Curator and Assistant Director of Collections – Stanford University Archaeology Collections

The Stanford University Archaeology Collections (SUAC) is a museum-style collection of over 100,000 archaeological, ethnographic, and contemporary folk art objects from around the world. The collection’s origins predate the university itself, reflecting cultural encounters and broad intellectual trends from the mid-19th century to the present day. SUAC is a privileged steward of diverse cultural legacies, and recognizes its special responsibilities to the local Muwekma Ohlone tribe and to other Indigenous peoples and people of color communities, both locally and around the world, whose heritage is represented in the collections. 

Through its mission of “connections through collections,” SUAC models best practices in the ethical stewardship of cultural heritage collections and celebrates the power of material culture to bring people together and inspire innovative thinking. Through exhibits (both physical and digital), stand-alone courses, pedagogical partnerships, and research programs, SUAC is an established resource for teaching, research, and public engagement on campus and beyond.

The Curator and Assistant Director of Collections reports to the Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. The Stanford Archaeology Center is an interdisciplinary hub focused on innovative research and education in archaeology and heritage. SUAC contributes to the Center’s mission to understand the past and its contribution to contemporary and future worlds, to redress the colonial foundations of archaeology through an enduring commitment to ethics and to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to support excellence in archaeological research and foster dynamic links between scholars in disparate fields.

The Curator and Assistant Director of Collections leads all aspects of SUAC operations, acquisitions, registration, collections management, education, research, and outreach, serving both the Stanford community and the broader public audience. The Curator supervises staff and student interns, structuring their contributions to SUAC’s mission and guiding their professional development. The candidate should understand and embrace the opportunities and challenges of leadership and operations for a mid-sized museum-like collection. The candidate also must be able to thrive in a prestigious academic environment, developing partnerships with Stanford faculty members and engaging students across disciplines as well as the general public. The candidate should possess demonstrable museum experience, as well as subject expertise in anthropology, archaeology, indigenous studies, or related fields. Because SUAC is located on the campus of one of the world’s premier research universities, the Curator has a unique opportunity to develop diverse and innovative programs that respond to the contemporary moment and also connect the past to the present. 

In this role you will:

– With general direction from the Stanford Archaeology Center’s Director, set overall strategic goals for SUAC and devise strategies and plans to achieve these goals, contributing as well to broad strategies related to Stanford Archaeology Center program communications, development, partnerships, and fundraising.

– Lead all aspects of SUAC facilities and operations, including acquisitions, registration, collections management, education, research, exhibits, and outreach, serving both the Stanford community and broader public audiences.

– Identify and implement high ethical standards for collections stewardship, teaching, research, and exhibitions, including consultation and collaboration with Native American tribes and other stakeholder communities and organizations, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of SUAC operations.

– Teach and administer at least one course per academic year (typically, Introduction to Museum Studies); create and supervise individual and group student internships providing experiential learning opportunities; develop and supervise the collections-based “Capstone” curriculum option for Archaeology majors. 

– Work with faculty to develop courses or course modules that are based at SUAC and/or use the collections; on request, provide detailed feedback on courses or course modules, and contribute to curriculum planning for the Stanford Archaeology Center.

– Lead development and production of exhibits (on-site and digital) and related education and interpretive materials and programming, including programs that provide multiple levels of access to exhibits using both traditional and new interpretive methods and technologies.

– Identify, conceptualize, plan, write, report, manage and track proposals, grant applications, peer-reviewed publications, reports, and other program documents.

– Gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate programs, measuring and reporting impact, and contributing to strategic planning and financial sustainability.

– Coach and mentor program staff and student employees and interns.

Please note that this position will be based on the Stanford main campus and will be considered a hybrid role (3 or more days/week on campus) You may need to work extended or non-standard hours, weekends, and holidays based on program needs.

To Apply:

Candidates must include the following:

– Cover letter (no more than two pages) describing your interest in the position and your curatorial, research, and teaching experience;

– Curriculum vitae or resume (CV preferred);

– List of 3 references, with contact information (letters will be requested at a later time).

Review of applications will begin on October 1 and continue until the position is filled. If you are one of the finalists, you may be asked to provide the following:

– Writing sample or equivalent example of work;

– Course proposal for an undergraduate class, inclusive of syllabus;

– Copies of all past teaching evaluations;

– Up to 3 letters of recommendations.


– Develop and manage research programs by conducting research activities, including outreach to varied stakeholders within the program, assigning resources and making program improvement recommendations that impact policies and programs.

– Identify, recommend and implement opportunities for new research.

– Source, collect and analyze data, create reports, review and explain trends; formulate and evaluate alternative solutions and/or recommendations to achieve the goals of the program or function.

– Teach and/or assist in the teaching and administration of courses. Develop curriculum. Develop curriculum-rating survey, detailed feedback on courses and make recommendations for preliminary overview and changes.

– Write and/or edit complex content for proposals, research grants, peer-reviewed publications, and other program activities.

– Contribute to and inform on strategic program/entity planning and related funding and financial sustainability.

– May advise students and/or coach/mentor clients.

– Develop or contribute to outreach strategy related to program communications, development, partnerships, and fundraising/funding.

– Coach and mentor program staff.

Education & Experience:

– Bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant experience or combination of education, training, and relevant experience.

– Advanced degree (PhD preferred) in anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, indigenous studies, or related fields is preferred. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

– Ability to develop program partnerships and funding sources.

– Excellent oral, written, and analytical skills, exhibiting fluency in area of specialization.

– Ability to oversee and direct staff.

– Basic knowledge of managing budgets and developing financial plans.

– Demonstrated experience in collections care and management; museum and archival data management and records; registration; exhibitions development and installation; museum safety and security standards.

– Knowledge of regulatory and legal requirements pertaining to cultural materials, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and related statutes. 

– Familiarity with the academic environment and ability to work cross-departmentally with distinguished faculty and staff. 

– Demonstrated creativity and innovation in developing and leading programs or exhibitions engaging a broad public, including university faculty and students.

– Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication, including public speaking.

– Demonstrated experience working independently and as part of a team. 

– Ability to accomplish goals working through formal and informal channels, with diplomacy and tactfulness. A proven ability to work collaboratively with others.

– Demonstrated ability to develop and meet budget goals.

– Demonstrated solid planning and organizational skills. Ability to establish priorities, manage shifting priorities, and handle numerous time-sensitive projects with multiple deadlines.

– Demonstrated creativity, problem solving, critical analysis, initiative, judgment and decision-making skills.

– Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Demonstrated commitment to promoting and supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion.

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