Deborah and Philip English Curator of Decorative Arts, Design and Material Culture
Job Details
Walters Art Museum - Baltimore, MD

The Walters Art Museum, located in the historic Mount Vernon district in Baltimore, offers challenging and creative work opportunities by promoting collaboration and teamwork. Our mission is to bring art and people together for enjoyment, discovery, and learning. We promote and model a culture that celebrates the diversity and inclusion of all our staff, visitors, and members.

The curator oversees a collection of European and North American decorative arts broadly dating from 1500 CE to the present. A particular focus of the curator’s work will be the cataloguing, interpretation, and display of the world-class English Collection of 19th-century British and European majolica, a type of mold-made earthenware, brilliantly colored using translucent lead glazes, that was commercially introduced by the Minton Company in the 1850’s and ultimately produced across Europe, North America, and Australia. The curator will also have curatorial responsibility for a collection encompassing arms and armor, ceramics, coins & medals, enamels, furniture, glass, gems, metalwork, and timepieces. The majority of these works of art are part of the core historic collection amassed by William (1819-94) and Henry Walters (1848-1931) that was eventually bequeathed to the City of Baltimore; others have since been donated by generous collectors or acquired by purchase. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with curators in collections areas that adjoin or include these categories to bring a material cultural and design perspective to the research, care, display, and interpretation of the collections.

Key Responsibilities include:

1.    Deepens understanding of the collection and shares that knowledge more broadly by:
·    Undertaking regular collections surveys to identify strengths and areas for potential development             
·    Cataloguing/enhancing prior object cataloging in TMS
·    Focusing on the English collection in particular and the museum’s decorative arts collections more broadly:  

  •  Sharing research by publishing; presenting at national and international conferences; giving gallery talks and lectures at the Walters; and working cross-divisionally to communicate new research to staff
  • Proposing and developing projects, including exhibitions, publications, and programs that create opportunities for deeper engagement with the collection
  • Engaging in the campus-wide reinstallation of galleries and in collaboration with other curators, educators, and conservators, proposing and developing a plan for the display and reinterpretation of the collection 
  • Responding to public inquiries about the collection

2. Sustains the care and development of the collection by:
·    Working with conservators to identify objects for treatment
·    Evaluating requests for loans from other institutions   
·    Working with conservators and registrars to monitor the condition of objects on view and in storage
·    Recommending objects for accession/acquisition and de-accession
·    Working with Advancement team to identify and cultivate potential donors of works of art and/or financial support through various activities, including but not limited to giving talks and tours at the museum and offsite

2.    Contributes to team by:
·    Leading the curatorial team’s reconsideration and reinterpretation of the collections through an approach informed by material culture/design theory
·    Fostering the research culture of the Walters by supervising and mentoring fellows and interns
·    Working collaboratively with other departments to engage audiences, both onsite and remote, through personal experiences
·    Sharing information including but not limited to new research findings related to the works in the Walters collection with staff and volunteers across the museum

3.    Maintains a professional profile in the field of European and North American Decorative Arts and Material Culture by:
•    Promoting objects in the Walters collection through publication in peer-reviewed journals, in edited volumes, and digital fora, with a concentrated focus on promoting and educating audiences about majolica
•    Engaging in and sharing expertise on panels, specialty task forces, and other professional gatherings related to the study of decorative arts/material culture and museum practice
•    Participating in and contributing to courses taught in the Mid-Atlantic region 





Required Experience and Skills:

Education: Ph. D. or equivalent with demonstrated experience 
Experience: variable; will have some experience working in museum, gallery, or academic institutions during or following the completion of doctoral studies. Rank is largely determined on the basis of experience and long-term performance. (3-5 years)

Expertise: area of art history or a related field that is represented in the Walters Art Museum’s decorative arts collections, with a preferred focus on the history and techniques of ceramics and especially ceramics produced in the context of British art ca. 1500-present, and state of field in design and/or material culture studies 

Skills: Demonstrated fluency in English, both in terms of writing and speaking. Ability to apply and communicate material culture/design theory through curatorial practice. In collection areas that represent the art from a diversity of linguistic traditions, fluency in one or more of the relevant languages is expected. Writing skills are essential to successful performance of the job. Facility with recent ideas and methods common to the practice of art history and/or other academic disciplines related to the study of the arts is expected. An ability to negotiate, to think in a strategic and progressive manner, and to advocate for a particular course of action is essential.

Able to communicate comfortably and confidently with members of the public, with academic/museum peer group, with museum donors and supporters, and with other museum staff. 

Normal working conditions. May encounter a diversity of working environments.  Work may also be performed in the galleries, in storage, in classrooms, and in both public and private settings within the community.  

Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (variable)

Salary Range: $55 - $75K