Samek Art Museum Fellowship – Bucknell University

The Museum a program of Bucknell University that creates meaningful encounters between artists, students, scholars, the public and works of art. The Museum presents original, travelling, and collection exhibitions and public programs that cover the range of art history with an emphasis on contemporary art. The Museum maintains an active museum collection of over 5,400 objects, including 450 works installed across the campus. The encyclopedic collection includes objects from pre- history to contemporary video art with strengths in photography and prints. The Museum programs and/or manages 3 spaces – the Samek Gallery on campus (including offices, work-room, and collection study room), Downtown Gallery, and off-site collections storage – totaling 3,600 square feet of exhibition and program space plus 2,000 of storage and workspace. The Galleries produce, on average, 12 exhibitions and numerous public programs and campus events annually.

The Samek Art Museum actively contributes to Bucknell University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Museum believes that social diversity drives artistic complexity and contributes to a broad intellect. Our exhibitions bring historically underrepresented artists and cultural perspectives to bear on the important question of our time. We serve our multicultural audiences through social relevant programs and inclusive interpretive materials. We build our collection to reflect the diverse world we live in and to model the equitable future we strive for.

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Fellowship Overview
The Museum Fellowship is offered for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a museum career. The fellowship focuses on curatorial work but also offers professional training in collection management, exhibition design and installation, education and public programs, and arts administration. It is designed to help fellows support their academic and career goals through supervised work experiences. Under the supervision of the Samek Art Museum director and chief curator, the fellow will have the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the Museum’s programs and operations. This is a 1-year fellowship with the possibility of renewal for a second year. The fellowship offers an annual $12,000 stipend for living expenses.

Special Opportunities
In addition to their other responsibilities and opportunities, the Fellow will be offered the opportunity to curate an exhibition drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection for the museum’s downtown gallery for the summer at the end of their second year.

The Fellow is also offered the chance to manage the museum’s “Connections Gallery” featuring student-curated exhibitions and other partnership projects. For this reason, it is desirable that Fellow candidates have experience curating, installing, or coordinating galleries.

Additionally, the Museum is currently exploring actively collecting and preserving born-digital art in addition to traditional art forms, offering a unique opportunity for the next Fellow who will be an integral part of this research and early collection development. Museum director, Richard Rinehart, recently published “Re- Collection: Art, New Media, & Social Memory” and working together with campus IT, the Museum is well positioned to undertake this project.

Fellowship Learning Goals
For the fellow, the purpose of the fellowship is:

  • To learn to function as a professional within his/her institution as well as the broader community of museums, and to understand current museum issues.
  • To learn to function within the organizational structure of a museum and to develop a knowledge of governance and administrative operations.
  • To develop knowledge and skills related to specific areas of museum work.
  • To develop the ability to identify, assess and solve on-the-job museum problems.
  • To assess individual wishes and needs for professional development.
  • To learn how exhibitions are curated and produced in a professional art gallery/museum environment.
  • To learn how the permanent museum collection of artworks is conserved, documented, and used in teaching and research.
  • To learn how galleries and museums educate the public about art in an informal life-long learning environment.

    Fellowship Assignments
    The fellow engages in learning opportunities and provides assistance with all aspects relating to the museum collections, interchanging/rotating exhibitions and interpretive programs, including, but not limited to:

  • Curatorial coordination for the “Connections Gallery: Experiments in Community Curating” including coordinating bi-monthly installation and de-installation.
  • Research artists and the exhibition history of artworks, create exhibition documentation, correspond with artists, and other tasks that contribute to developing exhibitions.
  • Conduct research, assist, and advise the Museum in collecting and preserving born-digital artworks.
  • Receive training in handling original artworks by assisting with installing and de-installing exhibitions and assisting with delivery and pick-up artwork.
  • Document art objects, and making the collection available to students and faculty in a learning environment.
  • Curatorial field trips to regional galleries and museums.
  • Accompany director and staff to selected campus arts meetings.
  • Act as Museum docent.
  • Occasionally opening gallery and assisting with producing events.
  • Practice public museum writing with regular writing for museum’s blog.
  • Read assigned readings about the history of museums and exhibition practices.
  • Attend regular meeting with museum director to reflect on fellowship experiences, plan individual projects and receive work assignments, discuss readings, and receive career consulting.
  • Attend weekly Museum staff meetings to observe and participate in administrative planning for the Museum’s programs and operations.

