The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s celebrated international museum and houses important collections of art, culture and nature (www.rom.on.ca). ROM is the largest and most attended museum in Canada, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors per year. It has a membership of over 32,000 households and an annual budget of $80 million CAD, and is a world leader in communicating its research and collections to the public. A globally recognized field research institute, home to more than 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, ROM features 40 galleries and exhibition spaces in its original heritage building and its 2007 Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind.
Evolving for the 21st– Century
Looking to the future, ROM’s vision is to become a distinctly 21st-century museum, one that will be globally known for expanding the boundaries of knowledge, innovation in presenting that knowledge, and public relevance within the intersecting worlds of art, culture, and nature.
To realize this vision, ROM has embarked on a new strategic direction that builds on its strengths and capabilities while evolving in step with a rapidly changing world. As part of this transformation, the Museum is becoming an ever more outward-facing institution, focused on playing a central role in community and cultural life, while increasing impact – artistic, cultural, and scientific – nationally and internationally.
Situated in the most diverse major city in the world, within a province and country known for pluralism, openness and global perspectives, ROM is well-positioned for the future and for an even greater role on the world stage. By leveraging ROM’s strengths and capabilities, and applying them in fresh and far-reaching ways, by investing to create greater engagement through inclusion, transdisciplinary thinking, digital practices and innovation, ROM is charting a new and bold way forward as it pursues its goal to become one of the world’s foremost museums. Learn more about ROM’s Strategic Direction here.
ROM seeks an inquisitive and entrepreneurial curator, strong in the soft skills of collaborative and team-based work, and enthusiastic to raise the profile of ROM’s Korean collections and programs for community members, general audiences and research scholars alike.
The successful candidate will be involved in developing and implementing a strategy to build, manage and interpret the collection of Korean Art & Culture, and will lead the interpretation and presentation of ROM’s Korean collections and programs with an eye to inviting in community voices, engaging collectors and research specialists, and spurring further interest in Korean art and culture. In the context of ROM’s Strategic Direction towards a more global, transdisciplinary storytelling model, this curator will champion cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary perspectives that highlight the relevance of Korean art, history and contemporary culture in today’s interconnected world and will bring active peer networks in research and museum circles.
The Korean collection, totaling over 1400 objects and including archaeological materials, antiquities, and works of art, is one of the largest collections of its kind in North America and the best in Canada. The collection showcases the history of Korea in the only gallery of Korean art in Canada. The highlights of the collection include pieces emphasizing the history and development of Korean ceramics from stoneware to porcelain, and Korea’s rich history of printing, calligraphy, and painting.
The Korean collection at the ROM is considered equal in quantity and quality to some of the best collections of Korean cultural objects and artworks in Europe and North America. The holdings include historic and cultural materials and works of art, based on eight historical periods: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Three Kingdoms (57BC-668), Unified Silla (668-935), Goryeo (918-1392), Joseon (1392-1910), Japanese occupation (1910-1945), and modern Korea (1945 – present). The selection of ceramics is an important and comprehensive representation, which is hard to find outside Korea. In addition to works on paper, textiles and costumes, wood and lacquer works from the 19th century are also substantial in quality and quantity. The Gisan painting collection features uniquely large-sized and refined works by the artist, not found elsewhere in the world. The painting and calligraphy holdings, including some rare examples from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are also significant. The permanent gallery dedicated to Korea offers opportunity for permanent collection rotation and small gallery programs.
The successful candidate will enjoy working with donors, collectors, scholars, diverse ROM audiences, including the Korean diaspora community, and global partners, particularly in Korea, with interests in Korean art and culture. They will welcome interactions with many audiences, including families and children.
The successful candidate will be a specialist in their field but interested in broad issues and questions related to Korean art and culture that have relevance in the contemporary world. This position offers an opportunity to expand ROM’s world-class collection and exhibition program into modern and contemporary art and culture, while maintaining its historic strengths.
This is a 5-year contract position, generously supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Curate ROM’s Korean art, culture and related collections and additionally bring attention to contemporary Korean art and culture and the dynamics of cultural heritage in contemporary works.
- The successful candidate will be expected to propose and execute a major Korean exhibition within 5 years.
- Exhibitions & Galleries:
- Identify and develop possible travelling exhibitions from the collection; promote relationships for the museum to promote such shows
- Work collaboratively with educators, the exhibition team, designers and artists in the development, creation, interpretation, and installation of special exhibitions and temporary displays; help develop possible traveling exhibitions.
