Deknatel Curatorial Fellow in Photography – Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

About Vassar College

Located in the scenic Mid-Hudson Valley, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Vassar is strongly committed to fostering a community that reflects the values of a liberal arts education and to promoting an environment of equality, inclusion and respect for difference. Vassar College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer, and applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Vassar College is a smoke free/tobacco free campus.

Position Summary and Responsibilities

Founded in 1861 as one of the earliest women’s colleges (and the first to become co-educational in 1969), Vassar College opened its doors with both an art gallery and an observatory, signaling Vassar’s enduring educational philosophy of sending students “to the source.” Today’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, designed by César Pelli, is an accredited modern museum whose collections originated with a superb acquisition of Hudson River School paintings at the College’s inception. Between then and now the collection has grown to more than 22,000 works, charting the history of art from ancient Egypt to the present, and featuring important examples of modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and photography as well as Old Master paintings and works on paper. To date, there are approximately 4,500 photographs in the collection, tracing the history of the medium from its beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The Art Center’s rich and varied collection includes classical and unconventional photography that uses unusual darkroom techniques and digital alterations. It traces the progression of the medium through
significant works and encompasses a wide range of styles, genres, and methodologies. In recent years, the collection has broadened to include not just fine art but also the full spectrum of different but overlapping photographies including fashion, photojournalism, and vernacular photography. The collection supports the educational mission of the Art Center through faculty and student use as well as an ambitious schedule of exhibitions offered to all of our audiences.

The Art Center seeks a full-time, two-year (with the possibility of renewal/extension) Curatorial Fellow in Photography who will work primarily with the Museum’s expansive permanent collection of photographs and will participate in all aspects of curatorial work. The Fellow will provide curatorial support and research assistance with the aim of deepening public awareness and access to the collection, as well as help curate small focused exhibitions of photography.

This position is an exceptional opportunity to work with a broad range of material, as well as receive invaluable curatorial experience in collection research, as well as in exhibition planning and curation. Applications will be reviewed beginning November 15, 2019 and the position will remain open until filled. Candidates from underrepresented groups in higher education and museums are encouraged to apply.


  • Research photographs in the permanent collection with an eye to improving the accessibility of the collection;
  • Assist in classifying works in the collection based on subject matter, style, specific medium, and other identifying characteristics;
  • Contribute on both scholarly and programmatic levels to support exhibitions, faculty use of the collection, and other projects that bring strengths of the photography collection to light;
  • Coordinate internal projects with collections management team, Advisory Council members, faculty, students, and other stakeholders;
  • Participate in organizing exhibitions, installations, and digital displays, including writing and reviewing interpretive texts, collaborating with staff and project partners, and performing additional duties as needed;
  • Provide general curatorial support to the Curator and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning, including cataloguing, managing related data entry, assisting with loans, supporting gallery rotations, and responding to inquiries about the collection;
  • Research and write on proposed acquisitions for the collection.


  • BFA or BA in art history or related field; MA in art history or related field. PhD preferred;
  • Broad knowledge of the history of photography; interest in and familiarity with contemporary Photography;
  • A demonstrated commitment to scholarship, accuracy, and attention to detail;
  • Excellent skills in research, writing, and verbal communication (foreign language/s desirable);
  • Knowledge and aptitude in art handling best practices and safe handling of photographs in a museum environment;
  • Prior experience in a collecting museum environment or similar visual art institution;
  • Prior experience with collection management software, The Museum System (TMS), preferred;
  • Technical proficiency with personal computers and Microsoft Office suite;
  • A high degree of organization, self-motivation, ability to take initiative, exercise independent judgment, manage projects with minimal supervision, and adjust as new projects are assigned;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of constituents including faculty, artists, patrons, and the public in a knowledgeable and
    professional manner;
  • Ability to exercise discretion and to be a team player in an active office environment.

To complete your on-line application, you will be required to attach your cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 professional references. All attachments must be in PDF format. Applications will be reviewed beginning November 15, 2019. This position will remain open until filled.

For more information and to apply:

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