The Cole Fellowship Program


COLE FELLOWSHIP 2019 – 2020 | Application period closed.   

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 will be selected to join the site from June 5, 2019 – May 24, 2020.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site preserves and interprets the home and studios of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, the nation’s first art movement. Cole’s profound influence on America’s cultural landscape 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 research that leads to a major project and /or paper based on their work.
  • Attend an intensive one-week seminar with the leading Cole scholar and Professor, Dr. Allan Wallach.
  • Lead tours of the historic site, galleries, and have full engagement in interpretive programming.
  • Work closely with the Curator, and other TCNHS staff on projects that may include collection care and research, exhibition planning, educational programming, and special events.
  • Attend various events 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.
  • Participate in monthly field trips to museums and sites and 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 private bedrooms. Electric, water, heat, internet, and garbage removal is provided, along with a monthly stipend of $400.  

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.


 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 (PDF file/s only) to Kate Menconeri, Curator:

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

Click here to watch the 2017-18 Cole Fellows’ Presentations

Words from a few of our Fellows:

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

Overall it was amazing – definitely the right choice. I can’t believe how lucky I got. It taught me so much – what I am capable of, and what I will do with my life. I didn’t expect to get such good career advice – that was invaluable and one of the best surprises. This program is unique and special, and I am so happy it is what I chose to do. Here, you get to do so much, have responsibility, and interact with all levels of staff. Having complimentary housing is a really big deal too! – Meredith Mueller, 2011 Cole Fellow

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, and it was great to have so many people look at my resume – it lead directly to a job. I now feel invested and want to see the place develop, and know I’ll be keeping up with it. It affects you. – John Kingsley, 2011 Cole Fellow

Recent Fellow Projects Include:

  • The Onsite and Online Classroom: Students as Artists, Writers and Environmentalists – Madeline Conley, 2017-18
  • “Painted by Miss Cole”: Bringing to Light Women Artists of Cedar Grove – Rowanne Dean, 2017-18
  • Real and Imagined: The Landscapes of Thomas Cole – Adam Grimes, 2017-18
  • “An Act of Love”: Cedar Grove’s Development from Home to Museum – Michael Quituisaca, 2017-18
  • All Time is Now: Developing Audience Engagement Through Exhibitions and New Media – Leila Farrer, 2016
  • Empowering Children: The Historical and Cultural Legacy of Thomas Cole and Catskill – Kathleen Brousseau, 2016
  • “Nature is a sovereign remedy”: Expanding the Hudson River School Art Trail – Casey Monroe, 2016
  • Design, Interaction, and the Visitor Experience at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site – Claire Pohl, 2016
  • The Appreciation of ‘Pure, Simple Nature’: Friends and Patrons of Thomas Cole – Amy LeFebvre, 2015
  • Traveling Through Time with Thomas Cole: Creating an Engaging Web Experience – Elena Ostock, 2015
  • “The Social Importance of Art:” Imagining Thomas Cole’s East Parlor – Keith Lebel, 2015
  • Catskill Calling: Thomas Cole’s 1825 Hudson River Journey  – Rita Carr, 2014
  • Making Commitments: Revisiting the letters, poems, and journals of Thomas Cole, 1835-1836 – Kathryn O’Dwyer, 2014
  • Then and Now: Tracing the Histories of Thomas Cole’s Paintings – Jennifer Morales, 2014
  • A Worthy Pupil – The Relationship between Thomas Cole and his most celebrated student, Frederic Edwin Church-Kelsey Hoffman, 2013
  • In their Own Words – Central Themes in Thomas Cole’s Art and Writing and Their Continued Relevance Today-Catherine Popovici, 2013
  • “An Alter [sic] onto Mammon” – Thomas Cole, Industrialization, and Reverent Editing – Anne Rich, 2013
  • Thomas Cole’s Paintings at Home: 1836 – 1848 – Margot Mache, 2012
  • Thomas Cole: Art & Tourism in the 1820s – Amara McMann, 2012
  • From Passion to Painting: Thomas Cole & the Visual Representations of his Intellectual World – Madeline Turner, 2012

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.

rootThe Cole Fellowship Program