- Maintain the permanent gallery, keeping it fresh through rotations and new displays.
- Public Programs/Outreach:
- Working with interpretation and education colleagues, propose, prepare and give public programs, lectures, tours, and workshops to the general public, professional colleagues, volunteers, local Korean cultural organizations, and other groups.
- Engage the Korean diasporic community, including Korean business and cultural communities.
- Actively cultivate support for programs, acquisitions, exhibitions, symposia, research grants, and fellowships through association with cultural and professional organizations, foundations, and patrons on local, national, and international levels.
- Research, Publications, Programs, Collections:
- Collaborate with domestic and international curatorial colleagues, collectors, patrons, and cultural organizations to generate public programs, exhibitions, and publications.
- Take responsibility for the Korean collections, including study, rotation and display, care and record-keeping, provenance research, digitizing and publication.
- Refine the collection and build it into new areas, such as Modern and Contemporary art and culture, including music, film, dance, and visual art.
- Maintain professional affiliations in scholarly and museum curatorial organizations, professional societies, and relevant committees.
- Explore, maintain and promote relationships with museums and other cultural organizations in Korea and abroad.
Education & Experience:
- A Ph.D. in Korean art history, culture, history or a closely related field at the time of appointment, or the equivalent in professional experience, exhibitions and publications.
- An academic specialty in some aspect of Korean art and culture.
- A keen interest in contemporary culture and the dynamics of cultural heritage in contemporary works is a preferred; knowledge of and experience with Korean archaeology and issues of provenance is an asset.
- A strong background of work within a museum environment, knowledge of peer institutions, and experience developing and implementing programs and exhibitions, and working with internal and external stakeholders.
- Experience working with a broad collection and managing loans is an asset.
- High-level proficiency with both spoken and written Korean required; fluency is an asset.
- A record of peer-reviewed publications is required. There is an opportunity for cross-appointment to the University of Toronto.
ROM curators are also expected to:
- Participate in fulfilling the learning mission of the museum, through university teaching and/or through supervision of interns and students at the museum.
- Facilitate research on the collection by outside/visiting scholars and develop one’s own program of original, scholarly research, usually relating to ROM collections and exhibitions.
- Work with the ROM Library to build resources on the study of Korean Art & Culture.
- Intellectually curious with an appetite to engage on a wide array of topics and to work with colleagues across disciplines.
- Ambitious for the institution and its efforts to develop strong networks into the local community and with established international scholars and institutions.
- Has an interest in leveraging interdisciplinary possibilities and programs to build collaborative partnerships internally and externally.
- Responsive to the ideas of others. Has high emotional intelligence.
- A strong communicator and a door-opener, proactively seeking partnerships, networks and input from community members.
- Multi-tasks well and can handle competing demands within a large, multi-layered, and active museum.
- Enjoys working as part of a strong and integrated team to build new experiences for ROM’s visitors.
- ROM is open to considering a range of candidates from an Associate Curator level up to Senior Curator, consistent with the candidate’s experience and the strategic goals of the museum. The salary increases according to rank and experience; the range is governed by Collective Agreement. The starting salary for each level is as follows:
- Associate Curator – $68,487
- Curator – $ 87,664
- Senior Curator – $119,109
- Full benefit coverage includes medical and dental plan, life insurance, long term disability, and pension
- NOTE: This is a unionized position, and the Curator will be a member of the ROM Curatorial Association (ROMCA).
To apply in confidence, email 1) letter expressing interest in this particular position, giving brief examples of past exhibition, programs and collections experience and proposed research areas and projects; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) names of three references with contact information. Submit application by April 28, 2022, to retained search firm: Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com. For additional information, visit: http://museum-search.com/open-searches/. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for this international search. However, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Nominations are welcome.
Short-listed candidates subsequently will be asked to provide publication samples.
The ROM is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. ROM considers equity, diversity, and inclusivity to be foundational to their institutional success. They seek to foster a workplace that reflects the full breadth of the communities they serve and welcomes applications from women, racialized persons, Indigenous/Aboriginal People of North America, LGBTQ2S+, and people with disabilities. Upon request, suitable accommodations are available under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) to applicants invited to an interview.
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ROM Curator Korean Art and Culture_ Job Profile_Final.docx
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