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Curatorial Assistant, Harvard Art Museum

Published February 27, 2024

Cunningham Curatorial Assistant 

Harvard Art Museum

Cambridge, MA

Salary: $54,445 – $85,043

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The Harvard Art Museums presents an exciting opportunity to join the curatorial team in the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art. Working with the eclectic and dynamic collection of 20th- and 21st-century art, the Curatorial Assistant for the Collection conducts cataloging in the collections database (TMS) and maintains active curatorial object files. The Curatorial Assistant performs original research on collection objects, including in part provenance, material technique, material condition, exhibition history, and artist biography. Supports the Assistant Curator of the Collection in ensuring the full range of museum standards for the presentation and documentation of collection information is met and that the collection and its documentation are fully accessible to faculty, students, and the public.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Under the supervision of the Assistant Curator of the Collection, prepares and organizes collection gallery installations (CGIs) through cataloguing, TMS data entry, planning, and shepherding through internal processes, liaising with curatorial, collections management, conservation, and others, ensuring that all deadlines are met. Assists in preparing and organizing permanent collection gallery changes.
  • Supports and coordinates collections-based exhibitions, as needed, including the preparation of checklists, cataloguing of the artworks (including, but not limited to, data entry, alt text, and coordination of photography), program planning, budget tracking, record keeping, and implementation team meeting planning.
  • Supports the acquisition process for the division through research, cataloguing, documentation, and paperwork preparations.
  • Supports the review of incoming loan requests through object and catalog research; assists in the documentation and cataloguing of artworks for outbound loans.
  • Coordinates the bimonthly transit list, liaises with colleagues, tracks transit justifications, submits list to collections management by deadline.
  • Coordinates photography of collection artworks, including for new acquisitions, incoming image requests, and obtains images and permissions from artists or galleries when possible. Submits images to the Digital Imaging and Visual Resources department. Approves external image requests and verifies collection images in TMS.
  • Applying high levels of customer service, discretion, and diplomacy, corresponds with museum donors, collections committee members, gallery owners, and artists, among others. Maintains strict confidentiality as required.
  • Coordinates Art Study Center visits and lists for curators and occasionally for outside scholars. Assists with facilitating the collections for use through classes, including occasional teaching with the collection for both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Trains new staff in collections database software. Departmental contact for collections database related questions. Conducts TMS cleanup projects.
  • Assists with the coordination of divisional programming such as study days and outside scholar visits.
  • Responds to internal and external collections inquiries, prepares object checklists and database reports.
  • Builds and maintains constructive working relationships with museum colleagues and others both within and outside of the university community.
  • Performs other related duties and special projects as required.
  • Assists in major museum-wide initiatives, including collaborations with Institutional Advancement or Conservation, among others.


Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  • Minimum of two years of related experience, including experience working in a museum, archive, special collection, or cultural properties institution.
  • Background in modern art history, information science, or museum and library studies strongly preferred.
  • Art-historical research skills a plus. Demonstrated project management skills very helpful.
  • Familiarity with studio processes and artistic techniques a plus.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, self-directed and motivated. Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain collaborative and effective working relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and resolve conflicting priorities while maintaining a service approach.
  • Proficient at MS Office, especially Word and Excel; experience working with TMS a strong asset.
  • Knowledge of at least one relevant non-English language preferred.
  • Must be able to function well both independently and as part of a team.

Apply here!