The Cole Fellowship Program


Cole Fellowship 2022-2023 | Application Period Ended

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. Fellows participate in the research and interpretation of the work, home, and studios of the artist, Thomas Cole (1801-1848). Four candidates are invited to join the site June 1, 2022-May 28, 2023.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site (TCNHS) preserves and interprets the home and studios of Thomas Cole, the artist, writer, and founder of the Hudson River School of painting. Cole’s profound influence on the cultural landscape in the United States inspires us to engage broad audiences through programs and exhibitions that are relevant today.

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 classes with award winning Broadway Director and TCNHS Board member, Warner Shook.
  • Lead tours of the historic site, galleries, and have full engagement in interpretive programming.
  • Participate in various activities and site-wide staff meetings to learn about the structural, strategic, and creative decisions ?involved in the day-to-day operations of a historic artists’ house museum.
  • Attend monthly field trips and site visits to museums and cultural venues; benefit from professional development opportunities including resume review and next step planning based on individual career 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 $600.

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 for the entire program is required. The work-week is Wednesday-Sunday. If site is closed in winter months, week shifts to Monday-Friday.


Applications must include:

  • Brief letter of introduction describing your interest in the Fellowship and career goals
  • Resume
  • References – Include the names and full contact information for 3 people (professors, teachers, and/or employers only)
  • Writing sample (2 to 5 pages MAX please)

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

SEND by email labeled application materials (PDF files only) to Kate Menconeri, Curator:

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


Words from a few of our Fellows:

The Cole Fellowship Program provides the space for recent graduates to join a supportive community that is incredibly invested in your professional growth within the museum and art history field. Your voice as a Fellow is heard in meaningful and substantial ways. 

Amanda Malmstrom, Cole Fellow 2018-2019

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, Cole Fellow 2016

It was an incredible experience, more than I thought it would be. I saw every level of museum management — other places only showed me one department. It allowed me to experience a museum as a whole. The professional development was great, with access to high-level people. It led directly to a job. 

John Kingsley, 2011 Cole Fellow


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.

Support for the Cole Fellowship program is provided by Lisa Fox Martin, Anne & Arthur Grey Foundation, Richard & Elizabeth Mason, Alison Lankenau, Mr. & Mrs. Charles M. Royce 

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