Research Support

Research Support

To promote the interpretation of Virginia history and access to its collections, we offer several research fellowships and awards. Learn about the different types of financial support we offer below.

PLEASE NOTE that due to uncertainties associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the research fellowships program has been suspended for one year—and we will not accept applications for 2021. We plan to resume the program for the 2022 calendar year, with applications being accepted in January of that year.


Research Fellowships

Our research fellowships are funded by a matching grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and gifts from individuals. We offer fellowships of up to three weeks a year. For the purpose of this program, a week is defined as five days in the research library, which is open 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday.

There are three general categories of fellowships:

  • Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowships cover the broad sweep of Virginia and American history, for example, supporting research on political, constitutional, religious, African American, military, and social issues.

  • The Betty Sams Christian Fellowships in business history cover studies in economic history, trade, industrial and commercial subjects, and labor relations.

  • The Frances Lewis Fellowships in Gender and Womens Studies support work in gender roles and the history of women.

(Please note that the selection committee will determine the category of the applicants award)

We confer fellowships on the basis of the applicants’ scholarly qualifications, the merits of their proposals, and the appropriateness of their topics, as demonstrated by citation to specific sources in our collections. Applicants whose research promises to result in significant publication, including the Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, will receive primary consideration.

Because the program is designed to help defray travel expenses, residents of the Richmond metropolitan area are not eligible for fellowships. We offer a few grants ($300 per week) for mileage to commuting researchers who live outside that area. The majority of fellowships ($500 per week) go to those who live farther away and incur greater expenses. We expect recipients to work on a regular basis in our reading room during the period of their fellowships. We welcome applications from doctoral candidates. Undergraduates, master’s students, and graduate students not yet admitted to Ph.D. candidacy are not eligible.

Applicants must submit the following materials, in a single document in Word format, to fellowships@VirginiaHistory.org:

  • Cover letter

  • Résumé

  • Description of the research project not longer than two double-spaced pages that also states the length of the grant period requested.

Two letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically to John McClure, Director of Research & Publications, at jmcclure@VirginiaHistory.org. Please reference the applicant’s name in SUBJECT line.

The committee will consider reapplications. For repeat fellowships, the maximum number is limited to four within a ten-year period.

Research Award

In addition to fellowships, we offer a research award for which applications will be received throughout the calendar year while funding remains available.

  • The Guy Kinman Award is made possible by Diversity Richmond and supports work on such topics as LGBT studies, civil rights, and issues affecting minority communities.

The Guy Kinman Award ($500) is open to residents of central Virginia as well as researchers who live beyond commuting distance. As with fellowships, recipients of this award are expected to conduct research in our reading room during the tenure of their grants.

Applicants must submit the following materials, in a single document in Word format, to fellowships@VirginiaHistory.org:

  • Cover letter

  • Résumé

  • Description of the research project not longer than two double-spaced pages that also states the length of the grant period requested.

Two letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically to John McClure, Director of Research & Publications, at jmcclure@VirginiaHistory.org. Please reference the applicant’s name in SUBJECT line.

The Guy Kinman award is open-ended: there is no deadline, and the award committee evaluates applications as they are received.

Founded in 1831, the Virginia Historical Society is a private, nonprofit, educational institution supported by membership dues and endowment. Its wealth of cataloged materials includes books, paintings, photographs, maps, broadsides, newspapers, artifacts, and more than eight million manuscripts.

Send applications for both fellowships and the Guy Kinman Award to: fellowships@VirginiaHistory.org.

Please address any questions about the application process to:
John McClure, Chair, Research Fellowships and Awards Committee
Virginia Museum of History & Culture
P.O. Box 7311
Richmond, VA 23221-0311

Telephone: 804.342.9686
Fax: 804.355.2399
Email: jmmclure@VirginiaHistory.org