Assistant Curator of American Art: Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University


Job Purpose:

The Assistant Curator works closely with the museum’s curators in a collaborative environment that encourages the development of innovative programs and exhibitions. As a thoughtful member of the curatorial team, the Assistant Curator will bring in-depth knowledge of art history and museum practice to assist in implementing an exciting vision for the museum. He or she will be driven by interests in particular artists, rigorous art historical scholarship, dynamic museum programing, and public engagement.

The Assistant Curator will be expected to propose and realize a major exhibition project within his or her field of expertise. This project may take cues from the Cantor’s permanent collection, be built from loans from other institutions and collections, or a combination of these two sources. A major publication, conceived as a meaningful contribution to existing scholarship on the questions and issues addressed in the exhibition, will accompany this project. The Assistant Curator will help to conceive public programs and other opportunities to incorporate the exhibition into Stanford academic life. The Assistant Curator will also recommend acquisitions in his or her field.

Additionally, the Assistant Curator will contribute to specific projects and general curatorial work within the department, which includes: research on the collection and new acquisitions, work on the presentation of the collection, participation in the planning of special exhibition projects, public lectures. He or she will work regularly with the larger curatorial team, with other museum departments including exhibitions, publications, and education, and with faculty and students across campus.

About us:

Cantor Arts Center boasts a proud and venerable history. Conceived with the founding of Stanford University in 1891, the museum opened in 1894, serving the University and the broader community. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the museum, necessitating its closure to the public. In 1995 groundbreaking for a major new wing and restoration of the historic building began in earnest with the revitalized museum opening in 1999 as the Iris and B. Gerald Canto Center for the Visual Arts. The Cantor offers approximately 50,000 square feet exhibition space, a café, and study spaces for students and faculty.

Collections include art from Europe and America, both historical and contemporary; Asia, primarily Japanese and Chinese; Africa; Oceania, historical works from Mexico, Central America, and South America, and the Stanford Family Collection.

Core Duties:

  • Assist with the research and development of changing exhibitions of varying scope (registration records, write didactic materials, etc.); collections through researching proposed purchases and gifts, and oversee project budgets.
  • Contribute to the development and execution of programs designed to engage with the broader Stanford community, as assigned.
  • Assist in the development of the collections through researching proposed purchases and gifts.
  • Assist in the preparation of reports for the Director’s Advisory Board and other auxiliary committees as appropriate.
  • Work with other curators on the rotation of permanent collection displays; consult with museum staff to determine preservation/conservation needs.
  • Research, write and oversee production of exhibition labels, brochures, guides, and other publications as assigned.
  • Develop and participate in collaborative projects with faculty and staff.
  • Work with the exhibitions team to coordinate project budgets.
  • Assist in the development, preparation, and maintenance of exhibition budgets.
  • Serve as a liaison to the university community, other institutions, and the public.
  • Participate in the continuing education of staff, mentor student interns, as assigned.
  • Other duties may also be assigned


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of three years of related experience or a combination of education and relevant experience. PhD in the History of Art is strongly preferred.
  • Candidates should have demonstrated expertise in American art, with special preference given to those with a background in African American art.
  • Candidates should have prior experience working with art objects in a museum or gallery setting.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and professionalism to interact with a wide range of people at different levels of an organization.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills, demonstrated public speaking/presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated experience and background in research and published writing that establishes expertise in an area of study.
  • Proven ability to effectively and efficiently manage multiple priorities, with competing deadlines.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in MS Office Suite and database management applications.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with all staff members.
  • Highly specialized knowledge in a specific area of visual arts.

Certifications and Licenses:



  • Frequently perform desk based computer tasks, seated work and use light/ fine grasping.
  • Occasionally stand, walk, and write by hand, lift, carry, push pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds.

* – Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.


  • May work extended or non-standard hours, weekends and holidays based on business needs.
  • Occasional local and overnight travel may be required.
  • May work in areas with exposure to dust, paint, chemicals and other toxins.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.

Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.

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