Curator of Institutional History and Exhibits – Washington and Lee University, VA

Job Description:

Reporting to the Executive Director of Institutional History and Museums, the Curator of Institutional History and Exhibits provides guidance in researching, collecting, and exhibiting aspects of Washington and Lee University’s institutional history. The Curator will contribute to the program’s mission to examine that history, uncover overlooked aspects of W&L’s institutional history, design new exhibitions, promote student engagement with chapters in the institution’s past, and develop partnerships with on-campus entities (e.g., Alumni Affairs, Student Affairs, Faculty, Admissions, and many others) and off-campus institutions (e.g., Mount Vernon, Stratford Hall, Valentine Museum, and other regional and national museums and archives). The Curator collaborates with the Executive Director to enhance these relationships, disseminate on-going research, and imagine new storylines and exhibitions for the forthcoming University Museum of History & Culture. Once completed, the University Museum of History & Culture will join three existing sites — the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, the University Chapel & Galleries, and the Watson Galleries — as part of the Museums at W&L.

Washington and Lee University actively promotes a dynamic and inclusive environment that allows students and employees of multiple backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives to learn, work, and thrive together. Successful candidates will contribute to that environment and exhibit potential for excellence in their areas of expertise.

Essential Functions:

·         Coordinates the overall Institutional History research and exhibitions workflow with the Executive Director. Collaborates to create, plan, and sustain creative, new opportunities for Institutional History research and programming.

·         Assists with planning for the construction, design, and installation of exhibitions in the forthcoming University Museum of History & Culture at Washington and Lee University.

·         Works with the Executive Director of Institutional History and the Director of the Museums in establishing priorities, goals, and budgets for collections projects related to storage, preservation, accessibility, or conservation needs that integrates the new history museum’s overall goals and strategic plan within the broader mission of the Museums at Washington and Lee. Collaborates with the Executive Director and Communications to create a narrative and presence for Institutional History aligned with university standards and accessibility guidelines.

·         Initiates, develops, and conducts research in one or more of the 18th through 20th centuries in American, Virginian, and/or Shenandoah Valley history. Studies artifacts to contextualize history and develop exhibit narratives with student scholars related to W&L’s institutional history. Develops research projects into exhibitions and public-focused publications, such as walking tours, brochures, and on-line exhibitions. Assists with research requests from on- and off-campus stakeholders.

·         Develops, designs, and installs long-term and temporary exhibition projects that promote understanding and scholarship related to W&L’s institutional history. Builds programming that represents multiple and disparate viewpoints related to the institution’s history. Collaborates with OIH members, museum curators, collections staff, and external experts to produce, edit, and format exhibit scripts, labels, interactive display components, and other exhibit-related narratives.

·         In collaboration with OIH and Museums colleagues, develops a collecting policy for historic objects. Oversees the development and maintenance of this collection with guidance on ethics and preservation concerns from other Museum staff members. Partners with Museum experts in the Museums at W&L to ensure professional standards for collecting, accessioning, preserving, storing, and exhibiting artifacts related to institutional history. Works with the Museums Collections Manager and Registrar to accession and catalog new objects.

·         Partners with University Advancement to solicit donations to enhance a collection of history.

·         Partners with the Executive Director to cultivate relationships with internal and external constituencies to enhance the museum’s visibility. Partners include the campus community, alumni, colleagues at peer institutions and museums, community partners, and members of the public. This strategy includes programming, outreach, and follow-up correspondence to donors and queries.

·         Assists the Executive Director and the Museums’ Academic Engagement Unit in communicating with faculty members to engage with Institutional History and Museums resources, incorporating programming and resources into existing courses.

·         Identifies appropriate funding sources and writes grant proposals to fund OIH projects. Manages relevant grant reporting and funding allocation.

·         Represents Institutional History by participating in and actively contributing to meetings, conferences, and committees related to programmatic and community engagement work.

·         May train and/or supervise part-time student employees.

·         Additional related duties as assigned.

Work Schedule: 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Occasional night and weekend work required.

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required, and advanced degree in the museum field and/or American history (masters or above) or on-the-job experience which demonstrates knowledge comparable to that acquired through advanced coursework. Equivalent of 3 or more years of experience in museum exhibition design and a higher education environment preferred. Knowledge of museum best practices for collections management and procedures (i.e., accessioning, preservation, cleaning, storage, handling, processing, digitalizing, transporting, displaying, and deaccessioning), including understanding of computerized museum and/or archives cataloging systems, is required. Proficiency with Proficio Museum Software preferred.

Excellent written, verbal, organizational and interpersonal skills are essential, with the ability to adapt communication approaches to different audiences and constituents. Ability to work with a broad range of stakeholders and constituency groups including administrators, faculty, students, university staff, community partners, and other external constituents is expected. Demonstrated interest in Virginian history and experience examining questions of historical representation in the historic record. Ability to communicate and build collaborative relationships with constituencies from a multitude of backgrounds. Understanding of issues and best practices related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility is required. Must be able to collaborate across departments and with constituents within the Washington and Lee and Rockbridge communities.

Application Instructions:  Review of applications will begin on March 15 and continue until the position is filled.  Resume and cover letter are required. Upload both required documents to the Resume/CV upload section of the application. You will be asked to provide names and contact information for three professional references.

External Applicants: Application instructions for external applicants are located on the or here.

Current W&L Employees: Apply from your existing Workday account. Instructions are located at or here.

Physical Requirements:

·         Fingering: Picking, pinching, typing or otherwise working, primarily with fingers rather than with whole hand or arm as in handling.

·         Grasping: Applying pressure to an object with the fingers and palm.

·         Repetitive motions: Making substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.

Working Conditions: The worker is not substantially exposed to adverse environmental conditions.

Types of Work: Sedentary work: Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.

Position Type:

Exempt, Full Time, Benefit Eligible

Minimum Pay:

$63,194.05 – Pay Commensurate with Experience

The university requires employees to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and new employees must provide proof of at least their first shot prior to the first day of employment. Boosters are required. Individuals may seek a medical or a religious exemption to the vaccination requirement.

Categories: Job Postings