Sr. Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs
Job Details
Senior
Walters Art Museum - Baltimore, MD
Full Time
$140,000.00 Salary/year
Day Shift

For the Walters Art Museums Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections, a new position, it is an opportune time to join a vibrant, healthy organization that has weathered the global pandemic successfully and is experiencing a vibrant and active reopening. This individual must be philosophically, conceptually, and tactically aligned with the vision for the Museum as a place to bring art and people together for enjoyment, discovery, and learning, to create a place where people of every background can be touched by art, and to engage and strengthen our community by collecting, preserving, and interpreting art.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will partner with the Deputy Director and other members of the leadership team to create an integrated and aligned implementation of the vision articulated in the Strategic Plan currently in place (ratified by the Board in 2015). This leadership team is charged with management and oversight of the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Museums program, demonstrating its deep commitment to emphasizing the depth, breadth, and quality of its collections in order to engage the local, regional, and national communities in new ways.

The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will bring to the Walters a demonstrated passion for the visual arts and dedication to making art collections more accessible and meaningful to the broadest audiences possible, from scholars to the first-time museum visitor to those who have never thought of going to a museum. They will assist the Executive Director in establishing and implementing the programmatic direction of the Museum, which comprises all aspects of the artistic program.

As the Walters senior staff member responsible for the collection and the overarching artistic program, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will work closely with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and other Leadership Team members to spearhead the development of a rolling, comprehensive three- to-five-year programmatic calendar for the Museums collections displays and temporary exhibitions that showcase the breadth of the collection and engage multiple constituencies. Developed in collaboration with this leaders peers and in particular the directors of Visitor Experience, Learning & Community Engagement, and Marketing & Communications this plan should incorporate a rich offering of collections-based temporary exhibitions/installations, temporary loan shows of both historic art and, as appropriately defined by the institutional strategic vision, work by living artists. It should reflect a systematic rethinking of the ways the Walters collection and its buildings can connect with new ways of thinking about the various histories of art, geographies, and people. This artistic program must be rooted in the Walters unique collections and its own multi-faceted histories and inspire 21st-century museum visitors, audiences and diverse communities. It must reflect alignment with the programmatic vision for and mission of the Museum.

In partnership with the Executive Director, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will lead and oversee the institutional units encompassing the curatorial (including the museums large research library and archives), conservation, collections management, exhibition/project planning, and publication departments of the Walters Art Museum. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will develop an approach in alignment with the museums strategic direction to achieving the Museums goals for sustaining and caring for the collections, conceiving and organizing permanent collections displays and temporary exhibitions as well as the diverse online and hardcopy related publications. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will ensure that the Walters professional staff within the individuals areas of responsibility work cohesively and collaboratively with each other and cross-departmentally with other areas/departments. Serving as a cultural change agent and conduit for translating the Museums overall vision into action, this individual will have primary day-to-day responsibility for supervising the work of their direct reports as they manage, as appropriate, on a day-to-day basis those staff. As a member of the Walters Leadership Team, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will foster open communications regarding issues relevant to the areas of responsibility of colleagues and staff members.

Working closely with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Senior Director of Building Operations, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will assist in the oversight of all building projects that impact collections and program areas. Additionally, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will work collaboratively with the Executive Director, Deputy Director and the Senior Director of Development in the stewardship and cultivation of Board members, donors, and other stakeholders and participate in the general fundraising activities to benefit the acquisitions, conservation, exhibitions & publications, and, as asked and where relevant, other major initiatives. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will also represent the Museum in professional, academic, and social forums with local/regional, national, and international colleagues and the broader cultural community through exhibition and research programs of the highest quality. This individual will participate in regular Board meetings as well as meetings of the standing committees of the Board; they will be the staff liaison for the Collections Committee and will partner, as appropriate, with the other leadership team members in the staffing of or preparation for Board Committees.

The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will uphold the Museums commitments to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in all programming, exhibition, and staffing decisions as outlined in the strategic direction. They will contribute to a values-based culture by demonstrating and requiring adherence to the highest ethical standards.

Other areas of responsibility include the following:

Strategy and Planning

  • In coordination with the Executive Director and Leadership Team members, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will oversee the work of the Curators (including the Library and Archives), Director of Conservation, Collections and Technical Research, and Director of Publication and Digital Production to:
    • Set institutional unit priorities that align with the Museums overall mission and resources and align the departmental structure to carry out that work best and most efficiently
    • Oversee and consult in the care, installation, and interpretation of the collections
    • Oversee and assist in the development of a program of thoughtful and compelling permanent collection displays, as well as temporary exhibitions, that engage visitors in exciting and diverse ways
    • Oversee and manage the shaping of the collections, including acquisitions and deaccessions
    • Oversee the coordination of conservation study, technical examination, and scientific innovation with programmatic priorities
    • Develop a strategy for and oversee the content of the Museum scholarly publications, including digital publications
    • Oversee the evaluation of exhibition proposals and loan requests from other organizations
    • Encourage and foster formal and informal interactions with local, regional, national and international peer institutions in regard to collaborative projects, including but not limited to exhibitions, loans, programs, and other partnerships

Collections Care and Management

  • Advocate for internal initiatives that modernize, streamline, and integrate collection content, aligned with industry standards and using existing and new processes, to better communicate and connect with defined constituents and the general public, onsite and via the web
  • Assess curatorial functions, priorities, and processes to ensure efficiencies, excellence, and alignment with museum best practices and AAM accreditation standards

