Chazen Museum of Art – Assistant Director of Collections and Exhibitions

The Assistant Director is a key member of the Museum’s senior management team, working in close collaboration with the Director in manifesting the organization’s mission. This position provides forward-thinking and dynamic leadership for the curatorial and exhibition programs. This new position comes at an important moment in the museum’s history. In 2017 the museum brought on a new Director, and this position is expected to be a partner in the realization of an ambitious and exciting vision for the museum.

This individual functions as the Chief Curator for the museum and as such is responsible for working with the Director to set strategic priorities related to growth, display, and interpretation of the museum’s permanent collection as well as setting the direction of a dynamic exhibitions program, conducts research and scholarship, and coordinates content for supporting publications.  The Assistant Director will see opportunities for different and innovative approaches for presenting collections and exhibitions objects and related material that will incorporate traditional connoisseurship and art historical rigor within a holistic approach to visitor experience and engagement.

Within the next few years, the Chazen Museum of Art will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary as the University of Wisconsin’s flagship art museum. Since opening as the Elvehjem Art Center in 1970, more than 3.7 million individuals have passed through the museum’s doors. The Chazen Museum of Art appeals to a broad audience, with over 110,000 visitors per year.  These include faculty members and students who use the Museum as a learning laboratory and enrich their coursework by engaging with original art. The museum also provides a unique opportunity for students to obtain hands-on experience in a professionally staffed museum, and many have gone on to careers in museums, art history, and conservation. While tens of thousands of annual visitors are affiliated with the university, the museum also serves as a bridge to the community and state, with numerous schoolchildren, families, professionals, and alumni taking part in its free public programming. The museum has a public, outward facing mission to serve people from all walks of life from throughout the state, and beyond, an embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea (

The institution has undergone substantial changes in its history, most notably in the past decade. A successful capital campaign raised $43 million for the construction of a major expansion building which opened in 2011. Simona and Jerome A. Chazen, UW–Madison alumni, donated a visionary gift of $25 million toward the museum.  The museum now encompasses 2 significant buildings, with over 150,000 square feet of programming space, housing a collection number more than 20,000.  The opening of the expanded facility brought new opportunities to host international exhibitions, innovative public programs, and expanded access to the collection for faculty members and university students. With new Museum leadership the coming years will bring incredible opportunities for the Museum to engage further with campus and fulfill its promise.


The Chazen Museum of Art should be a place of intersection, of dialogue and of community – a place to meet, to find respite, to be challenged, to explore beauty. In many ways all of the elements are already present to realize the above statement: beautiful building, excellent collection, great location, wide awareness of the museum across campus and Madison. The Museum is poised to have a dramatic impact on the campus and on the community as a whole – and will be significantly raising its national and international profile in the coming years.  There is the potential to, in a very short period of time, make the Chazen a physical nexus for innovation in the arts, a catalyst for continued development of the concept of this part of campus as a creative hub, a source of deep and engaging scholarship, and a valued anchor and touchstone to students, staff, faculty, and community.  The museum is committed to increasing access to the program and collections, and to addressing barriers to inclusivity across the institution. Underpinning this vision is a strategic plan with three major objectives: 1) Align Resources, 2) Ensure Sustainability, and 3) Increase Relevance.  Aligning resources and ensuring sustainability are the foundational objectives that will fortify the museum’s staff, finances, and infrastructure, after which the museum will be best equipped to increase its relevance to all of its constituents through its content (exhibitions, programs, publications, research, acquisitions, etc.).  The Assistant Director for Collections and Exhibitions has a crucial role to play in implementing this plan and realizing the full scope of this vision.

  • This position leads the development and growth of the permanent collection; oversees legal and ethical issues related to the collection; and ensures high levels of collections stewardship and care.
  • The Assistant Director conducts and directs research related to the collection, to include content for exhibitions and related publications.
  • As part of the senior management team, the Assistant Director will cultivate relationships with donors, collectors, professional colleagues, and the broader art world. The individual will be an active contributor to the field, producing original published research, presenting at conferences and participating in professional organizations.
  • The individual will further develop productive relationships with the campus community. This individual collaborates with faculty members and mentors graduate students conducting research on the collection or engaging in student exhibitions.
  • The Assistant Director oversees budget development for the curatorial section, working in close collaboration with the Director and Assistant Director for Administration to manage resources effectively. This individual identifies and pursues funding opportunities in line with the overall museum development strategy.
  • This individual leads and manages staff development for the curatorial section. This position supervises seven direct reports, to include individuals working in registration, exhibition management, curation, and preparation, in addition to graduate project assistants and student employees. This individual is expected to be a thoughtful manager who works to develop a collegial and supportive team environment with active professional development focus for all staff.  This position reports to the Director of the Chazen Museum of Art.

**In-person interviews for finalists will be held in Madison, Wisconsin the week of September 10th, 2018. Financial support and travel arrangement will be provided.**




Master’s degree in art history or related field required, PhD or equivalent preferred. Expertise in an area in which the museum has holdings is required (information can be viewed online at A minimum of eight years of progressive experience as a curator or in a closely related position is required; a minimum of 5 years in a museum leadership position is preferred; a distinguished body of publications and exhibitions is required; administrative skills in areas such as leadership development, project management and budgeting is required.

Salary and benefits: Salary range: $70,000-$100,000, based on qualifications.

Full university benefits are provided to include health and dental insurance, generous leave package, low cost bus pass, and retirement.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison campus offers ample recreation, cultural and educational opportunities. The museum is easily accessible and is located on many bus lines and bike paths.

UW-Madison is an affirmative action/equal employment employer and we encourage women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities to apply.

Applications must be submitted through the university website. Please see the full announcement, position description and application instructions at:

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