Heard Museum launches Navajo textiles fellowship program

The Heard Museum is in Phoenix at 2301 N. Central Ave. (submitted photo)

The Heard Museum has been awarded a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a fellowship program centered on care and long-term preservation of Navajo textiles while potentially gaining new insights into conservation techniques.

The new program — Opening A Window: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship Program — will provide in-depth, paid training and the opportunity to work with Navajo weavers, museum curatorial staff, conservators and textile specialists in assessing and conserving the museum’s world-class collection of Navajo textiles.

In conservation, “opening a window” refers to the practice of finding a small sample site for testing, according to a press release.

The new fellowship program will provide nine months of paid, hands-on training for three Mellon Fellows per year, for three years. A primary goal is to raise awareness of museum employment opportunities and the conservation profession, particularly within the Native American community.

“We are very grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for recognizing the important role the Heard has played in the field of Native American art and enabling us to more fully realize our mission by offering these fellowships,” said David M. Roche, the Heard Museum’s Director and CEO, in the press release.

“We are strongly encouraging Native American students to apply for this program which not only promises to open a window on the opportunities that exist within the conservation profession but also yield valuable insights into the care of Navajo textiles.”

The Heard is committed to reaching candidates who may not fit the traditional higher-education model for fellows. In order to create new leadership opportunities, the Heard will open the Mellon Fellowship to both university students and applicants who have not attended college but have demonstrated a strong commitment to American Indian art and museums.

Application information for the Mellon Fellowships is posted online at http://heard.org/employment.

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