Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology
Is prior training in museum anthropology required?
No formal training in museum issues and material culture analysis is required, but applicants without such preparation should explain why they did not have access to such training and what informal education they have instead. All students should be prepared to complete preparatory reading as needed.
Do I have to be currently enrolled as
a student to participate?
The program is for students who will be enrolled in a graduate program in the year following their participation in SIMA. If you are not currently enrolled but will be in the fall, you can be considered if you have commitment from a faculty member to supervise your project during the next year.
Will SIMA be a good opportunity for me to collect the data I need for my thesis/dissertation, etc?
No. While SIMA includes substantial work in the collections, the goal is to learn HOW to access data. If data collection is your primary goal, you should consider applying to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program. Information is available at http://www.si.edu/ofg/fell.htm.
Do I have to be a US citizen to participate?
Yes. Exceptions are foreign students enrolled in a US university or Native Americans who have special treaty status. Contact us if you have questions about eligibility.
I mainly want to study documents in the archives. Is SIMA for me?
Probably not. Artifacts are the central focus for SIMA training, and archival research is covered as a supporting method to understand artifactual collections.
My interest is in photographs. Is SIMA for me?
Maybe. Consider whether three dimensional objects might contribute to the research questions that interest you.
I’m studying archaeology and would like to use museum collections. Should I apply?
Probably not. SIMA is intended for students focusing on issues in cultural anthropology rather than archaeological research. However, applications would be welcome from students with training in archaeology who want to focus on such issues using data from ethnological collections.
The Council for Museum Anthropology is starting to assess the need for museum training for archaeologists, and SIMA is helping by documenting interest. Send us a message! It will help build a case for establishing a companion program.
I'm really interested in museum materials but I don't know how to formulate a project to propose. How do I begin?
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we are glad to help. Use the resources at your university. Ask a faculty member who inspired your interest to help you define a research question, then ask us to help you figure out how collections might help to answer that question.
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