Research Assistantships

Graduate Student Research Assistantships at the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery are designed to provide Yale doctoral students, in their second through sixth year, with the opportunity to work as part of an intellectual team on a major scholarly project at one of the museums. These research positions enhance the educational experiences provided by academic course work and teaching fellowships at Yale, allowing students to extend their range of academic specialism and expertise, and to augment research skills by direct contact with objects in the collections. Students also gain in-depth knowledge of the intellectual and logistical aspects of exhibition preparation and other professional skills, although the positions are not restricted to those students who wish to pursue a museum career.


Graduate Student Research Assistantships at the Center are open to graduate students in all disciplines, while those at the Gallery are restricted to students specializing in History of Art. The number of assistantships offered may vary each year.


Registration is now open for assistantship positions during the 2017–18 academic year. For complete application information, including deadline, click here. For any questions about opportunities or the application process, please contact Research ( | +1 203 432 2824).

Recent Projects

Projects change annually. The following descriptions of past projects give a sense of the types of opportunities offered by the Center.

Using Objects in the Analysis of British History and Culture: Teaching with the Collections of the Yale Center for British Art

This project entailed working with a Yale professor under the guidance of Martina Droth (Associate Director of Research and Education, and Curator of Sculpture) and Lisa Ford (Associate Head of Research) to design a graduate or undergraduate course that incorporated material from the collections of the Center. Faculty engaged on this project included Paul Fry, William Lampson Professor of English, focusing on the relationship between British romantic literature and the visual arts; Janice Carlisle, Professor of English, examining Victorian literary and artistic connections; and Paul Freedman, Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, focusing on food and cuisine in Britain. 


Victorian Sculpture: Exhibition and Seminar

Working with curator Martina Droth, this project focused on the development of the exhibition Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901Opening at the Center in 2014, it was the first substantive examination of sculpture produced in Britain and the British Empire during the reign of Queen Victoria. The project entailed researching the collections for materials relating to Victorian sculpture and sculptural practice, bringing the Center’s collections to bear on the planning of a loan exhibition and providing continuity between exhibition research and teaching.

Research in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection: Interpretation and Accessibility

This position is offered annually and focuses on the detailed examination of primary materials in the Center’s  manuscript and archival collections, comprising approximately thirty-five thousand works relating to the visual arts and cultural life of Britain and the former British Empire from the sixteenth century to the present. Under the guidance of Elisabeth Fairman, Senior Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, the research entails the identification and description of subjects of interest to art, social, political, and cultural historians. Each year the project is oriented toward an area relevant to the student’s research interests. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this position offers limited travel funds for related research in other collections.

Research and Development for Exhibitions on Eighteenth-Century Topics

This position in the Department of Exhibitions and Publications focused on assisting in the development of exhibition projects on topics relating to the “long eighteenth century.”