An exciting new collaboration between the U-M Museum of Art and the Department of History of Art, made possible by a multi-year $650,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, has generated four new positions, two of which are designated for U-M history of art graduate students. The Andrew W. Mellon UMMA-History of Art Curatorial Fellow and, as a spin-off, the Charles Sawyer Museum Internship have been created with the intention of helping to train emerging talent in the museum field. 

Katherine Brion was selected as the first Andrew W. Mellon UMMA-History of Art Curatorial Fellow, a position she will hold for the 2012–13 academic year. Brion is a PhD candidate in history of art at U-M who specializes in nineteenth-century French art and design. While a Curatorial Fellow she is developing  projects related to her dissertation—Decorative Visions: Shaping the Viewer in Fin-de-Siècle France. Before coming to Michigan Brion studied curatorial theory and practice in the Museum Studies program at the École du Louvre in Paris.

Monique Johnson, who will take up the Sawyer Internship in winter 2013, is a PhD candidate in history of art with a focus on nineteenth-century art and photography. The strong applicant pool for the Mellon Curatorial Fellowship encouraged UMMA and the Department of History of Art to establish and co-fund the new Charles Sawyer Museum Internship and to provide an additional opportunity for early-career art historians to obtain museum experience. This semester-long internship is named for Charles Sawyer, the director of UMMA from 1957 to 1972 and the founder of the Museum Practice Program (since reconstituted as the Museum Studies Program).

The Mellon grant also funds two positions at the museum—Mellon Academic Coordinator (David Choberka) and Mellon Collections Assistant (Anne Drozd). All of these positions allow the Museum to nurture young museum professionals and at the same time to realize its larger mission of increasing access to the collections and drawing connections more widely across the university community.

“The department is grateful to the Mellon Foundation and to UMMA for making these opportunities available to our graduate students, many of whom are eager to explore the possibility of pursuing a museum career,” said History of Art chair Matthew Biro.

“This support from the Mellon Foundation to support future scholars, for which we are so appreciative, is designed to expose university students to museum careers,” said UMMA Director Joseph Rosa. “I know I speak for everyone on the UMMA staff when I say that we welcome these truly inspiring young scholars and hope to provide the impetus for them to choose museum work as a profession.”