Since 2002, nearly 50 full-time staff members from Affiliate organizations have participated in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program (VPP). It’s one of the biggest benefits of being a Smithsonian Affiliate and one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Not only do our Affiliate colleagues get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Smithsonian for two weeks, but the whole Smithsonian Affiliations team gets to meet Affiliate colleagues that we may not normally interact with. It gives all of us an amazing opportunity to network with each other and learn about our individual organizations.
The 2014 cycle of the VPP welcomed 6 Affiliate staff members who started in early April and wrapped up at the end of August. One of the most frequently asked questions is “do I have to be a curator or a senior-level staff member to participate?” and we always smile and reassure folks that any full-time staff member from an Affiliate organization may apply to participate. This year, we accepted six Affiliate colleagues to the program—a group programs coordinator, an assistant executive director, a director of programs and interpretation, a public programs manager, a digital project archivist, and a curatorial specialist. Everyone was looking to learn something different from the Smithsonian to take back to Affiliate organizations.
Here are a couple examples from 2014 Visiting Professionals that were featured on blogs from the Smithsonian offices each worked with:
Melanie Deer: Learning about Barcode Collections
JA Pryse: The Starting Line
Do you have a project you’re working on that could use a little help from the Smithsonian? Is there a skill or subject matter you’d like to learn a little more about? We are now accepting applications for the 2015 Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program. The deadline is November 28, 2015.
Apply online and view the application process here.
If you have questions about the program, the application process or past visiting professional projects, contact Elizabeth Bugbee. If you would like to bounce potential project ideas for a future application, contact your National Outreach Manager.