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Art History, Conservation, and Museums

Program Staff

Mariƫt Westermann, Vice President
Alison Gilchrest, Program Officer
Tom Capelonga, Program Assistant
Jessica Sederquist, Executive Assistant



The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation program for art museums is designed to help excellent institutions build and sustain their capacity to undertake serious scholarship on their permanent collections; to preserve these collections; and to share the results of their work in appropriate ways with scholarly and other audiences.  The art conservation program concentrates largely on advanced training for future generations of conservators, but it also undergirds fundamental work in developing fields such as photograph conservation and conservation science – areas of increasing importance to conservation as a whole.  Both programs, therefore, are engaged in supporting basic research intended to enable curators, conservators, and other professionals to devote intensive study to the objects in their care, and to make their knowledge and professional expertise available to others in new as well as in more traditional ways. 


Current Programs

Current areas of particular focus in the museum program include:

  • Strengthening curatorial capacity at senior and junior levels, especially through the endowment of positions; the endowment of travel and research funds; and the establishment of pre- and postdoctoral curatorial fellowships;
  • Strengthening research capacity and support for scholarly publications based largely on permanent collections;

Current areas of particular focus in the art conservation program include:

  • Strengthening research capacity and support for scholarly publications based largely on permanent collections;
  • Supporting the establishment of a select number of new conservation and scientific departments;
  • Supporting the establishment of senior and junior positions in existing conservation and scientific departments; establishing postdoctoral fellowships for scientists entering the conservation field;
  • Continuing to support the Mellon Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation under the auspices of George Eastman House and the Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology;
  • Endowing museum positions and postgraduate fellowships in photograph conservation;
  • Strengthening graduate student support at the three leading conservation training programs in the United States: Buffalo State College, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and University of Delaware; establishing positions for scientists in these programs;
  • Continuing support at Carnegie Mellon University of research on materials and techniques employed by both artists and conservators.



Program Contact Information

In general, the Foundation’s museums and art conservation programs develop out of studies conducted by members of our staff and become part of programmatic initiatives, which then result in invitations to specific institutions to participate.

Letters of inquiry regarding programs that fall within the above-described areas of focus are welcome and are reviewed throughout the year. However, the Foundation is rarely able to respond positively to unsolicited proposals and is not in a position to respond to inquiries from institutions based outside the United States. The Foundation does not support individuals, capital and building campaigns, arts education, loan exhibitions and associated catalogues, or conservation treatments.

Before writing, please review the Foundation’s general requirements for grant proposals in the Grant Inquiries section of this Web site.



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