Assistant Curator of Photography — Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University

Since its establishment in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University (IU) has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the foremost university art museums in the country. A preeminent teaching museum, the museum’s internationally acclaimed collection, ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African masks to paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.

The Eskenazi Museum of Art recently completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I. M. Pei–designed building. The newly renovated museum will be an enhanced teaching resource for IU and southern Indiana. Positioning the institution as a premier teaching museum requires breakthrough programming, experiences, and storytelling that advance its mission in powerful ways. As part of its mission, the museum is making a renewed commitment to offer study of its works on paper collection to the IU campus and community, through a new Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Center, which includes a 1,500-square-foot dedicated gallery, publically visible study room, and enlarged storage facilities. To this end, the museum seeks an outgoing and passionate individual who will serve as a three-year, limited-term assistant curator of photography, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. This position will focus on a major collection of more than 5,000 works by Henry Holmes Smith, IU’s first professor of photography, and many of his contemporaries. Smith is recognized not only as a foremost photography theorist and educator but also for his innovative cameraless photography. The individual in this position will also encourage significant research, discussion, and debate about photographic theory and pedagogy, as well as the role of arts education and artistic experimentation in the academy.

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful leader and enthusiastic team player who is well-versed in the history of photography and able to conceive and execute a vision for the study and appreciation of the work of Henry Holmes Smith and his contributions to the photography field. The assistant curator of photography will work collaboratively with the Curator of Works on Paper and other museum colleagues, especially in the curatorial and education areas. The successful candidate must possess a MA in art history or a closely related discipline that indicates a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise in the history of photography and photographic processes. The candidate should also possess demonstrable museum or gallery experience and have a record of accomplishment in successfully producing significant exhibitions, public programs, and publications related to photography.

Major Job Responsibilities

  1. Develop a comprehensive plan for cataloguing, digitizing, and providing web access to the material in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive, including more than 3,600 works by Henry Holmes Smith and more than 1,300 works by many of his students, friends, and contemporaries.
  2. Supervise two hourly student employees (one photographer and one registrar assistant) in cataloguing and documenting the works in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive for the museum’s online database, and work with museum’s registrars, photographer, and manager of museum technology on its implementation.
  3. Play a critical role in launching the museum’s new Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Center, collaborating with Curator of Works on Paper, IU faculty, Bloomington photography community, and the museum’s education staff to develop strategies for the use of materials in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive.
  4. Develop a comprehensive exhibition plan for a future retrospective of works from the Henry Holmes Smith Archive with timeline, list of potential collaborators, venues, funding sources, and catalogue proposal.
  5. Conduct primary research on material in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive, with potential research trips to the artist’s heir, other museums, scholars, and/or the artist’s former students, for comparative study and potential catalogue essay(s).
  6. Participate with the museum’s curators and education staff on plans for programs and joint class presentations related to materials from the Henry Holmes Smith Archive.
  7. Meet regularly with the museum’s curatorial staff on the development of the Curatorial Studies Center and other initiatives.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Understanding of curatorial practices and methodology.
  • Knowledge and understanding of museum ethics and principles.
  • Must be articulate, with excellent presentation and writing skills, and effective communication, organizational, and time management skills.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team-based environment with strong collaborative skills.
  • Willingness to build positive and effective relationships with museum colleagues, donors, and the broader IU and Bloomington communities.
  • Must have the ability to broaden the platform for photography and develop/create national and international networks of museum peers, artists, and gallerists.
  • Strong record of research, scholarship, and public speaking, with proven experience organizing loan exhibitions and producing publications of the highest quality.
  • Possess a broad and deep knowledge of photography and its relationship with broader art history.


MA required; PhD preferred.

Two to three years of art museum or major art gallery experience with a record of creating, organizing, and installing exhibitions and writing about photography. Some cataloging and database management experience helpful.

Required documents

CV, cover letter

For full consideration, completed applications must be received by October 14, 2019. Interested candidates should submit their application through IU’s job page:

Questions about the position should be directed to Nan Brewer at

Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.

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