Brown Teacher Research Fellowship FAQs

Who are Anne and Ryland Brown?

Anne and Ryland Brown of Forest, Virginia, are the parents of Orran Brown, who, along with his wife, Ellen, endowed this Fellowship in honor of his parents. The fund is a legacy to the Browns’ lifelong belief in the power of education to improve an individual’s well-being and that of his or her family.

What is the purpose of the Brown Fellowship?

The goal of the Brown Teacher Enrichment Fund is to enhance knowledge and training in history and social science instruction in Virginia by providing educators with an opportunity for in-depth study and the development of teaching materials in collaboration with both teaching colleagues and members of the Library of Virginia’s professional staff.

Is this opportunity open only to high school teachers?

No. Teachers of grades 4 through 12 are eligible for the award. Elementary and middle school teachers are strongly encouraged to apply.

What characteristics are most desirable in an applicant for the fellowship?       

We are looking for educators (1) with a demonstrated passion for teaching history, (2) who incorporate primary source documents into their lessons, and (3) demonstrate creativity in their approach to classroom instruction.

How are the Brown Fellows selected?

The Library has an internal selection committee that screens and reviews the applications each year. Once the committee decides on its finalists, they are invited for an interview before the final selection is made.

When will I be notified of the Library’s selection for the Fellowship?

Selections are typically made within three weeks of the application deadline.

When must the research take place?

We are typically pretty flexible when it comes to scheduling research dates. Once the Brown Fellows are selected, we work with them to schedule the time(s) they are able to come in and conduct research. We require a minimum of 40 hours of research on-site at the Library anytime between June and September. The fellows may choose to come in for an entire week at a time, or a few days a week over several weeks. We require an additional 40 hours of research and writing that may be completed either on-site or off-site.

Will the Educational Services staff dictate the theme or topic of the research?

It depends. Some years we have specific projects on the horizon that we ask Brown Fellows to support. Sometimes we ask applicants to propose a project based on their own areas of interest, but they should take into consideration the Virginia Standards of Learning and the nature of the primary sources available at the Library of Virginia, which will be the basis of any lesson plans or activities created by the fellows.

What takes place during the research period?

Brown Fellows work with the Education & Outreach team to discuss their projects, and suggest primary and secondary sources to consult during their research. The fellows will have access to the Library research databases, archival materials, and other reference resources during the course of their stays. Fellows are also introduced to members of the archival and library reference staff who will aid in their research. Periodically, the fellows will meet with the Education & Outreach team and other staff members to discuss the project of their research and ask any questions they may have.

Will selected Fellows be provided with a work space?    

Yes. Fellows will have their own work space with a computer and access to the internet, a copier, and a printer.

If selected, what can I do for housing?

The Brown Fellowship does not cover lodging, but recipients may use their award to cover those costs.

What does the Library of Virginia get out of it?

Brown Fellows are asked to develop a series of lesson plans, activities, or resource packets based on primary source documents from the Library of Virginia’s collections. We ask that the lessons be submitted no later than two (2) months after the conclusion of the fellow’s summer research visit.

For more information, please contact Catherine Fitzgerald Wyatt, Education and Outreach manager:

804.692.3999 or