Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs: University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)

The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) seeks a creative, dynamic Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs to help develop and lead an ambitious, highly creative artistic program and provide strategic vision and managerial oversight for the museum’s exhibitions and collections. S/he is responsible for the administration, coordination, and successful implementation of all operational aspects of curatorial affairs. Expertise in 19th century, or Modern and Contemporary American and European art required. Candidates under-represented in the museum curatorial field are strongly encouraged to apply.

This unique opportunity will appeal to candidates who thrive in a cohesive, team-based environment, and who are excited by the possibilities of working in a large, research-based university while also understanding its challenges.

For full consideration please provide a resume, with cover letter, describing how your experience and qualifications relate to the position requirements. Please apply at:  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 

Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs


The Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Modern and Contemporary art provides leadership, strategic vision, and managerial oversight for the Museum’s exhibitions and collections. S/he is responsible for the administration, coordination, and successful implementation of all operational aspects of curatorial affairs. The position reports to the Museum Director.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Deputy Director’s duties include:

  • Collaborates with the Director to conceive and shape a distinctive and dynamic exhibition program that advances the Museum’s visibility and reputation, and includes exhibitions that travel nationally and internationally to ensure the Director’s strategic vision is realized. The Museum’s program includes both contemporary and historic exhibitions and presents exhibitions that are innovative and current in approach, material or point of view.
  • Conceives and organizes well researched, exciting, and original exhibitions and programs relevant to contemporary culture and issues, and that achieves audience goals.
  • Supervises the curatorial, exhibitions planning, publications, collections, and conservation staff and develops and implements exhibition and publication budgets and schedules, collaborating closely with other UMMA staff.
  • Provides direction for the collections’ growth, through acquisitions and gifts, and deaccessioning, as well as long-term planning and priorities for the Conservation Lab and conservation of works in the collection.
  • Oversees, conceives and plans innovative print and online publications and programs that expand collections strengths and key initiatives.
  • Mentors curatorial, collection, and exhibition staff, encouraging their professional development and growth.
  • When possible teaches courses and workshops to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Oversees the acquisition committee communication and meetings.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Writing and editing exhibition and publication materials that convey sophisticated ideas while also appealing to a broad range of visitors and readers; assisting the curatorial team in strengthening writing.
  • Collaborating with UMMA development staff on fundraising; actively cultivating relationships with existing major and potential donors, foundations, collectors, and alumni.
  • Actively mentoring curators, interns, and students in best and creative curatorial practice, and working to strengthen exhibitions ideas and implementation of the more junior curators.
  • Building and maintaining network of professional relationships with artists, curators, critics, and other specialists locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Contributing actively to programs, talks, symposia, and electronic media.
  • Working closely with the Museum’s Senior Manager for Museum Technology to develop and implement strategies for the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, on digital platforms.
  • Working with UMMA’s education department to develop interpretive programs and materials, and to make exhibitions relevant to the University of Michigan’s curriculum and diverse audiences.
  • Playing a key role in UMMA’s long-range institutional planning efforts, such as establishing programmatic and collection development priorities, conservation planning and strategic planning.
  • Serving as a key member of the management team.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in Art History or equivalent preferred, with extensive knowledge and emphasis in American 19th century, Modern, or Contemporary art, and appreciation for the full range of the field.
  • Minimum of ten years relevant work experience, minimum of five years of experience leading and managing museum projects, programs, and mentoring others.
  • Advanced knowledge of, and experience in, museum curating, research, and collection development.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex concepts about history, visual arts, and cultural practice to a public that ranges from casual museum-goers to academics.
  • High-level cultivation and grant development experience.
  • College and/or university level teaching experience
  • Understanding of, and sensitivity to, diverse communities served; locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Ability to collaborate internally and externally, and cultivate strong relationships with faculty, donors, and colleagues.
  • Ability to balance the creative and intellectual process of curating with administrative, financial and practical management duties.
  • Strong staff management and mentoring skills.
  • Understand and maintain highest ethical standards related to organizational responsibilities and public accountability.

UMMA Mission: UMMA seeks to transform individual and civic life by promoting the discovery, contemplation, and enjoyment of the art of our world.

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