Team Management

  • Demonstrate effective team management and team development that promotes inclusivity, collaboration, and effective relationship building across the institution
  • Manage successfully through best practices in team leadership a diverse and robust staff of curators, conservators, and specialists in collections management, exhibition management, publications, imaging, and digital projects
    • Lead and inspire the Curatorial Affairs & Collections staff through effective coordination and delivery of tasks
    • Provide clear guidance and communication to staff on current and future deliverables
    • Create and promote a culture of transparent communication within the units and effective collaboration across all institutional units
    • Coach and develop staff with the goal of continuous improvement of the individual and the team
    • Provide effective feedback to staff through the year and address performance issues in a timely manner

Cross-Institutional Leadership

  • Collaborate with staff across the organization regarding exhibition, collection-management, presentation, interpretation, publication, and archive strategies consistent with key initiatives, goals, and objectives of the Museum.
  • Lead the close collaboration of the Curatorial Affairs & Collections units with the Deputy Director and the Directors in her purview in the:
    • multi-year cross-departmental, integrated budgeting processes
    • planning and implementation of the refurbishment and renovation of the Walters five historic buildings with particular attention to the needs determined as immediate by the Facilities Condition Audit and that will drive the planning and implementation of a multi-year, overarching campus plan
  • Lead the close collaboration of the Curatorial Affairs & Collections units with the Directors responsible for engagement, visitor experience, and development.
    • in the development of meaningful and relevant visitor-centered public programs, including those for schools, families, and adults, tied to the programmatic schedule of exhibitions and displays
    • in the identification and development of new audiences in order to drive engagement, affiliation, and long-term loyalty to the Walters, its collections, resources, and programs
    • in the development and solicitation of grants and sponsorships to support the Museums collection/exhibition, conservation, and program priorities

External Communications/Relationships

  • Keep Trustees and related committees informed on plans related to the artistic program (including but not limited to reinstallations, temporary exhibitions, conservation, and publications both digital and print). Participate in Board meetings and standing committees of the Board; be the staff liaison for the Collections Committee.
  • Represent the Museum in professional, academic, and social forums with local/regional, national, and international colleagues and the broader cultural community through exhibition and research programs.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Strategic Leadership and Management Acumen

Minimum seven years of management experience in an art museum, art-related organization, or institution of higher learning. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections is skilled at building and leading high-performing, diverse teams of the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members growth and development. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections has the ability to set clear priorities, delegate and guide investment in people and systems. The ideal candidate will provide a productive work environment that matches the skill set and abilities of staff members as well as professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will foster a culture of collaboration, mutual respect and teamwork within the curatorial affairs & collections department and across other departments. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will encourage and celebrate the talents of the team while also holding each accountable to mutually agreed-upon goals. Additionally, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will approach the Curatorial Affairs & Collections departments operations and finances with focus and balance and will make decisions based on a clear understanding of the strategic objectives of the Museum.

Curatorial Affairs & Collections Leadership

The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will have a sophisticated understanding and passion for art and art history, the materials, techniques and condition of art objects, along with a robust record of exhibitions and scholarly publications. This individual will bring demonstrated experience with project management related to the care, conservation, display and interpretation of objects in a museum setting. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will have demonstrable success conceptualizing, designing and implementing compelling curatorial and collection strategies and will be adept at working with the staff to bring them to life; experience with exhibitions and collaborative projects spanning multiple venues desired. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will be comfortable in the broader arts and cultural community to advance the mission of the Walters Art Museum locally, nationally and internationally. Familiarity or working knowledge of best practices in collections management. Familiarity with cultural patrimony laws and Nazi-era provenance issues, with a commitment to adhering to all legal and professional guidelines in these areas. They will possess a high-level of cross-cultural competency and embrace the value found in our differences in all forms. This leader will have excellent presentation, verbal and written communication skills.

Building Relationships and Using Influence

The successful candidate must establish rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the Museum. As a leader that exudes an executive presence, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections must be highly articulate and a strong communicator. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with flexibility and poise. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will be a strong leader, communicator and collaborator who is skilled at listening to and learning from leadership, staff and volunteers. This leader will embrace the culture of the Museum, while always having an eye on opportunities to foster best-in-class practices in a productive manner with colleagues. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will naturally inspire fellow leaders, staff and volunteers to develop deeper relationships, leading the charge by example. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will be a proactive communicator at all times.

 

Passion for the Mission

Fully embracing the mission of the Walters, the relationship with the community and the commitment to its various constituents, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections is someone who has an anchor in history and understands how historic collections intersect with our contemporary world will be passionate about working in partnership with the staff, donors and other partners to advance the mission and curatorial agenda. The ideal candidate will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collections, buildings, history, research and scholarship and will demonstrate a commitment to public engagement and the visitor experience. Embracing the Walters culture while continually innovating alongside the Leadership Team, Trustees, staff and volunteers, the Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will help expand the Museums brand and reach. The Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs & Collections will have a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, a sense of humor and evidence of a commitment to lifelong learning and professional growth. Additionally, this leader will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Education

Advanced degree in art history, fine arts, museum administration, or commensurate experience preferred.

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