Director of Collections and Research
The Olana Partnership
The Olana Partnership
The Olana Partnership (TOP) supports the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) in preserving and interpreting Olana State Historic Site (Olana). TOP is both a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an education corporation chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York. TOP’s annual operating budget is $1.5 million. Through four decades, TOP has harnessed the passion and philanthropic support of thousands of supporters to restore Olana’s treasures of art, architecture, and landscape. TOP’s mission extends to the stewardship of Olana’s nationally-significant viewshed and to developing Olana as a vital educational resource for visitors from across the world and the communities of the region. TOP’s vision is of a fully-restored Olana, vibrant with the activity of artists, scholars, students, and visitors, that will be the most widely-recognized artist’s home and studio in the world.
Olana State Historic Site
A National Historic Landmark, Olana is the greatest masterpiece of America’s preeminent artist of the mid-19thC, Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900). He achieved international fame with paintings such as Niagara (1857) and The Heart of the Andes (1859) and created Olana over 40 years, beginning in 1860. Church designed every aspect of Olana: the eclectic fantasy of the main house, the bucolic assemblage of the farm complex, and the 250-acre landscape that provides a romantic, picturesque setting for the whole and engages sweeping 360-degree views. Olana’s collections of art, artifacts, and archives total over 80,000 items and range widely, including Church’s own art and that of his contemporaries to the broad range of his and his family’s interests. The Church-designed landscape includes parkland, farmland, an orchard, and five miles of scenic carriage roads. Architectural collections include the Persian-inspired main house, Cosy Cottage, barns and outbuildings. Collections in the main house include 16th- through 18th-century paintings, pre-Columbian artifacts, Mexican folk art, historic costumes, photography, and a 2,000-volume library. In 2015 there were approximately 170,000 visitors to the landscape and 30,000 visitors to the main house.
Position Description TOP seeks a highly qualified individual for this newly-created senior management position. The Director of Collections and Research will provide leadership and specific strategy to make Olana a world-renowned center for the study and presentation of American art and visual culture as they relate to the artwork and legacy of Frederic Edwin Church. The Director of Collections and Research will be a key member of TOP’s senior management team, reporting to the President and working closely with all senior colleagues to realize TOP’s mission of inspiring diverse audiences through preserving and interpreting the full breadth of Olana’s collections of fine and decorative arts, architecture, and historic landscape, including Olana’s integral viewshed. The Director of Collections and Research will be able to broadly interpret TOP’s mission statements and will be a part of the team fulfilling one aspect of its strategic plan – to “Make Olana Famous.”
The ideal candidate is a committed scholar and creative thinker, who is skilled in collaboration to lead in the development and growth of an innovative and dynamic exhibitions program, to lead and promote research and scholarship, and to cultivate and secure support for collections-related projects. S/he is a compelling writer who possesses the ability to develop strategy and content, manage teams and multiple projects simultaneously, work with external partners, and form productive and collaborative relationships both internally and externally.
- Oversight of conservation of all elements of the diverse collections (art, architecture, designed landscape) in collaboration with NYSOPRHP’s Bureau of Historic Sites, ensuring that appropriate processes are in place to safeguard and care for them.
- Collaborate with NYSOPRHP’s Collections Committee to coordinate loan requests to ensure appropriate conservation standards, while advocating for opportunities to raise Olana’s profile.
- Develop and implement conservation, restoration, and furnishing plans for the main house and its collections in coordination with NYSOPRHP’s Bureau of Historic Sites, including the arrangement of the tour floor rooms.
- Develop and implement conservation, restoration, and interpretation of the site’s historic structures and designed landscape in collaboration with NYSOPRHP and TOP senior staff.
Research and Content Development
- Develop exhibitions, publications (digital and text-based) and case-statements that demonstrate the significance of Olana, Frederic Church, and American art and culture. Currently, Olana seeks to develop and implement a site-wide exhibition schedule that involves the Sharp Gallery, the Coachman’s House Gallery, and the historic landscape. Exhibitions that include contemporary art that make connections to Olana’s collections are encouraged.
- Lead in raising awareness of, and in promoting access to, Olana’s collections, including archival materials, to encourage a vigorous, digital, global research culture.
- Engage and collaborate with other museums, historic sites, and organizations to develop and sustain vibrant connections.
- Encourage creativity, good practice, and knowledge-sharing through programs, surveys, tools, and guidance.
Administration and Management
- Establish strong relationships with individuals and grant-giving organizations to secure funding for collections-related projects in collaboration with TOP Development staff.
- Collaborate closely with the Director of Education in developing collections and exhibitions-related programming.
- Work closely with the Site Manager to ensure the smooth functioning of tour operations, in the main house and in the landscape.
- In consultation with all staff, develop and manage research, conservation, and exhibition budgets.
- Serve as one of the staff liaisons to TOP’s Curatorial & Education Committee.
- Organize and lead Collections Advisory Group composed of TOP Board members and outside supporters and scholars.
- Supervision of the Associate Curator and Archivist positions.
A competitive compensation package, corresponding to the experience level and credentials of the candidate will be offered.
We firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other protected category pursuant to applicable federal, state or local law.
Submit cover letter and CV along with sample publications with a significant interdisciplinary focus to: DCRsearch@olana.org
- MA (Ph.D. preferred) with a specialization in a field directly related to one or more aspects of Olana’s collections, including: American art and visual culture; aesthetic theory; landscape history and theory; decorative arts; and American architectural history. Knowledge of 20thC and contemporary art highly desirable.
- Minimum of 5 years curatorial/museum experience required.
- Record of significant scholarly achievement, including publications related to the applicant’s own field of specialization and to broader exhibitions and projects.
- Substantial public speaking experience, with a record of presenting and interpreting material for a wide range of audiences, from scholars to the general public.
- Proven ability to drive innovation and deliver transformational change, including a strong commitment to making collections more accessible and meaningful to the general public and for engaging diverse audiences.
- Strong experience of strategic planning and development.
- Knowledge of field-specific funding processes and a strong track record of raising funds from individuals and grant-giving organizations.
- Leadership skills, with the ability to inspire and motivate people and manage staff and volunteers.
- Demonstrated experience developing and managing departmental and project budgets.
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills.
- Ability to build and sustain positive relationships inside and outside the organization and enthusiasm for working in a fast-paced, collaborative team environment.
- Hudson, New York, 12534, United States
- May 17, 2016
- Director of Collections and Research
- The Olana Partnership
- Master’s Degree
- 5-7 Years