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Instructions for Museum Travel Seminar Proposals

Proposal Submissions

The AAHS Traditional Technologies Program invites organized groups of artists and scholars to apply for its museum travel seminars. Proposals are accepted every other year (2022, 2024, 2026, and so on) between January 1 and February 15. One proposal will be selected each funding cycle. Applicants will be notified by March 1.

Program Description and Eligibility

The Traditional Technologies Program supports the preservation and revitalization of Southwestern traditional arts by creating opportunities for research and travel for Native American and Hispano artists and scholars. Every two years, the program sponsors a week-long museum travel seminar for a self-organized group of up to six Native American or Hispano artists/scholars to travel to one or more U.S. museums to study collections of Southwestern traditional arts. The program covers all direct travel costs related to the seminar, including meals, lodging, mileage, airfare, ground transportation, and travel insurance. 

Any self-organized group of Native or Hispano artists and scholars who practice or study some aspect of Southwestern traditional arts (including, but not limited to, basketry, weaving, pottery, woodcarving, beadwork) is eligible to apply for the seminar. This includes members of cooperatives, guilds, or other organizations, and individual artists/scholars who wish to form a study group. Preference will be given to groups of individuals who have worked toward the preservation or revitalization of the Southwestern traditional arts and shared their skills and knowledge with their home communities. We encourage the inclusion of emerging artists/scholars who have lacked prior funding opportunities to travel to museum collections. The inclusion of family members requires justification.  

Participant Responsibilities

  • Each participant is expected to participate in the educational goals of the seminar. 

Each participant will maintain a journal to record their personal observations and experiences and use this to prepare a short (1-3 page) seminar summary after the trip. These summaries will be deposited in the AAHS archives and be available for future research use. With the permission of the author, summaries may be selected for publication in the Society’s newsletter Glyphs. 

  • Each participant is required to plan and implement a presentation, workshop, or develop some other way to share the results of the seminar with his or her home community. These final projects must be completed within one year of the seminar. 
  • Participants are encouraged to share their experiences, individually or as a group, with the AAHS membership, traditional audiences, and/or the broader public through presentations, Glyphs, published articles, interviews, workshops, videos, social media,  podcasts, photographs, or artwork. These and other seminar outcomes may be posted on a Traditional Technologies program page on the AAHS website. 
  • All participants must be AAHS members at the time of travel. Basic membership is $45 per year, which includes the Society’s monthly newsletter Glyphs. Fee waivers are available.

Proposal Format

Proposals should be single spaced and a maximum of three pages. Please address each of the following points in separate sections of the proposal:

  • Introduction: In a few sentences, tell us the major theme of your proposed seminar, who you are, what you would like to study, and why.

Example 1:

Theme:  A Comparative Study of Ute Beadwork

We are a group of Ute beadworkers, and we would like to study early collections of Ute beadwork to compare the beads, stitching techniques, and designs used by different Ute tribes during the late 1800s and early 1900s.We plan to share this information with other beadworkers in our communities.

Example 2: 

Theme: Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Collections from Zuni Pueblo

We are a group of Zuni weavers and potters, and we would like to examine collections made at Zuni Pueblo between 1875 and 1910 to see what kinds of baskets, weavings, pottery, and other items were being used during this period and how they were made. We would like to share this information with Zuni youth in educational programs. 

Example 3: 

Theme: Five Centuries of Change in Hopi Pottery 

We are a group of Hopi potters from First Mesa. We would like to examine Hopi pottery from the ancestral villages of Awat’ovi and Sikyatki and compare it to pottery collected from the Hopi villages during in the late 1900s to study changes in clay, firing techniques, decoration, and form. We will use this information to inspire our future pottery work.

Example 4: 

Theme: Ancestral Weaving from Northeastern Arizona 

We are a group of Pueblo weavers from Hopi, Zuni, and the Rio Grande Pueblos, and we propose to study early textiles from archaeological sites in northeastern Arizona to see how our ancestors spun their yarns, the different weaves they used, and how they decorated their clothing.  We will use this to learn about our history and educate our communities about ancestral weaving practices.

  • In a few sentences, tell us about each member of your proposed group and how she/he has contributed to the preservation/revitalization of Southwestern traditional arts and shared his/her skills and knowledge with the local community. Identify one individual to serve as the leader of your proposed seminar.
  • Tell us which museums, cities, and collections you would like to visit during your one-week seminar.

Seminars can involve up to five days of collections research and two or three days of travel. Applicants can propose to visit a single museum for several days or two or three museums in a limited geographical area. It is possible to visit several East Coast cities by train. The program will make all travel arrangements. If you are unsure about the locations of collections, contact the committee for assistance.

Example 1: We would like to study the Ute beadwork collections at the Denver Art Museum and the History Colorado Museum in Denver.

Example 2: We propose to study late nineteenth and early twentieth century Zuni collections at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) in Washington, D.C. and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Example 3: We propose to study the Awat’ovi pottery collections at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Fewkes’ Sikyatki pottery collections and the Stevensons’ Hopi pottery collections at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) in Washington, D.C. 

Example 4: We propose to study archaeological textiles from northeastern Arizona at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. 

  • What are your goals for the seminar? How will your group benefit from studying these collections?
  • How do you plan to share your new knowledge with your home communities? How will you share the results of your seminar with the broader public and the AAHS membership?  

Proposal Review and Evaluation

Proposals will be reviewed by the AAHS Traditional Technologies Committee and evaluated on a 10-point scale:

  • Quality of the proposal and feasibility of the museum research plan (2 points)
  • Contributions of group members to the preservation of the Southwest traditional arts (3 points)
  • Seminar goals and outcomes (3 points)
  • Means of sharing the results with home communities and the public (2 points)

Proposals should be emailed to the co-chairs of the Traditional Technologies committee between January 1 and February 15. If you lack access to a computer or the internet, please call 970-769-8062 for instructions. Contact us with any questions.

Louie Garcia

Laurie Webster