Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows

The Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows Program offers graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in art history and related fields the unique opportunity to work directly with the Whitney Museum’s collection and audiences within a community of academic support. Participants in the program design specialized tours both in-gallery and virtual on the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions for Museum visitors, public program audiences, and senior audiences. Fellows meet for workshops for feedback and support on their scholarly work and for training in teaching, communication and presentation skills, and other professional development topics. More advanced Teaching Fellows also have the opportunity to develop topical talks and multi-session courses on their areas of specialization for special members groups and the public. 

This selective program offers an invaluable opportunity for students to develop skills for public speaking without notes, communicating sophisticated ideas in a clear and organized fashion, and finding their own authentic voice. Alumni of the program, who have gone on to a range of prestigious positions in museums and academia, often reference how these skills benefited them throughout their careers.

Candidates must be graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in art history or a related field, ideally finishing their coursework or working toward the completion of their dissertation. Students specializing in areas covered by the Museum’s collection are given special consideration, but this is not a prerequisite for selection. We are seeking diverse perspectives on American art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Latinx and American Indigenous perspectives. We are especially looking for candidates who are able to offer tours in both Spanish and English.

“Working at the Whitney was by far the most rewarding teaching experience I had up to that point (and maybe since!). I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of studying new material in preparation for a different show every few months, and I found the wonderful reception I received from the public extremely heartening. In fact, I often wished I had people following me around in my daily life more generally telling me what a great job I did!” 
Laura Auricchio, Dean, Fordham College at Lincoln Center and Professor of Art History, Fordham University

“Being a Teaching Fellow was an ideal complement to writing a dissertation, as, even if you happen to be lucky enough to love to write (and to have found a topic capable of sustaining long-term interest), you only can sit and stare at a screen for so many hours a day. Maybe ironically, working at the Whitney actually helped me maintain a very productive schedule: I would write in the morning and give talks later in the day or evening—at which point it was nearly impossible to remain lucid and good-humored about my own work. Knowing that I only had a certain amount of time devoted to my project each day made each day count, and I was more efficient than any of my peers, writing my dissertation in one year while working a tremendous number of hours. This proved viable because the tours were on shows that I found stimulating (many ideas from which made their way into my dissertation and other writing projects); likewise, the audiences were if not unilaterally then at least largely enthusiastic, giving me back as much energy as I put into my talks.”
Suzanne Hudson, Professor of Art History and Fine Arts, University of Southern California

“The most rewarding thing was introducing people to modern and contemporary art, and receiving enormous appreciation from them. It was very gratifying to inspire someone to consider something new or gain knowledge that would help them take the mystery out of often difficult art, even if they didn’t ‘like’ it. It is the best reward of teaching (which often you don’t receive in the classroom, as students tend to be far more jaded).”
Janet Kraynak, senior lecturer in the Discipline of Art History and Archaeology and Director of MA in Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA), Columbia University


The Teaching Fellows Program now offers a stipend of $600 to support the learning opportunities of the program, in addition to $150 per hour for private and specialized tours and $110 for public tours. Fellows also have the potential for further pay for multi-week courses, special programs, membership lectures, and other projects. Fellowships are ideally for a period of three years, with a minimum commitment of two years. During this period, Fellows are expected to live in or near New York City and be available for working in person at the Museum leading tours and programs each week. We are currently accepting applications for the fall of 2024. 

For more information, contact

The Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art is supported by a generous gift from Steven Tisch.