Research Fellowships

FellowThe Strong invites researchers to use its wealth of resources on the history of play and playthings. To encourage and support scholarship, The Strong awards research fellowships three times each year. Eligible research projects must benefit from access to collections held by The Strong, including:

The Strong invites applications for research fellowships from academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the Masters or PhD levels. All applicants must reside outside a 50-mile radius of The Strong. Fellowships are granted for periods from one to four weeks through three programs:

  • The Strong Research Fellowships for scholarly research about play in all forms and dimensions related to the context, creation, and use of playthings and other play-related artifacts, including but not limited to toys, dolls, board games, video games, and other electronic games. A stipend of $500 per week may be awarded for a maximum of 4 weeks.
  • Mary Valentine and Andrew Cosman Research Fellowships for scholarly research about games of all types and related topics of play. A stipend of $500 per week may be awarded for a maximum of 4 weeks.
  • Frances M. Williams Research Fellowships for scholarly research about puzzles, puzzle play, and related topics. A stipend of $600 may be awarded for a maximum of 1 week.

Amenities available to recipients of research fellowships include:

  • Library access 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Supervised access to collections
  • Wireless Internet access, phone, and badge (restricted access)
  • Free digital images with a personal camera for individual reference use only
  • Access to a community of scholars and curators with a shared interest

Application Process


  • April 20 to receive applications covering June through September; awards announced by mid-May
  • August 15 to receive applications for grants covering October through December; awards announced by mid-September
  • November 15 to receive applications for grants covering January through May; awards announced by mid-December

Applications must be submitted electronically to and must include all of the following:

  • Cover letter that includes:
    • Full contact information—address, email, and phone numbers
    • Current academic affiliation if applicable
    • The number of weeks/months requested for a fellowship
    • The estimated dates desired to be in residence (for planning purposes only)
  • Abstract limited to 150 words
  • Description of the project and its significance, not to exceed 1,200 words
  • Summary of The Strong materials desired for consultation and how they will be pertinent to the research project, not to exceed 500 words
  • Bibliography or list of specific resources required from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play and the museum’s artifact collections. Base bibliography or list on searches of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play online catalog and The Strong’s online collections
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of reference specific to this project and submitted electronically directly from the reference

Fellowship Award Requirements

  • Full-time research at The Strong throughout the period of the fellowship
  • Copy of publications in any medium aided by the fellowship
  • Research report of at least 500 words on the usefulness of the fellowship due 1 month after the conclusion of the fellowship

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by The Strong Selection Team, an internal group of scholars and curators. Special consideration will be given to projects that offer fresh approaches to the museum’s resources and supplement, expand, or challenge prior play studies.

Past Fellowship Recipients

Researchers from around the world have used The Strong's collections and archival materials to inform dissertations, books, and other scholarly works. Learn more about their topics of inquiry on the Past Fellowship Recipients page.