Curator of Academic Engagement (CAE) – Washington and Lee University

Minimum Pay: $55,131.00 – Pay Commensurate with Experience

Work Schedule: M-F, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, occasional night and weekend hours are required.

About Us:

Washington and Lee University is a small liberal arts college nestled in the Virginia mountains, with an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,860. W&L is the ninth-oldest college in the U.S. and a top-ranked, private university. W&L is located in Lexington (pop. 7,000), a vibrant and picturesque town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

The Museums at W&L consists of three sites: the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, University Chapel & Galleries, and Watson Galleries. Its mission is to advance learning through direct engagement with the collections and facilitate an interdisciplinary appreciation of art, history, and culture. The museum greets on average (pre-COVID) 35,000 visitors each year and provides students, faculty, and staff opportunities to engage with a wide-ranging ceramics and fine arts collection spanning centuries through exhibitions and programmatic offerings.

The Reeves Museum of Ceramics showcases one of the country’s finest collections of Chinese and Japanese export ceramics, including European, Asian, and American ceramics spanning some 4,000 years. The collection tells stories of history, design, technology, trade, patriotism, and protest.

The Watson Galleries contains two changing exhibit galleries that showcase rotating selections from the arts and ceramics collections and house the Senshin’an (洗心庵 or “Clearing-the-Mind Abode”), an authentic Japanese Tea Room. The Tea Room is open for viewing as well as public tea demonstrations throughout the year. The art collection includes roughly 8,000 works of art from around the globe. The collection consists of early American portraits by artists such as Charles Willson Peale and Gilbert Stuart, a growing collection of 20th and 21st century works by international artists, including Elizabeth Catlett, Fernando Botero, William Christenberry, Sam Gilliam, Sally Mann, and Andy Warhol among others. In addition, the art collection includes Chinese fan paintings, 20th-century Chinese brush paintings, and Japanese woodblock prints.

The University Chapel & Galleries, a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1868 during Robert E. Lee’s tenure as 11th president of the Washington College. Non-denominational and unconsecrated, the University Chapel & Galleries includes an auditorium, a historic statue of Robert E. Lee, and multiple galleries.

Job Description:

Reporting to the Director of Museums, the Curator of Academic Engagement (CAE), plays a leadership role in advancing the mission of the Museums by integrating the collection into the University’s curriculum. The CAE will serve as the primary liaison with university faculty regarding collaborative endeavors, developing pedagogy, and leading programmatic strategy for supporting student and faculty engagement with the collections. Working closely with the Curator of Art and the Curator of Ceramics, the CAE will be responsible for coordinating collections engagement projects and creating intellectually rich and accessible interpretive approaches built around the Museums’ collections.

The CAE is charged with developing strategies, interpretations, and opportunities for learning engagement across multiple platforms, increasing faculty-student participation, and ensuring the delivery of relevant, intellectually engaging, and exciting mission-driven experiences, on-campus and online. The CAE plays a critical role in making the Museums a platform for creativity, critical thinking, curricular learning, and cultural engagement for Washington and Lee. In addition, with the right qualifications, the CAE may teach a course in the Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies minor.

To achieve our mission as a liberal arts college, we continually strive to foster an inclusive campus community, which recognizes the value of all persons regardless of identity. Along with the University, Museums at W&L is committed to contributing to an educational environment that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity.

Essential Functions:

  • Supports the mission of the University and coordinates pathways for the academic community to connect with the museums’ collection in support of teaching and research.
  • In collaboration with the Director, establish long‐range vision, annual goals, objectives, and priorities for academic engagement.
  • Working closely with the curators: Collaborates with faculty, students, artists, and guest scholars to develop lesson plans, training sessions, and new interpretive approaches in impactful ways; Provides input during the development of exhibitions by playing an active role in planning and developing educational and interpretive components as they relate to exhibitions; Co-produces interpretive plans for museum projects that articulate big ideas, key messages, visitor outcomes, and interpretive strategies.
  • Assists with developing gallery didactics in print and digital forms.
  • Assists with the design of engaging interpretive materials and experiences such as interpretive texts, videos, audio and web content, response stations, participatory learning spaces, and other digital learning platforms.
  • Demonstrates commitment to university DEIA initiatives. Ensures that Museum engagement and educational programming is welcoming, equitable and accessible for all audiences. 
  • Recruits and supervises student employees, museum attendants, and interns, and leads the development and implementation of creative educational and auxiliary programming for broad and diverse audiences presented in various formats: seminars, lectures, and workshops.
  • Integrates assessment tools, gathers and analyzes qualitative and quantitative data, and other engagement metrics for evaluations, board reports, and funding proposals.
  • Conceptualizes, designs, and directs the development of promotional materials for education and programmatic-related initiatives.
  • Identifies funding opportunities, drafts grant proposals, develops and oversees the portions of the annual budget in collaboration with the Director, and tracks expenditures to ensure adherence to set goals.
  • Other related duties as assigned.​

Minimum Qualifications: Master’s Degree in Art History, Museum Studies, or related field is required. 3-5 years of experience in museum work and/or appropriate experience in higher education. Broad understanding of art history, including a range of historical periods, cultures, and artistic trends, and a willingness to learn about subjects and material outside of established areas of expertise. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, cross-cultural competence, professionalism, and a demonstrated ability to work individually and in a team environment. Supervisory experience in a museum setting is preferred.

Application Instructions:

Resume and cover letter are required. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. 


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