Museum Registrar/Collections Manager – Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Reports to:  Florence Finch Abbott Director, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Supervises:  Senior Museum Preparator, Assistant Museum Preparator, Digitization Coordinator and Museum Photographer, Art Museum and Skinner Museum Monitors, Student Guards, and as necessary, Art Museum Advisory Board Fellow, and Student Interns

Summary of Position

The Museum Registrar and Collections Manager is responsible for the overall care of the collections of the Art Museum and Joseph Allen Skinner Museum by developing and implementing policies and procedures that ensure the proper documentation, indemnification, preservation, protection, movement, and installation of works of art and material culture.

The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum is a dynamic cross-curricular resource for the College through its Teaching with Art program that advances object-based learning with the Art Museum and Skinner Museum collections. Last year the Museum served 122 different courses, for a total of 34 disciplines, 200 class sessions, 3,206 student visits, and 1,373 objects pulled from storage. The successful candidate for this position must be well-aligned with the Museum’s teaching mission.

This key position collaborates closely with the Florence Finch Abbott Director and the Education and Curatorial departments regarding exhibition planning, acquisitions, conservation, loans, and other collections work. The position manages a team of five regular staff members (three full-time and two part-time) as well as other part-time monitors and student staff.

Review of applications will begin on June 14, 2019.

Primary Duties

  • Records & Information Management
    • Generate and maintain documents and files pertaining to the permanent and study collection.
    • Research and resolve problem accession numbers and records in collaboration with Curatorial department.
  • Database
    • Manage collection database.
    • Supervise in-house instruction on use as well as establish and maintain data standards.
    • Provide support for the digitization of the Museum collection.
    • Serve as liaison to the Collections working group of the Five College consortium.
  • Exhibitions and Loans
    • Collaborate with Curatorial and Education departments in the planning and production of exhibitions.
    • Participate in the review and approval of incoming/outgoing loans.
    • Coordinate all aspects of the loan process for exhibitions and incoming and outgoing loans.
    • Oversee the renewal of long-term loans to include annual condition assessment.
    • Generate and negotiate contracts with participating institutions, prepare condition report notebook and installation guidelines for traveling exhibitions.
  • Accession / Deaccession
    • Manage all aspects of the accession process to include data entry, cataloging physical components, and documentation.
    • Maintain awareness of current legislation affecting charitable donations and the importation of art objects.
    • Manage all aspects of the deaccession process in collaboration with the Curatorial department.
    • Collaborate with College Advancement office regarding gifts of art from alumnae and and related protocol.
  • Inventory
    • Maintain current locations and tracks movement of objects.
    • Conduct inventories of the collection and address reconciliation issues.
  • Art Handling
    • Supervise the Assistant Museum Preparator in the movement, tracking, and housing of objects for the Museum’s Teaching with Art program.
    • Is responsible for the packing and shipping arrangements for all works entering or leaving the Museum as well as traveling exhibitions.
    • Collaborate with Senior Museum Preparator and Curatorial department to develop and implement schedules for installing and dismantling exhibitions, loans and permanent collection displays.
    • Act as courier and as necessary travel to venues to supervise packing, unpacking, and installation.
    • Coordinate or assist in local movement of objects in the collections.
    • Pull objects for classes, as necessary.
  • Conservation
    • Implement and execute storage and display of works according to accepted archival standards.
    • Maintain familiarity with collections care supplies and equipment.
    • Collaborate with Curatorial department on conservation assessments, coordinate activity and assist in processing reports.
    • Coordinate with contractual conservators.
  • Risk Management
    • Collaborate with the Five-College Risk Manager in negotiating the fine arts insurance policy and communicating with broker.
    • Write plan and serve as coordinator and primary respondent for facilities issues, Disaster Response and Recovery as well as other risk management practices.
  • Security
    • Serves as primary respondent in the event of Security or Environmental system alarms or emergencies, on call 24/7 via the Museum designated cell phone.
    • Design, implement and maintain systems and practices that ensure the physical security of all objects located within the Museum facilities.
    • Serve as liaison to the Campus Police.
    • Schedule, train, and supervise Art Museum and Skinner Museum Monitors and student guards, and establish written security guidelines.
  • Environmental
    • Monitor HVAC systems and work with Facilities Management to maintain proper conditions in galleries and storage areas as to air purity, temperature, and humidity.
    • Create reports that track conditions.
  • Supervisory
    • Manage and supervise team of three full-time employees, two part-time employees, and other part-time Monitors and student staff.
    • Hire and train part-time Museum Monitors.

