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The Ella Sharp Museum seeks an energetic, innovative, and dynamic individual to lead the department of Curatorial Affairs. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience building a collection, leading a team, collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to nurture partnerships that support collecting and exhibition efforts, and working strategically.
Reports to: Executive Director
Classification: Full time, Exempt
Location: 3225 Fourth St, Jackson MI
Department: Curatorial Affairs
Supervises: Archives Coordinator, Exhibits Coordinator, Cell Block 7 Manager, Interns and Volunteers
Salary: $33,000-$38,000 with benefits
About this position
Under the direction of the museum’s Executive Director, the Director of Curatorial Affairs (DCA) provides leadership to the Ella by connecting the museum’s mission and vision with the greater Jackson community through a robust exploration of historic themes, artistic ideas, and community needs. The DCA serves as the museum’s chief curator, provides direction and guidance to the museum’s collecting efforts and exhibition program, and ensures the Cell Block 7 satellite museum is integrated with all areas of museum operations. The DCA is a member of the senior staff team that includes the Director of Learning and Engagement, Director of External Affairs, Director of Facilities, and the Accounting and Business Office Manager. This position is primarily 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday with occasional evening, weekend and holiday hours.
Representative responsibilities of this office include:
Direct museum collecting activities with particular focus on developing a collections plan that reflects current community events and activities and respects community stakeholders
Develop community partnerships that foster museum engagement particularly through collections, exhibit, and Cell Block 7
Plans, directs, and advances museum’s strategic plan by setting Cell Block 7 strategic direction and leading new collecting and exhibition initiatives
Lead department team to establish priorities for collecting, research, exhibition, documentation, and access
Provide leadership to Cell Block 7 operations, insuring clear communication with stakeholders and museum staff
Keeps current on museum best practices with particular focus on equity and inclusion
Oversee the museum’s historic structures, provide guidance on care and interpretation, manage relationship with City of Jackson regarding city owned structures at the Ella
Lead exhibit development, write labels, and conduct evaluation
Staff liaison to Board Collections Committee
Lead reaccreditation team
Partners with staff team to develop and manage department budgets within financial goals
Acts as a spokesperson for the museum, represents the museum at the local, regional and national level
Bachelor’s degree required, Masters preferred in public history, museum studies, art history, or related field
5-7 years of curatorial experience in multi-disciplinary museum, or any other combination of experience that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities
Demonstrated success in leadership roles and experience forming successful collaborations with community groups
3 years experience supervising, mentoring, and training staff
General knowledge of American material culture
Ability to manage multiple, complex priorities within demanding timeframes
Excellent written and verbal communication skills required
Experience with standard office software, Collection Management System (PastPerfect) experience a plus
This position requires the ability to do one or more of the following throughout the day: sit, stand, and walk, to lift up to 30 lbs occasionally, do close work in an office environment using a computer monitor and perform repetitive hand movements. Employee must be able to communicate verbally. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
About the Ella Sharp Museum
The Ella Sharp Museum, founded in 1965, offers programs, exhibits and experiences preserving community history, advancing art appreciation and understanding, connecting children with science and, through the Cell Block 7 Museum, explores Jackson’s prison history. Our 10 acre campus includes the Hadwin Center with exhibit galleries, program spaces, offices and a museum store; the Merriman Sharp farmhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, barn and other historic structures; and the Hurst Planetarium. Our mission focuses on providing opportunities to connect our community with history, the arts, and science. We received American Alliance of Museums accreditation in 1978 and have been reaccredited twice. One of the first small museums in the country to receive such distinction, the Ella Sharp Museum is one of only 38 accredited institutions in the state of Michigan.
About Cell Block 7: Michigan’s Prison Museum
Operated in partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Cell Block 7 museum occupies two decommissioned buildings on the grounds of the still-active State Prison of Southern Michigan. Visitors tour the prisoner intake building then pass through to the 5-story tall cell block where they can enter individual cells and the main dining area or explore exhibits on prison history.
How to apply:
Submit cover letter, resume, and writing sample, PDF preferred, via email to:
Diane Gutenkauf, Executive Director,
Ella Sharp Museum,
Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2018. Resumes will be reviewed upon receipt.