Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas – Mead Art Museum, Amherst College

Amherst College: Staff Search: Mead Art Museum

Location: Amherst, MA

Open Date: Sep 17, 2019


The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College seeks candidates who are creative, scholarly, and motivated to engage diverse audiences through art for the Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas position. Building on a collection of over 20,000 artworks with strengths in Japanese, Russian, and, above all, American art, the Mead has reimagined the museum in the last four years through nationally-recognized exhibitions, groundbreaking contemporary gifts and acquisitions that diversify its collection, and new educational initiatives centered on social justice that reinforce the Mead’s robust student programs. The Curator position and the global expansion of American art to include the Americas is a critical part of the Mead’s reimagining.

The Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas is a full time, year-round position, job group and level RI-3. Amherst College has profoundly transformed its student body in terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and nationality, among other areas. Today, nearly one-quarter of Amherst’s students are Pell Grant recipients; 45 percent of our students identify as domestic students of color. Our expectation is that the successful candidate will excel at working in a community that is broadly diverse with regard to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. The Mead’s recent strategic plan reinforces these values by seeking to: promote access, equity and community; embolden the artistic program; and enhance curriculum alignment.

The Curator oversees and leads the vision of the museum’s collection, exhibitions, and programs for American art and arts of the Americas. The Curator reports to the John Wieland 1958 Director and Chief Curator and collaborates with the Mead’s professional team of nine, including one full-­‐time curatorial staff (Curator of Russian and European Art), and five museum colleagues who actively participate in curatorial activities and programs (Dwight and Kirsten Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs, who oversees education programs and interpretation, the Study Room Manager & European Print Specialist, the Collections Manager, the Preparator, and the Museum Writer and Editor).

The Curator will work collegially as part of a team, managing, growing and refining a high-quality and diverse permanent collection of American art and arts of the Americas. In addition to developing the Mead’s outstanding American collection, the Curator will create an original collection strategy and exhibition program; plan and manage long-­‐term exhibitions calendar in areas of specialization; establish protocols related to collections and exhibitions; and generate innovative concepts for exhibition, programmatic and editorial projects.

Takes appropriate actions to support a diverse workforce and participates in the College’s efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Summary of Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Curatorial – Develop original exhibitions that recast the canon, generate curriculum opportunities, and inspire new scholarship with the Mead’s permanent collection of American Art and Arts of the Americas. Publish in exhibition catalogues and other publication outlets, helping to promote the Mead’s permanent collection and recent acquisitions. Additional duties in relation to the American Art and Arts of the Americas, include contributing to the museum’s collection committee meetings and Curatorial Working Group; updating the exhibitions calendar in curatorial areas; authoring accessions, database entries, and exhibitions proposals.
  • Research – Oversee the care, management, and research priorities of the American art, Dwight J. Morrow collection of Mexican art; research and formulate a comprehensive collection plan for Arts of the Americas that will be used to build, refine, and strengthen the existing collection and forge new paths in contemporary art. Make recommendations for key acquisitions based on a priority list of collection needs outlined in collection plans. Collaborate with the Frost Library to promote greater knowledge of Native American history, culture, and artifacts. Assist students, faculty, researchers, museum colleagues, and the Head of Education and Academic Programs with research related to American Art and Arts of the Americas collection.
  • Administrative – Develop and manage multi-­‐year budgets related to exhibitions and publications projects, and take an active role in fundraising, marketing, and programming; cultivate collectors and maintain knowledge of art market; and write grant proposals and exhibition travel proposals to support projects.
  • Outreach – Welcome and engage audiences through exhibitions, programs, writing, teaching, and scholarship. Present gallery talks and public lectures at the Mead; presenting in areas of expertise, including representing the museum by attending local, regional, and national conferences and professional meetings. Participate and attend faculty and staff programs and serve of faculty and staff committees.
  • Supervision  – Mentor, train, and supervise undergraduate or graduate student interns.


  • M.A. in art history or a closely related field
  • 3 + years of progressively responsible experience in acquiring, researching, exhibiting and publishing works of American art
  • Experience conveying nuanced ideas to a diverse, non‐specialist audience
  • Strong organizational and attention to detail skills
  • A clear writer and rigorous researcher
  • Knowledge of educational theory and commitment to pedagogy
  • Strong time-management skills and able manage multiple projects
  • Demonstrates track record of cultivation and diplomatic skills
  • Attend occasional business trips, and evening and weekend museum events as needed
  • Ph.D. preferred

Application Instructions

Interested candidates are asked to submit a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information (email and/or telephone numbers) for three professional references. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.


Amherst College, one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, a town of approximately 35,000 residents in the western part of the state. The college’s community is composed of about 1,800 students from 48 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 54 countries around the world, and about 1,000 staff and faculty. The college’s scenic 1,000-acre campus includes a 500-acre wildlife sanctuary and the Book & Plow Farm; three museums: Emily Dickinson MuseumBeneski Museum of Natural History and Mead Art Museum; and multiple educational and cultural venues and resources through the Five College Consortium. The town of Amherst offers an amazing variety of coffee shops, restaurants and entertainment, and a very active outdoor life. Our vibrant campus, diverse community and beautiful surrounding, makes Amherst College and the Town of Amherst the perfect place to work, learn and live!

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Amherst College does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs and activities on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex or gender (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity), age, disability, genetic information, military service, or any other characteristic or class protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. Amherst College complies with all state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Inquiries should be addressed to the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Amherst College, P.O. Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002-5000.


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