Skip to main content

Reese Fellowship

William Reese Company Teacher Fellowship

Empower your teaching with the William S. Reese Teacher Fellowship, an enrichment opportunity open to all educators teaching 5th-12th grades. Whether you’re affiliated with a public, private, or charter school, this fellowship invites you to explore innovative ways of enhancing your curriculum by creating interdisciplinary connections to American books and art. Selected fellows will create classroom lesson plans by leveraging primary sources found in Crystal Bridges’ collection of rare books and manuscripts, with the opportunity to include objects from the museum’s art collections.

Sponsored by Dorothy M. Hurt, the William S. Reese Teacher Fellowship celebrates the contributions of William S. Reese to the print cultures of the Americas and to the development of Crystal Bridges’ special collections.

Sponsored by Dorothy M. Hurt

Program Structure

The fellowship combines professional development and curriculum development over a two-month period in summer 2024. Within the museum’s inspiring atmosphere, fellows will receive a dedicated workstation at the Crystal Bridges Library, staff reference support, and a $5,000 award. Two fellowships will be awarded in 2024; individual teachers and two-person teaching teams are eligible. (Each fellow, whether working alone or in a two-person team, will receive a $5,000 award.) Additional travel support is not available. Past fellows have typically taught at schools in and around Northwest Arkansas, but teachers from outside the region who would like to use a portion of the award to cover travel expenses are encouraged to apply.

Selected fellows will embark on a journey that starts July 15-18, 2024, with a Crystal Bridges’ Summer Teacher Institute experience. Teachers will explore their role in arts integration through theoretical and hands-on activities and receive a specific library orientation that launches their research. Fellows are encouraged to extend the July visit and begin primary resource research in the library and museum collections.

Fellowship proposals will include a timeline for regular research visits (typically 2-4 over the two-month period) and touchpoints with Crystal Bridges’ staff as the lesson plans are developed. Fellows conclude the onsite portion of their projects with a presentation to Crystal Bridges’ Learning & Engagement Division staff, who will provide feedback and support to help shape the final lesson plan(s).

About Crystal Bridges’ Library Collections

The Crystal Bridges Library holds about 2,000 rare books covering a wide variety of humanities and STEM subjects, including US history, literature, botany, and geography. Dates range from the 16th to 21st centuries, with a high concentration of volumes from the 19th century. Among the most significant holdings are bird and mammal folios by John James Audubon and a 1788 first edition of The Federalist Papers. The library also has a small collection of rare books and printed matter documenting Arkansas history.

Fellows will also have access to the library’s reference and archival collections, and to Crystal Bridges’ American art collections. The library catalog includes instructions for searching within the rare book collection. For assistance searching the collections, please contact library staff at


Application Deadline: May 6, with announcements by May 24.

Eligibility: Active teachers for 5-12th grades can apply individually or as a team of two.

Project Scope: Proposals should detail the subject to be explored, alignment with curriculum standards, and desired resources to be utilized from Crystal Bridges’ collections. The project should unfold along an approximately two-month timeline commencing with the July 15-18, 2024 Summer Teacher Institute.

Expected Outcomes: A key outcome of the fellowship is the creation of a curriculum that benefits the fellows and their learning communities. Fellows will produce at least one lesson plan supplemented with audiovisual resources. Fellows are encouraged to consider tools for digital engagement and methods for sharing educational resources with broad, diverse audiences.

Applications are due by 11: 59 CST on May 6.

Apply Now

For more information on the fellowship program or the Crystal Bridges collections, please contact us at

Past Fellowship Projects


Realms of Fin and Feet and Wing
This resource offers interdisciplinary curriculum materials to integrate early American natural history documents and works of art into world history, American history, British literature, American literature, and biology.
By 2014 William Reese Company Teacher Fellow, Anne Greenwood

The Intersection of Poetry and Art
This site features the work of more than 60 prominent and lesser-known American visual artists, as well as poems to pair with them. All disciplines are incorporated, making this a unique way to introduce art and poetry to any classroom.
By 2017 William Reese Company Teacher Fellow, William Plaschke

American Painting, Poetry, Prose, and “Progress” in the Nineteenth Century
Explore the intersection of 19th-century art, literature, and history in a module that provides educators of various disciplines pedagogical ideas and a multitude of components needed to adapt existing lesson plans or create entirely new ones.
By 2018 William Reese Company Teacher Fellow, Bob Fenster

Engaging Empathy
Engaging Empathy integrates the artwork and library resources of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in lessons to strengthen empathy and literacy in secondary schools.
By 2019 William Reese Company Teacher Fellows, Julie Griggs and Heather Hooks