National Archives and Record Administration


National Archives Logo

The Fulbright-National Archives Heritage Science Fellowship, a component of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, provides an opportunity for Fulbright visiting scholars to connect with National Archives and Record Administration scientists and experts while conducting research at the National Archives and Record Administration’s state-of-the-art Heritage Science Research and Testing Lab in College Park, Maryland. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Archives and Records Administration. The award was established to support archival science education, conservation, and research.


Award Activity

Heritage scientists at work
Heritage scientists work closely with other conservation and preservation experts at NARA on a wide range of materials found in our archives. Here paper conservation colleagues work on a large poster.

The selected Fellow will work in the Heritage Science Research and Testing Laboratory of the National Archives and Record Administration, a state of the art facility focused on scientific research to assist in the conservation, preservation, and ongoing public accessibility of cultural and historic artifacts, records, and documents. 

Heritage science is an interdisciplinary field spanning the humanities and sciences. It focuses on enhancing the care, use, and management of cultural and historic objects using the tools and technology of math, science and engineering disciplines.

The Fellow will work with a team of heritage science experts and get hands-on laboratory experience. Scientists work collaboratively with a variety of units within the archives and with other Washington, D.C.-area universities and government agency partners on a diverse range of projects that leverage their expertise in analytical chemistry, physics, computational modeling and materials science. The National Archives collection includes materials ranging from paper and parchment to photographs, modern film, magnetic audio/visual tapes and digital files. Increasing knowledge about the collections and how to reduce the risks of damage and loss are the inspiration for research projects. 

Heritage Science Research and Testing lab
Colleague inspects a film for any needed repairs. 

Scientists are also active in professional organizations and regularly present and publish work that benefits the heritage science community. The Fellow will be encouraged to participate by presenting their progress, collaborating on publications, and building peer networks. Strong applicants will be emerging or established experts in scientific and technical fields relevant to heritage preservation and conservation, with projects that align with the work and goals of the National Archives and Record Administration Heritage Science Research and Testing Laboratory. Current project interests include sustainable environmental (temperature and humidity) management, developing early mold detection systems, and polymer characterization and aging. Past experience with heritage science or archival research is preferred, but not required. High quality projects will contribute to international collaborations in heritage science, and build relationships with U.S. experts and institutions.


Award Details - Learn More


The National Archives and Record Administration Heritage Science Research and Testing Lab is located just outside of Washington, D.C. in College Park, Maryland. The Lab will provide the Fellow with needed office and bench space and access to common wet lab supplies, PPE, and equipment, including a desktop computer. The lab also has several analytical instruments available including an XRF, FT-IR, and GC/MS. The lab houses several temperature and humidity controlled ovens and a microfadometer often used for material aging experiments.  

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with the preservation and documentation of U.S. government and historical records. While NARA’s flagship locations are in the Washington, D.C. area, the agency represents a network of 40+ locations across the nation, including presidential libraries.  


Eligible candidates will be researchers or professionals in heritage science or related technical fields. A  Master’s degree is required, but PhD or equivalent professional experience is preferred. Advanced Doctoral researchers completing dissertation projects related to heritage science are eligible to apply.   

  • Disciplines

    • Heritage/Conservation Science
    • Preventative Preservation
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Materials Science and Engineering
    • Microbiology
    • Statistics
  • Areas of Interest

    • Cultural heritage preservation and conservation
    • Applications of technology to complex issues in heritage preservation and risk management
    • Data analysis and visualization

Grant Benefits

The selected participant will receive J-1 visa sponsorship, J-1 visa compliant health benefits, and round trip international travel to the United States.  The Fulbrighter will also receive a modest stipend to cover living expenses, settling in, and professional development allowances, and if applicable, a modest dependent allowance.  J visa compliant health insurance and travel costs for accompanying dependents are the responsibility of the participant.  Additionally, recipients of this award will be invited to participate Fulbright Scholar Enrichment Activities as well as Fulbright’s Outreach Lecturing Fund.  Fellows will join a diverse, active, worldwide network of alumni who carry the impact of their transformational Fulbright experience far beyond the period of their exchange programs.  

Award Length and Dates

  • Minimum of 5 months, maximum of 12 months
  • Beginning September 2022


Contact Susan Muendl: [email protected]


Archives Equipment
Scientist using a handheld FTIR attachment to identify the plastic used to print this topographical map of a section of the moon

Application Deadline

October 15, 2021


The application is currently closed.  Please check back in Spring 2022 for updates to the 2023-24 academic year.

Important Notes:  

  • Once you have started your application, make sure to select Fulbright-National Archives from the Award drop-down menu on the Country Information page.
  • Make sure to review your home country’s Fulbright website, as not every country has an active Fulbright Visiting Scholar program.  You can find a directory of Fulbright offices here.  If your country is not eligible for this award, you will not be able to select/apply for the Fulbright-National Archives award as described above.


Fulbright-National Archives Heritage Science Fellowship Webinar - Archive