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International Museum Fellowship

Funding programme for museums and public collections. The Federal Cultural Foundation’s International Museum Fellowship programme offers museums and public collections in Germany the opportunity to hire young, top-level foreign researchers and curators to work at their organizations.

The goal of the fellowship programme is to encourage German museums to internationalize their topics, working methods and areas of emphasis and support them in applying new approaches to their established organizational structures. The programme also aims to improve intercultural competence within the museums themselves, as well as strengthen international networks between scientists, curators and museologists.

The Federal Cultural Foundation invites museums to apply for an 18-month, project-based work and research fellowship to finance the visit of a young researcher or curator from abroad. The Foundation will award a total of 20 fellowships, for which publicly accessible, state and / or municipally funded museums, collections and exhibition venues of all kinds may apply. In the case of private-law entities, applicants are eligible if they also receive public funding from a municipal, state or federal agency.

For the fellows – outstanding young researchers, curators or museologists who already have initial working experience – this programme offers them the chance to gain further professional experience at a German museum. The fellow can become acquainted with the latest scientific and methodological developments in his/her field in Germany, gain a comprehensive view of the working methods and collections at a museum, and establish contacts to colleagues and institutional partners for possible international joint ventures in the future.
The fellowship holder will oversee a project under the supervision of a mentor, who works in a responsible position at the museum. Applying his or her relevant expertise, the fellowship holder is expected to independently carry out the project related to the main areas of the museum’s exhibition, research and collection activities.

A planned Academy Programme will provide professional support to the fellowship holders and facilitate contact-building between institutions in Germany and abroad. In addition to workshops for all the fellowship holders and their mentors, the Academy will host colloquiums and a concluding event, at which all participants will discuss and evaluate the programme’s success.

Furthermore, the Federal Cultural Foundation aims to increase the continued impact of the programme by funding up to ten follow-up projects. When the fellowship funding period concludes, the participating museum can apply for funding for a follow-up exhibition, carried out independently by the fellowship holder. The idea is to intensify the project-related collaboration between the fellow and the museum beyond the fellowship period, as well as increase the visibility of new forms of museum work in public.

The Federal Cultural Foundation is coordinating the fellowship programme with the support of the Goethe-Institut – a partner with extensive knowledge of cultural institutions in countries around the world. The Goethe-Institut, along with its regional branches, can assist German museums in an advisory function, locating suitable candidates at foreign universities, academies and museums for participation in the fellowship programme.

The Executive Board of the Federal Cultural Foundation is responsible for selecting fellowship winners and awarding possible follow-up project funding. Its decisions will be based on the recommendations of five independent experts: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Borsdorf, director of the Essen Ruhrmuseum Foundation; Dr. Andrea Buddensieg, curator at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe; Julia Pattis, cultural scientist and trainee at the German Kinamathek – Film and Television Museum, advisory board member in the Museum Assistance working group at the German Museums Association with focus on international exchange; Dr. Perdita von Kraft, director of the Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus; Prof. Thomas Weski, professor of Curatorial Cultures at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig.

The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated 2.58 million euros to fund the International Museum Fellowship from 2011 to 2016. Each fellowship awarded by the Federal Cultural Foundation is worth 71,300 euros. Follow-up exhibitions may receive funding of up to 50,000 euros each.

Funding guidelines (in German)

If you would like to apply for funding through the International Museum Fellowship programme, please read through the funding guidelines to ensure that your project is eligible for funding. The guidelines are available in German only.

International Museum Fellowship funding guidelines

Follow-up exhibition funding guidelines

Application (in German)

To apply, please download and fill out the application form provided here:

Application form

Submission deadline: The submission deadline for applications to the International Museum Fellowship programme is 30 April 2012. This programme offers only one application round. Submissions are accepted based on the date of the postmark. The application deadline for follow-up exhibition funding will be announced at the end of 2013.


Dr. Marie Cathleen Haff
Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Franckeplatz 1
06110 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: +49 (0)345 2997 136
Fax.: +49 (0)345 2997 333