The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers several awards for outstanding scholarship in American art.
- Charles C. Eldredge Prize for outstanding scholarship in American art in a book-length publication.
- Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award for the most distinguished contribution to American Art, the scholarly journal of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
- Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize recognizes excellent scholarship by a non-U.S. scholar in the field of historical (pre-1980) American art.
Contemporary Artist Awards
- In 2001, the museum established a contemporary artist award. This award recognizes an artist younger than fifty who has produced a significant body of work and consistently demonstrates exceptional creativity.