Head Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions – Vassar College

Department: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Duration of Position: Full year / Full time

Work Schedule:

Employee Type: Administrator

Posting Date: 11/17/2020

Union Representation: Not Applicable

Posting Number: AS010P

Pay Rate:

About Vassar College

Located in the scenic Mid-Hudson Valley, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Vassar is strongly committed to fostering a community that reflects the values of a liberal arts education and to promoting an environment of equality, inclusion and respect for difference. Vassar College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer, and applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Vassar College is a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus.

Position Summary and Responsibilities

The Head Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions is charged with functional care for the Art Center’s collections, which collectively comprise one of Vassar College’s most significant assets. Custodial care for the collections is thus a central function for the Art Center, and the Head Registrar leads both long-range planning efforts and day-to-day activities relative to the care and stewardship of the collections and for all activities related to the movement of art objects, including incoming and outgoing loan activities, the registrarial and preparatory components of the Art Center’s exhibitions program, and long-term loans. Reporting to the Director, the Head Registrar provides important leadership relative to collections care, including shaping and enforcing collections management policies and practices that seek to operate at the highest levels of museum standards and best practices and to safeguard the Art Center’s collections and loans for future generations.

Collections Management interface with all key Art Center departments as well as with museums nationally and internationally, faculty and staff colleagues across the College, and collectors, donors, scholars, and researchers across the globe. The Head Registrar is thus a museum professional of impeccable standards, ethics, credibility, and attention to detail.

The Collections Management Department operates on time-sensitive and often busy schedules, facilitating an ambitious program of collections activities (including acquisitions, loans, campus art displays, and gallery installations that have grown enormously in scale and complexity in recent years) and of special exhibitions. The Head Registrar must therefore be able to lead the Department with grace under pressure, assuring the smooth and effective flow of information as well as of works of art, setting strategic priorities and assuring that deadlines are met without sacrificing quality or care.

The Art Center is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color. People of color are encouraged to apply.


Collections Stewardship and Strategic Planning

Leads long-range planning efforts and day-to-day activities relative to stewardship and care of the collections (permanent, loans, and campus), including accessing the collection for study and research purposes, planning for and implementation of art storage efforts, installation and rotation of campus art, preventative conservation strategies, and collections inventory planning and execution. Participates in and/or manages special projects as required, including a new, multiyear Collections Discovery Initiative aimed at enhancing access to the Art Center’s resources and providing rich associated content. Assures that collections records, including the Art Center’s database (TMS), are impeccably maintained. Maintains catalogue archive and issuance of ISBN numbers. Oversees the administration of Rights and Reproductions and digital imaging of the collection. Participates in ongoing efforts such as Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness. Works closely with the College’s Office of Risk Management to ensure that the Art Center’s collections and long-term and short-term loans of works of art are appropriately insured in the event of a catastrophic loss, including ensuring compliance with best practices, policies, and procedures to minimize risk to the collections and coordinating any insurance claims and policy riders.

Department Management

Leads a department of up to three associate or assistant registrars and the Art Center’s preparator, as well as coordination and oversight of occasional contractors, part-time workers, and student interns. Creates work plans for collections care and stewardship as well as for all art-movement activities associated with the Art Center’s dynamic exhibition schedule. Supervises or provides oversight to contractors such as conservators, installers, art handlers and mount makers as needed. Advocates for the Department’s needs and for the collections management field, both internally and externally.

Loan and Exhibitions Management

Oversees logistical arrangements for incoming/outgoing loans both domestic and international, and touring requirements for all special exhibitions organized or hosted by the Art Center, delegating specific responsibility for particular exhibitions from inception to completion including staff and contract registrars as needed. Also acts directly as loans registrar for special exhibitions on an occasional basis. Assures that logistical arrangements are made and customer service is provided to the highest standards. Provides oversight and assures the custodial care for all long-term loans on deposit to the Art Center, maintaining standards equal to the Art Center’s diligence relative to its own collections. Corresponds with lenders of long-term loans as requested by the Director.

Policies and Procedures

Ensures that the policies and procedures that relate to collections, traveling exhibitions and loans to/from the Art Center are consistent with current and evolving museum best practices and the Art Center’s recently developed Impact Plan. Assures that the Art Center’s comprehensive Collections Management Policy is up to date and is followed by all relevant staff, College employees, and other affiliates.


• B.A. required, M.A. preferred, in art history or a related field.

• Seven to ten years progressively complex museum registration experience, including experience overseeing collections and registration activity, as well as exhibitions planning and development.

• Personnel management and budget development and administrative experience.

• Proficiency in and demonstrated knowledge of current registration practices and principles.

• Knowledge of ethical standards and legal matters relating to the management of museum collections.

• Superb attention to detail is essential, as are planning skills, and the ability to both lead a team and be an effective and collaborative team member in a complex, fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.

• Ability to work—and communicate effectively—with a diverse range of colleagues, collectors, donors, and others, including handling of sensitive financial and legal materials.

• Experience and comfort working directly with people of all races, ethnicities,

socioeconomic backgrounds, religious affiliations, physical abilities, ages, genders, and sexualities.

• Advanced experience with collections management software required; experience with The Museum System (TMS) preferred.

• Excellent computer skills including Microsoft Outlook and Office, Excel, and a knowledge of, or a willingness to learn, Workday, Adobe CS and Google Tools.

Special Instructions to Applicants

To complete your online application, you will be required to attach your resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 professional references. All attachments must be in PDF format. Review of applications will begin immediately. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources, 845-437-5820.

For full consideration applicants should apply by:

All applicants must apply online at: https://apptrkr.com/2117387.

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