Curator of Performing Arts Special Collections – Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Libraries are in an exciting time of transformation. With new leadership at the Chancellor, Provost and University Librarian levels, the libraries are re-envisioning the future of library services at Vanderbilt. Through radical collaboration, we seek to deepen student and faculty engagement with the libraries, equip students for life-long information proficiency, increase faculty research impact, create more opportunities for interdisciplinary experimentation, and optimize access to collections and resources, including marginalized and hidden histories and cultures.

The Curator of Performing Arts is part of the Vanderbilt Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives and is a key leader responsible for promoting distinctive collections among students, faculty and scholars for collections research, public programs, exhibitions and instruction. The Curator oversees the accessioning, arrangement, description, and preservation of permanent records in performing arts special collections including audio/visual, born-digital, and multimedia formats. The Curator provides outreach and instruction for the collection. This position is also responsible for interacting with existing and potential donors to bring in funding and new collections of historic value that improve the holdings of Vanderbilt Libraries.

Applications received prior to March 15th will receive first consideration.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Applies professional best practices to establish and improve the processing, arrangement, and preservation of historic and contemporary performing arts collections.
  • Provides guidance on the development and management of archives, recorded sound, and special collections at Vanderbilt.
  • Arranges and describes performing arts manuscript collections.
  • Oversees the creation of finding aids in DACS format for in-house and web databases, including ArchivesSpace.
  • Demonstrates the ability to identify, safely handle, and assess the condition of diverse audio and video tape formats.
  • Provides reference service regarding performing arts collections.
  • Contributes to an energetic special collections team in teaching, public engagement, and outreach and collaborates with campus and community partners
  • Participates in regular schedule of exhibitions.
  • Identifies and applies for grants for archival projects.
  • Presents and publishes on the curation of performing arts special collections.
  • Supervises paraprofessionals, students, and volunteers.


  • Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from an ALA-accredited university is required.
  • Degree in a Performing Arts related field is strongly preferred. Minimum 3 years’ experience in a special collections library, archives, or museum library is required.
  • Strong subject expertise in music, including a focus on American and African American music, and an informed background in Dance, Theatre and Recorded Sound is required.
  • Commitment to promoting underrepresented voices in archives and an ability to foster equity and diversity in outreach and instruction is required.
  • Capacity to thrive in the changing environment of a major research institution and to respond effectively to changing needs and priorities are required.
  • Working knowledge of EAD-XML Schema, DACS, and metadata schemas is required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of archival information management systems, particularly ArchivesSpace is preferred.
  • Familiarity with audio and video digitization techniques and workflows is preferred.
  • Working knowledge of intellectual property issues related to archives, libraries, and special collections and copyright issues associated with audio, video, print and digital technologies is preferred.
  • Ability to lift 40-50 lb. archival storage boxes and assist in receiving large deposits of records is required.

Please apply online at

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.

About Us
Vanderbilt is a community of talented and diverse staff & faculty!
At Vanderbilt University, our work – regardless of title or role – is in service to an important and noble mission in which every member of our community serves in advancing knowledge and transforming lives on a daily basis. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, on a 330+ acre campus and arboretum dating back to 1873, Vanderbilt is proud to have been named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” as well as a top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area by Forbes for several years running. We welcome those who are interested in learning and growing professionally with an employer that strives to create, foster and sustain opportunities as an employer of choice through:

  • Working and growing together as a community of communities… we are One Vanderbilt.
  • Providing a work environment where every staff and faculty member can be their authentic and best self, while providing the resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Encouraging development, collaboration, and partnership both internally and externally while fostering the value that every member of the Vanderbilt community can lead and grow regardless of title or position.

We understand you have a choice when choosing where to work and pursue a career. We understand you are unique and have a story. We want to hear it. We encourage you to apply today so that you might become a part of our story.


Vanderbilt University has made the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and our surrounding communities a top priority. As part of that commitment, the University requires all employees to (1) participate in routine on-campus COVID-19 testing or (2) show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

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