    Fellowship Requirements
    The ideal candidate has a demonstrated interest in curatorial practice. Attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and the ability to multitask and prioritize are essential to the position. Strong research skills are a plus. Background in art history with coursework in modern art preferred.

  • Master’s degree in art history or related fields such as art education, curatorial studies, or museum studies.
    Familiarity with issues around curating and collecting is preferred and familiarity with preserving born-digital artworks is desired.
  • Dependable, strong work ethic, and good communication skills.
  • Must be proficient with social media tools (WordPress, Facebook, etc.) and familiar with digital AV media (Video files,
  • Images, iMovie, Photoshop, etc.)
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds and work crouched or on ladders.
  • Must have a valid drivers license.
  • Must be able to obtain medical card required to drive 15 foot, 10,000 gross weight box truck.
  • The University is required to conduct several background screens according to state and federal laws and Bucknell policy, including Pennsylvania Criminal History, FBI and Child Abuse clearances. The Samek Museum Fellowship offer is contingent upon the University’s verification of these credentials.

    Application Guidelines
    In order to be considered for the position, all applicants are required to submit online a candidate profile and the application material (detailed below) on

    Details of application material
    Cover Letter:

    Include a cover letter that addresses all of the following questions in one to two pages:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What makes you a strong candidate for this position? Please tell about your relevant educational background and past experience.
  • What aspects of this position interest you the most? Why?
  • What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Please outline ALL of your employment history including art-related and non-art- related work experience. Please also list exhibitions you have worked on, art writing or curating, awards and recognition that you have received, other art-related engagements you’ve participated in, as well as extracurricular activities, etc.

    Writing Sample:
    Please include either:
    2 academic papers you have written about art, or
    1 academic paper and one other writing sample such as an exhibition brochure or art review.

    Please provide email and phone contact information for three references; professors, curators, gallery directors, or related professionals who know your work well.

    Additional Information
    If you have any questions about this position or about the application process then please contact:
    Richard Rinehart, Director

About Bucknell

Founded in 1846 and located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in historic Lewisburg, Pa., Bucknell University is an undergraduate-focused institution that stands uniquely at the intersection of top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs. Our students choose from more than 50 majors and 60 minors in the arts, engineering, humanities, management, and natural and social sciences, as well as extensive global study, service-learning and research opportunities. Bucknell’s 3,600 undergraduate and 100 graduate students enjoy a low 9:1 student-faculty ratio and exceptional opportunities to collaborate with faculty mentors.

Bucknell’s beautiful 450-acre campus includes first-rate facilities and is home to more than 90 percent of its students. Residential life is vibrant with about 150 student-run organizations, 27 NCAA Division I athletic teams, a robust arts culture, and a strong student commitment to community and global service work.

Bucknell is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and we seek candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports the growth and development of a diverse campus community. The University provides equal opportunity without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veteran status or disability in admissions, employment and in all of its educational programs and activities. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups to apply.

The Community

Located in central Pennsylvania, Lewisburg features a variety of restaurants, beautiful Victorian homes, the restored art deco Campus Theatre (owned by the University), charming shops and boutiques, and the Barnes and Noble at Bucknell University Bookstore. About 33,000 residents live in the region.

The city of Williamsport is about a 30-minute drive from campus, and Penn State University’s main campus is about an hour away, as is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital. Bucknell is about three hours from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The cost of living here is low compared to that of major U.S. cities and suburbs. Bucknell’s surroundings yield fresh produce, cultural activities and events, and many opportunities for outdoor activity on the Susquehanna River and in the nearby state parks and forests. The Lewisburg Area School District receives excellent reviews for its schools at all grade levels. Lewisburg Area High School is consistently ranked among the top 50 high schools in Pennsylvania for SAT scores and statewide exams.

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