrooms and present to students on Thomas Cole, and while I always had support, I was given the freedom to lead these workshops independently. This also meant I was included in important meetings and decision-making, and got to do much of that important decision-making myself. This was so critical and transformative. I’ve been afforded so much confidence from both the responsibility and support this fellowship offered

Madeline Conley, 2018

Working at the Cole site was an amazing opportunity because I was able to be a part of a wide variety of projects across disciplines—public programming, exhibition design, curation, and marketing. I got to design my own experience as I entered the Fellowship, following my own interests and influencing the creative direction of the museum. The professional development, mentorship, and site visits provided structure, but I felt free to explore my own passion for history and public engagement. Plus, I learned a ton about Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School directly from the experts and had the history at my fingertips everyday.

Leila Farrer, 2016

The most rewarding aspect of being a Thomas Cole research fellow is being able to wear many different hats. As Cole Fellow, you are not confined to one department of a museum, but get to play a pivotal role in all the different facets of the Site

Kathleen Brousseau, 2016

For me, it was my personal connection to Thomas Cole. To know that I was working in his home, living in his backyard, and watching the sunset from his porch was a priceless feeling—a feeling I had longed for since I first discovered the Hudson River School and the work of Thomas Cole.

Casey Monroe, 2016

The success of my endeavors at the Cole Site were due in part to the structure of the Fellowship that required contributions to a number of diverse independent and cooperative projects. …As a Cole fellow I executed research and exhibitions from which I derived pride and a higher level of professionalism. Guiding house tours and presenting my research formally elevated my public speaking skills. Participating in the Cole Fellowship is such an informative experience for anyone who is considering a career in the museum world!

Kathryn O’Dwyer, 2014


The Program Endowment that supports educational programs at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this the programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Supported in part by James & Micaela Bulich, Lisa Fox Martin and Lois & Arthur Stainman.

rootThe Cole Fellowship Program

Volunteer Your Expertise

volunteers+on+steps-croppedThe Thomas Cole National Historic Site encourages you to learn more about our volunteer program! Our volunteers are wonderful people who contribute their time and skills for an array of enriching and vital aspects of our operation. The volunteer program offers a rich and fulfilling experience with special programs and events just for volunteers throughout the year. Become a Thomas Cole volunteer!

I love the friends I’ve met at the Thomas Cole House. It was a great way to get involved in the community. – Ethel

Recruitment is on-going

Now is the time to join the fun and fascinating group of people who give tours of the historic site, conduct programs for visiting children, or lead hikes into the beautiful surrounding landscape. All training is provided; no special knowledge or experience is required except a passion for learning. While some volunteers have a public role, others work behind the scenes. Applications are now being accepted for the following:

  • Docents to conduct tours of the house, studio, and gardens
  • School Program Docents to conduct programs for children
  • Art Trail Docents to lead groups on hikes on the Hudson River School Art Trail
  • Gardeners to work on the new Kitchen Garden

All volunteers have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from some of the most prominent scholars in the field
  • Work in a beautiful and historic atmosphere
  • Share your love of art, history, and historic preservation
  • Attend educational programs such as Sunday Salons for free
  • Meet diverse visitors from all over the world
  • Visit other museums, historic sites, artists’ studios and galleries
  • Build long-lasting friendships

Volunteer Benefits

  • Free training and ongoing education and enrichment
  • Invitations to all Cedar Grove events, some of which are free to volunteers
  • Use of volunteer lending library
  • Free membership at the $50 level after 10 hours of recorded volunteering
  • Trips to museums, galleries and other destinations
  • Volunteer-led hikes along the Hudson River School Art Trail
  • Discount on merchandise in the Old Studio Bookstore
  • Volunteer thank-you parties
  • Academic credits for student interns

For more information please 518-943-7465 


Seeking Volunteers to Lead School Programs

vertical-master-kids1Enjoy working with children? The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is currently seeking volunteer docents to lead school programs at the historic site for visiting school groups. Our School Programs Docents inspire young people with meaningful information about the life, relationships and works of the 19th-century artist Thomas Cole through hands-on activities that are designed for each grade level and subject area. Want to get involved? Please contact 518-943-7465 for more information.

rootVolunteer Your Expertise