The Cole Fellowship Program


COLE FELLOWS Class of 2021

Announcement coming soon

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site (TCNHS) has completed its application review for the Cole Fellowship Class of 2020-2021. We will soon be announcing our newest Class of Cole Fellows. 

Please check back in December of 2021 for information on applying to the Cole Fellows Class of 2022.

The Cole Fellowship is a one-year residential research and professional development program at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Each year four new Fellows are invited to join the site and participate in the research and interpretation of the work, home, and studios of the artist, Thomas Cole (1801–1848). Through a combination of research, seminars, and hands-on projects, Cole Fellows conduct significant primary research and gain professional museum experience.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site (TCNHS) 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. Alan 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.
  • Participate in 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.
  • 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.


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.

rootThe Cole Fellowship Program