Nancy Elizabeth Prophet Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art – RISD Museum

Job Summary

RISD Museum is actively seeking a Nancy Prophet Curatorial Assistant. This is a great opportunity for recent college graduates with a deep interest in art and research, social equity, and inclusion, to engage in immersive exploration in these areas. The ideal candidate will have a broad curiosity for and desire to gain hands-on experience and increased knowledge within a wide range of disciplines by working within a supportive and developmentally-focused academic Museum environment.

The Nancy Elizabeth Prophet Contemporary Curatorial Assistant position at the RISD Museum is a three-year, full-time term position that supports day-to-day curatorial functions in the Department of Contemporary Art including: exhibition planning; collection research, care interpretations, and acquisition; preparation of publications; overseeing and coordinating interns, fellows, and graduate assistants, and engaging with RISD students and faculty. Named in honor of Nancy Prophet, an artist of Narragansett and African heritage and one of RISD’s first graduates of color in 1918, this program provides significant professional-practice opportunities to high-achieving college and graduate school alumni up to three years post-graduation. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate extensively in aspects of the Museum’s curatorial and programming work. Through mentorship and professional-development support, they will develop the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to make important contributions to the museum field. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to fostering the understanding of works of art in a museum context; excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills; and the ability to work independently as well as collegially.

The RISD Museum acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets works of art and design representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present. Distinguished by its relationship to Rhode Island School of Design, the Museum educates and inspires artists, designers, students, scholars, and the public through exhibitions, programs, and publications. The RISD Museum is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can learn and create. With the goal of increasing the diversity of the museum profession, we aspire to create a climate that recognizes and values diversity as central to excellence.

Essential Functions

Working closely with the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, along with other Museum staff across varying departments, the Curatorial Assistant will:

  • Assist curator in planning and organizing exhibitions (and related publications) of painting, sculpture, video, and interdisciplinary work including preparation of artists’ exhibition histories, bibliographies, checklists, photographic materials, etc.
  • Under the curator’s supervision, conduct research and inventory of objects in the collection and prepare information about new acquisitions.
  • Conceive, propose and implement as approved, programs for the Spalter Media Gallery and other exhibition programs if applicable.
  • Coordinate public and educational programs on behalf of the contemporary art department.
  • Organize departmental files; manage correspondence.
  • Liaise with registrars, installation department, and other staff.
  •  Supervise interns, fellows and graduate assistants.
  •  Engage with artists in the community.


  • Cultural competence, collaborations with diverse communities, or other areas of experience or expertise that support the stated goals.
  • Bachelor’s degree in art, art history, or related field.
  • Knowledge of contemporary art required.
  • Office experience necessary, preferably in a museum, gallery, or related area.
  • Excellent writing, computer, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaborate with others.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Must recognize diversity and inclusion as central to excellence.



Work Schedule

35 hours/week; 12 months/year

Employment Status

Non-Exempt; Term 3 years


 $23.74/hr, depending upon skills and experience

Documents Needed to Apply

Resume (required)

Cover Letter (required)

Application Website–Contemporary-Art_R-01129-1

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

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