The collection that it holds in trust for the public and the complementary temporary exhibitions are fundamental to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s mission of bringing the pleasure and meaning of art to the broadest possible audience in accordance with the highest aesthetic, intellectual, and professional standards.  The Chief Curator provides leadership for the growth, display, study, and care of the collection. Working with colleagues in Exhibitions and Publications and in Education and Academic Affairs, the Chief Curator helps develop and shape exhibitions, publications, interpretation, and academic programs.




The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is known nationally and internationally for the quality and scope of its collection, which comprises about 45,000 objects and covers 6,000 years of art history. Founded in 1913, the CMA is today one of the world’s most distinguished comprehensive art museums and one of the top five in the country. Complementing the collections, the CMA’s Ingalls Library and Archives is the third largest art research library in the United States and has almost 500,000 volumes in its collection.


In 2013, the museum completed a $320 million renovation and expansion project, designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly. The project, which was funded by a successful capital campaign, included the complete restoration of the original 1916 building and 1971 Marcel Breuer addition, as well as the addition of two symmetrical wings on the east and west sides. Central to the design is a large, light-filled courtyard enclosed by an elegantly soaring roof. The CMA is now considered one of the most beautiful and impressive civic spaces in Northeast Ohio and its galleries are among the finest of any museum.


Key elements of the expansion project include:

•             An increase of 33 per cent in gallery space, with enhanced interpretation of the collection through state-of-the art technology as well as installations that engage both the first-time    visitor and the long-time devotee;

•             Gallery One, a 12,000-square-foot interactive learning center that includes The Collection Wall, the largest multi-touch screen in the United States – a 40-foot, interactive, micro-tile wall that changes every 40 seconds and features over 3,500 works of art from the permanent collection;

•             The new glass-enclosed Ames Family Atrium, at 39,000 square feet, Cleveland’s largest free public space;

•             A rededication of the Breuer building to its original mission of education with renovated classrooms, lecture and performance halls and a distance learning studio;

•             In the 1916 building, upgraded mechanical and structural systems, with the latest environmental controls throughout;

•             Improved and expanded special exhibition spaces for preeminent exhibitions from around the world;

•             A more prominent location for the Ingalls Library, including an expanded reading room.


The CMA has over 400 employees and an operating budget of $38 million. Its endowment now stands at more than $750 million.  Founded “for the benefit of all the people forever,” the CMA remains free to all visitors with attendance at close to 600,000 annually.


The museum’s most recent strategic plan, completed in 2010, stresses the primary importance of the collection as the foundation for everything the museum does. It also underscores the primacy of the visitor experience and the museum’s participation in the life of the city and the surrounding community, balancing local responsibility with a national and international presence. The museum is about to develop a new strategic plan that will establish the vision and guide the work of the next five years.




The Chief Curator is responsible for providing leadership and oversight for all collection-related activities, policies, and procedures.   The (16) Curators, Director of Collections Management, Chief Conservator, Director of Performing Arts, and Head of the Library and Archives report directly to the Chief Curator.   The Chief Curator maintains multiple line of communication within the museum and with the full range of the museum’s audiences, establishes priorities for the Collections Division in keeping with the museum’s mission, strategic plan, budget, assists in funding raising activities, and prepares the budget for the division.


As a member of the executive management team, the Chief Curator works with the Director/CEO and other executive staff to implement plans established with the Board of Trustees, participates in discussions concerning institutional priorities, general policies, and management issues, assists in the preparation of the institution’s budget, and takes on special assignments as appropriate.




Immediate responsibilities:


A.            Work with the Director/CEO and other senior staff to update and revise the strategic plan and guide its implementation.


B.            Participate in the planning and execution of the museum’s centennial celebration in 2016.


C.            Work closely with the Director of Education and Academic Affairs to further define the Keithley Institute for Art History, with primary focus on the new doctoral program, recently launched by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University. Nancy and Joseph Keithley have generously donated $15 million dollars to promote and solidify future endowments, including a $500,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that is already being used to revitalize a collaborative art history program started by the museum and the University more than 40 years ago. Utilizing the museum’s permanent collection and renowned art history library, the Keithley Institute will put Cleveland on the map as a training ground for future museum curators and directors. The Chief Curator will play a role in shaping the pedagogy associated with this program.


