The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA, is entering a new era. In conjunction with a remarkable capital campaign and an upcoming expansion, PEM seeks an exceptional candidate to create and lead a distinctive program in American art. Museum Search & Reference is conducting the nationwide search.

The Curator of American Art is a new, endowed,
senior-level curatorship.

In November 2011, PEM made public its $650-million capital campaign. The increased resources and endowment will lead to expanded gallery space and the exciting opportunity to reinstall the collection and create new exhibitions, publications, and programming. The successful campaign and new strategic plan open up new opportunities to be part of PEM as it continues to be a leader among American museums. Scroll down for more information about PEM.

Job Summary

The Curator of American Art will be an experienced museum curator in 19th-century through mid-20th-century American painting and sculpture, with a broad knowledge of American art and decorative arts from Colonial to Modern. He/she will oversee 2 full curators (American Decorative Arts and Native American Art) and will at times lead exhibition teams. The Curator should be known nationally as an innovative and incisive scholar with a significant track record of exhibitions and publications; and for having built a museum’s collection through patronage.

Job Responsibilities

Guided by the museum’s global perspective, mission, and strategic plan, and by the leadership of Chief Curator Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, the Curator of American Art will put PEM’s American art collection on the national/international stage by:

  • Creating imaginative exhibitions to premiere at PEM and at times travel to major museums across the country and abroad.
  • Enhancing and shaping the growth of the American collection through gifts and patronage.

The Curator of American Art will:

  • Develop a dynamic range of exhibitions, along with publications and related programs that will increase PEM’s audience for American painting and sculpture and enhance patronage.
  • Create exhibitions that offer connections across time, cultures, media, and multiple disciplines.
  • Collaborate with all the curators and with the interpretation, education, design, integrated media, and marketing staff to ensure that the American art program meets the highest professional standards of creativity, innovation, quality, relevance, and audience engagement.
  • Work closely with the development department to acquire the resources necessary to sustain and enhance exhibitions, publications, and acquisitions.

Job Requirements

  • 10+ years of full curatorial experience, preferably at major art museums.
  • Master’s degree required. Ph.D. an asset, if combined with broad museum experience.
  • Demonstrated management skills in motivating, directing, and managing staff and consultants, and in coordinating and supporting curatorial activities of others.
  • Professional stature, with recognized reputation for original scholarship and fresh ideas.
  • Strong track record in developing and implementing innovative, effective exhibitions and publications in American art.
  • Passion for and expertise principally in 19th-c. and early 20th-c. American painting and sculpture, combined with broad knowledge of and appreciation for American art and culture of all eras, from Colonial to Modern.
  • Knowledge and know-how to create a greater audience for American art.
  • Excellent communication skills, including clear, persuasive writing and public speaking.
  • Experience in and talent for reinterpreting and re-installing collections in forward-thinking ways, with
    the capability to collaboratively re-install PEM’s American collection in the new gallery space.
  • Actively engaged in national and international trends, networks, and resources, including contacts with peers, collectors, and dealers in the field.
  • Experience managing projects and budgets.
  • Strategic vision and creativity, coupled with an entrepreneurial, self-motivated, and results-oriented work ethic.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to develop effective relationships with patrons, collectors, museum colleagues, and the Board of Trustees.

Excellent compensation/benefits package, commensurate with the advanced experience ought.

The Curator will enjoy the cultural and intellectual amenities of Salem, MA (Salem) and the metro-Boston area (Boston).

For full job requirements and profile:

Please let us know about your nominations or your own interest in this exciting job.  Thank you.