Opportunity: Climate Museum Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

The Climate Museum seeks applications from humanities scholars who wish to engage the public on climate change and inequality to fill a two-year part-time Pre-Doctoral Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Fellowship will be two days a week, running from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2022 concurrent with a Post-Doctoral Fellowship on climate and inequality also funded by the Mellon Foundation.

The Climate Museum is the first climate-dedicated museum in the United States, working to mobilize the strengths of museum programming for public engagement. Since early 2017, the Museum has been building a practice of engaging the public and making climate solutions accessible through programming across the arts, sciences, humanities, and design. We had a breakout year in 2018, presenting In Human Time, an art exhibition about polar ice loss, deep time, and humanity, and Climate Signals, a citywide public art installation. In 2019, the Museum developed Climate Speaks, an ongoing, citywide, youth climate spoken word program, and Taking Action, a five-month solutions-focused exhibition, closed in late October. 

The Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Climate and Inequality will integrate an environmental humanities and justice framework throughout our programming, particularly our 2021 and 2022 Spring and Fall arts interventions, as well as ongoing panels and lectures. The Fellow will also support the development of exhibitions at Governors Island. 

The Mellon Fellowship is open to candidates pursuing doctoral degrees in the humanities (ABD) who have experience in climate and inequality. The Fellow will be in residence at the Museum part-time from August 2020 through July 2022, during which period they will become a key member of the Museum’s public engagement team. 

This Fellowship offers the opportunity to receive hands-on immersive experience developing and expanding public engagement strategy for the first museum in the United States dedicated to climate change. The position offers an unprecedented opportunity for Fellows to work at the intersection of climate and inequality in a museum setting, supporting our early-stage initiative to meet the rising public demand for pathways into climate engagement and action. 

The fellowship includes a stipend of $32,000 a year, as well as health and dental insurance. Applications are due by March 15, 2020, video interviews will be arranged, and offers will be made by mid-April. Fellows will begin work on August 1, 2020. The Museum offers relocation assistance and a modest research budget to Fellows. 


The Fellow will support the expansion of the Museum’s engagement of the public on climate change, with a particular focus on the role of the humanities in justice-centered climate programming, through research and exhibition development. Both Mellon Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their public engagement skills and advance the work of an initiative at a formative moment of growth potential. Pre-Doctoral Fellows will be encouraged to pursue lines of inquiry at the Museum that coalesce with their dissertation and other research interests, ensuring this Fellowship allows them to continue to advance their ongoing research in the environmental humanities and climate justice. 

After a training program on current best practices in climate communications and the Climate Museum’s approach to pedagogy, engagement, and outreach, with additional topics to be added based on Fellows’ backgrounds, Fellows will begin developing public engagement content and outreach. Their responsibilities will include: 

• Supporting the development of adjacent public programming, such as panel discussions and outreach events, for the Climate Museum’s 2020 exhibition

• Supporting the planning and execution of the Climate Museum’s 2021 exhibition at Governor’s Island

• Integrating an understanding of the intersections of climate and inequality throughout the Museum’s work, with a particular focus on developing adjacent public programming around our spring and fall arts interventions and our interdisciplinary programming 

• Conducting ongoing research on best practices for public engagement and outreach concerning the climate crisis and in particular its intersections with issues of inequality and justice 

The Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow will collaborate closely with the Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow and other members of the Museum’s public engagement team, including our Director, Arts Marketing Coordinator, and Special Assistant for Operations. 


All applicants must: 

• Be enrolled in a humanities doctoral program, having completed their coursework and with an accepted dissertation proposal in the humanities 

• Be able to work two days a week from the Climate Museum’s New York City office with periodic visits to Governors Island and other programming locations from August 2020 – July 2022. 

• Have a keen eye toward the role of the environmental humanities in expanding public engagement with climate change 

• Have an academic background informed by historical inquiry and subject-matter expertise in climate, inequality, or both 

• Have a strong orientation towards collaboration 

• Have an ambitious mindset and excellent time management skills 

• Be inclined to kindness and humor under pressure 

Application Process 

Applications are due on March 15, 2020. Application materials should include the following: 

  • A cover letter detailing why you are a strong candidate and why this would be a good fit for you as well as the Climate Museum 
  • A Curriculum Vitae 
  • A 2-page single-spaced proposal outlining the public engagement work and research you would propose to conduct at the Climate Museum 
  • Names and emails of 2 references who are able to submit confidential reference letters.  References will receive a request from the Museum to email letters of referral to careers@climatemuseum.org with the subject line “Mellon Pre-Doctoral Reference Letter for [Your Name]. If you have experience doing public engagement work, or work around climate and/or inequality, one letter of reference should come from a person familiar with that work. 

The Climate Museum highly values diversity and views the climate crisis as a social justice crisis. People of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and people who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Submit Application