Continuing responsibilities:

D.            Assure effective management of staff resources within assigned departments, including organizational planning and development, employment, training, communication, compensation and performance evaluation in order to attract, retain and reward quality individuals who understand and help to achieve the overall mission of the museum and to manage related activities in a manner that will promote personal, professional and financial opportunities for employees.


E.            Work with the Director/CEO and individual curators to evaluate and, as necessary, revise the plan for the development of the collection and, on an ongoing basis, ensure that objects of the highest quality and greatest strategic importance are added to the collection through purchases and gifts.


F.            Organize quarterly presentations to the Board of Trustees Accessions Advisory Committee and Collections Committee, including the presentation of proposed acquisitions, deaccessions, gifts, loans, and any reports related to the collection.


G.           Establish goals for the display of the permanent collection, working with curators and all appropriate staff ensure that the installation of the collections is the most articulate visual arts presentations of any art museum.


H.            Work with the Chief Conservator to establish priorities for treatment and research.


I.             Work with the Director of Collections Management to ensure that professional standards and institutional procedures concerning transport, loans to and from the collection, art handling, risk management, imaging, and acquisitions are maintained and updated as appropriate.


J. Collaborate in the following areas:

•             Special Exhibitions: coordinates with the Director/CEO and Director of Exhibitions and Publications to ensure that the program favors a full range of coverage in subject matter, scholarship, popular appeal, and interpretive methods from installation to electronic media, gallery labels and printed materials.


•             Scholarly Publications: works with the Director of Exhibitions and Publications to establish priorities, oversee budgets, and coordinate as appropriate with other museum areas, such as marketing, administration, and museum store on all publications published through the museum, including those related to permanent collections and special exhibitions.


•             Interpretation: works with the Director of Education and Academic Affairs to establish standards and efficient processes for the interpretation of the collection.


•             Development: works with the Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer to establish fundraising priorities for the collection area and ensures close communication and collaboration with development staff.


•             IT: works with the Chief Information Officer and other members of the Executive Team to establish priorities for technology, with particular responsibility for and general oversight of projects related to the collection.


K.   Ensures compliance with all laws and regulations regarding collections and collecting activities.


L.   Maintains an active role in the art field through publications, lectures, travel, and communication with people in the field.


M.  Pursues institutional goals as enumerated in the mission, strategic plan, and annual goal-setting documents.

Job Requirements


The successful candidate must have an advanced degree in art history or a related field and must, above all, have a reputation as an imaginative, innovative, and ambitious leader in the museum field with a distinguished record of acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications, as well as experience as a manager. The successful candidate will be a creative thinker and a dynamic and enthusiastic individual with personal integrity who is comfortable in a complex and collaborative environment and professional in all matters and dealings.

Specific requirements include:

•             Advanced degree with experience in a management position, preferably in a comprehensive art museum;

•             Recognized scholarly and curatorial ability;

•             Knowledge of the art market, conservation field, and museum-education strategies essential;

•             Ability to make strategic and qualitative judgments, especially in the area of art acquisition and conservation;

•             Proven record of leadership in directing Curatorial programs;

•             Excellent research, writing, and presentation skills;

•             The ability to inspire staff, responsibly delegate tasks, and ensure a collaborative working environment;

•             Proven ability to manage multiple projects and tasks and to establish credibility with the Director/CEO, Board members, staff, affiliate groups, and members of the community;

•             Substantial knowledge and skills in managing large budgets and providing leadership for strategic-planning initiatives;

•             Superior communication skills and strong organizational skills combined with the ability to handle multiple tasks with agility, thoroughness and good humor.


The position is currently open and will be filled at the earliest opportunity.


Letters of application must include the following:

•             A cover letter that addresses the candidate’s interest in the position.

•             A description not to exceed three pages describing the applicant’s area of research and its relationship to CMA’s collections.

•             A published paper or writing sample.

•             A complete curriculum vitae of education, employment, honors, awards, and publications.

•             The names and contact information of three references.




Contact Person: Human Resources Fax: 216-216-421-0277
Email Address: careers@clevelandart.org