Other Duties:

  • Meetings/Events
    • Establish schedule, coordinate agenda, document staff input, and generate report for monthly Collections meetings with Education and Curatorial departments.
    • Participate in other monthly meetings each for Exhibitions and Acquisitions.
    • Participate in biannual Art Museum Advisory Board meetings and special events.
    • Present occasionally for classes and other student-focused sessions including tours of storage.
    • Provide operational support and attend Museum events.
    • Occasional evening and weekend hours are expected.
  • Planning/Budget
    • Manage Collections cost center in collaboration with Financial Coordinator.
    • Participate in institutional strategic and long-range planning, budget development, report writing, program evaluation, and special projects.
  • Skinner Museum
    • Collaborate with Associate Curator of Visual & Material culture on the care of the Skinner Museum collection, including:
      • Art handling, storage and display of objects located in the Skinner Museum buildings.
      • Collections Database record management.
      • Coordinate and participate in annual cleaning and organization in preparation for seasonal opening.
      • Serve as liaison with Facilities Management and Campus Police to maintain the physical and security environments.


Master’s degree preferred in art history, history, museum studies or related field, and 10 years of museum registrarial or collections management experience, preferably at an academic museum.

  • Knowledge of industry standards, best practices, and policies regarding collection care, handling, display and packing of a variety of object types; knowledge of conservation practices including standard agents of deterioration; knowledge of applicable laws and ethical codes as set forth by AAM (NAGPRA).
  • Experienced in direct art handling. Knowledge of art media, techniques, nomenclature, and classification.
  • Excellent computer skills including experience with relational database management programs; Mimsy XG preferable.
  • Strong organizational skills and demonstrated successful experience in leading a team, managing major projects, budgets, and short- and long-range planning, as well as implementing collection policies, procedures, systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate in written, oral and visual media.
  • Detail and accuracy oriented with excellent problem solving skills, flexible multi-tasking, working well under pressure, and meeting deadlines in a fast-paced and sometimes ever-changing environment.
  • Proven ability to make complex decisions, be self-directing and work independently while able to work successfully as part of a team through effective communication and cooperation.
  • Solid experience in personnel management related to hiring, training, supervising and appraising performance.
  • Ability to establish and maintain collaborative and effective working relationships with Museum and College staff, donors, visitors, students, couriers, and others.

Physical demands/Working conditions

Strength, physical mobility and manual dexterity required. Ability to lift up to 30 pounds. Position requires periodic travel by car, van and truck for object transit. Willingness to work flexible hours and days.

About Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (MHCAM) is defined by its innovative program of teaching with art and material culture. The number of faculty and students deeply engaging with original works of art continues to grow each year. Last year 122 different courses held 200 class sessions at MHCAM, comprising a total of 3,206 student visits. As a part of that unprecedented activity, 84 faculty members from 34 different disciplines taught not only with the art on view in the galleries but also with 1,300 objects pulled from storage.

The permanent collection at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum comprises objects from five continents and across thousands of years of history. Particular strengths within the Museum’s 24,000 holdings are ancient Mediterranean art and artifacts, paintings, sculpture, and decorative art from Europe and the United States, and modern and global contemporary art. Categories of significant depth include photography, glass, ceramics, prints and drawings, and numismatics.

Since its founding in 1876, the Museum has been the recipient of sizeable and specialized collections. The earliest such collection comprises a group of objects that came from various donors—the so-called Missionary Collection. This group was formed during the late 19th and early 20th century through a series of gifts from alumnae of Mount Holyoke College working as missionaries in foreign countries. Other more recent gifts by single individuals, such as the Richter Collection of Netsuke, and the Fellows Collection of Silver and Snuff Bottles, have allowed the Museum to attain depth in unique areas that might not otherwise be represented in its collections. The most significant “collection within the collection” is the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, boasting 7,000 objects acquired over the lifetime of one visionary local collector.

For more information about Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, please visit:

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