Art Collection Manager – Swarthmore College, PA

Who We Are:

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore is commited to excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will help foster a diverse and inclusive community. Located just 30 minutes from Philadelphia, Swarthmore’s 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum and considered by many to be a work of art in itself. Its abundant gardens, lawns, creek, and woods attract students and visitors from around the world.

Swarthmore is seeking an energetic and experienced Art Collection Manager to help safeguard its art collection and make it more accessible as a public resource. The collection of more than 3,000 objects includes works by diverse artists, including Benjamin West, Edward Hicks, Robert Henri, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Mary Lee Bendolph, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Sculptures installed throughout Swarthmore’s campus include works by Alexander Calder, Henry Bertoia, and Steve Tobin. The manager will work closely with the collection director and also collaborate with staff at the List Gallery, Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Friends Historical Library Collections, and the Artist Books and Private Press Collection. Our inclusive community of students, faculty, librarians, alumni, and administrators are committed to developing Swarthmore’s art collection to promote learning, civic engagement, and community well-being.

The opportunity:

The Art Collection Manager plays a pivotal role in the preservation, documentation, interpretation, and public appreciation of the Swarthmore College Art Collection. Also serving as registrar, the manager oversees the storage and transportation of art objects, documents and prepares works for display, and oversees the collection database. The Manager helps develop new policies and strategies, researches collection strengths, prioritizes and implements conservation, and responds to inquiries from donors and researchers. During the first year in the position, the Manager will oversee a comprehensive photographic inventory of works and obtain updated appraisals. Longer-term projects include migrating the database to a public-facing system, helping to plan for new storage and exhibition facilities, and helping to design and manage the collection website.

Who you are:

Swarthmore encourages applications from individuals who can manage simultaneous projects, work collaboratively and collegially, support curricular innovation, and contribute to public outreach. We especially welcome applications from those who pursue accuracy and improvement with a high-level of independence, maturity, and ethical discernment. We also encourage candidates with superior written and oral communication skills who are interested in researching and writing about collection objects, giving public talks or tours, and mentoring students.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities

•A creative problem-solver who is adaptable and collegial.

•Thinks creatively and critically about programs and activities.

•Challenges the status quo and promotes continuous improvement.

•Keeps informed about issues related to diversity, inclusivity, and environmental stewardship.

•Cultivates spaces and forums that foster mutual respect and intellectual inquiry.

•Understands and abides by a high standard of professional ethics.

•Models the sensitivity and communication skills needed to support diverse faculty, staff and students in the Swarthmore community and the public at large.

•Maximizes the use of available resources, in order to provide optimum value to the College.

•Demonstrates expertise through effective spoken and written communication skills. Motivates others by providing compelling explanations or instructions.

•Listens effectively and makes high-quality presentations.

•Manages time effectively, in order to accomplish highest-priority goals and objectives.

•Develops expertise in historical and contemporary art and curatorial practices.

•Develops productive working relationships with diverse artists, educators, curators, and gallery and museum administrators.

Required Qualifications

•Master’s degree or commensurate training in fine arts, art history, museum studies, or a closely related field is required.

•At least three years of experience administering a significant art collection.

•Superior research, writing, editing, and public speaking skills.

•Demonstrated success in managing multiple projects.

•Exceptional organizational, interpersonal, and collaborative abilities.

•Extensive knowledge of art collection management practices, including guidelines developed by the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries and the American Alliance of Museums, relating to preservation, handling, storage, shipment, insurance, and presentation.

•Experience implementing policies related to environmental hazards, security, and emergency preparedness and response.

•Facility with social media, graphic design, word processing, spreadsheets, photographic and video documentation, and standard office equipment.

•Familiarity with or the ability to quickly learn Filemaker, EmbARK and/or other data management software.

•Broad knowledge of both historical and contemporary art and demonstrated expertise related to museum administration practices, the management of academic art collections, ethical guidelines, and curatorial principles.

•Demonstrated excellence in record keeping and art documentation.

•Knowledge of recent changes in collection management policies and procedures, including those related to security, disaster, and emergency preparedness.

•Demonstrated initiative, independence, maturity, and discernment.

Preferred Qualifications

•Experience curating exhibitions, conducting art historical or other scholarly research, and leading productive working groups.

•Experience developing interpretive materials such as wall labels, press releases, brochures, and catalogs.

•Experience developing and implementing communication strategies that enhance the use of art collections.

•Familiarity with exhibition design and techniques related to presentation, packing, and framing.

Minimum starting salary: $85,000

For more detailed information and to apply, please visit:

For full consideration, submit applications including resume and cover letter with pay expectations by June 12, 2023.

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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