Fine Arts Gallery Registrar and Collections Manager – Vanderbilt University

Position Summary

The Registrar/Collections Manager is part of the Fine Arts Gallery at Vanderbilt University and is a key individual contributor responsible for overseeing all aspects of care, safety, handling, and documentation of the University’s art collection and artwork on loan. The position develops and implements management standards, policies, and procedures. The Registrar/Collections Manager also helps educate gallery staff, students, and other interested parties on best practices and contributes to a lively exhibition and public engagement program. Reporting to the Director, the position interacts with both internal and external stakeholders.

About the Work Unit:

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery presents a series of exhibitions each year that demonstrate the broad scope of Eastern and Western art, from antiquity through old master traditions, and continuing through modern and contemporary art practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Gallery’s mission is to promote engagement with the visual arts among students and the greater community through exhibitions, collections, research, and instruction. With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional approach to all of its activities, the gallery is committed to supporting the academic enterprise of Vanderbilt University as a whole, while advancing artistic excellence.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

  • Creates and maintains records encompassing the University’s greater art collection and exhibitions in collection database and physical form.
  • Manages public online access to collection database.
  • Manages logistical issues surrounding local, domestic, and international incoming and outgoing loans, including soliciting bids and contracting shippers, developing loan contracts, and generating condition reports.
  • Manages conservation projects, including correspondence with conservators, maintenance of records, and loan paperwork and transit.
  • Maintains regular communications with Vanderbilt office of risk management for collections and loan insurance-related purposes.
  • Oversees digital image library and photography needs for collections and exhibitions.
  • Manages photographic services, including rights and reproductions.
  • Oversees physical facilities requirements including environmental control and monitoring, pest management, security, and risk management; reviews facility reports of potential borrowers.
  • Creates, establishes, and implements procedures for periodic inventories and routine condition reporting.
  • Functions as part of a collaborative and collegial gallery team and contribute to exhibition and public programming planning.
  • Participates in exhibition production including handling, installation and de-installation, moving, storing, packing and unpacking of artwork.
  • Oversees budget and project funding for collections care, conservation, and related activities.
  • Couriers works of art, as needed, and manages courier arrangements for incoming loans.

Supervisory Relationships:

This position has supervisory responsibility over student staff and interns; the position reports administratively and functionally to the Director.

Education and Certifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in art history, art, museum studies, computer sciences or a related field from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.
  • A Master’s degree in art history, museum studies, MLS with graduate level coursework in art history, or similar from an accredited institution of higher education is preferred.

Experience and Skills:

  • Knowledge of collections management and museum registration best practices is necessary.
  • Knowledge of museum standards for the care, preservation, and display of works of art and historical objects is necessary.
  • Proficiency in both PC and Mac platforms and strong computer skills including experience with Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and collections management software is necessary.
  • Knowledge of and experience working with digital image file formats, file format conversion and related software, and image editing applications is necessary.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with diverse clientele is necessary.
  • Availability to work a flexible schedule that includes evenings and weekends is necessary.
  • Ability to lift, move, and pack items up to 50 lbs. and climb a ladder is necessary.
  • Two years professional work experience in a museum, library, or visual resources special collection is preferred.
  • Experience creating metadata records and performing authority control is preferred.
  • Knowledge of best practices and experience with handling a variety of art objects and materials is preferred.
  • Experience creating faithful digital images of artwork is preferred.
  • Experience managing digital preservation projects is preferred.

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit:

  • A self-starter – Able to assess collections needs and follow projects through to completion. Thrives in a fast-paced environment with competing deadlines.
  • Attention to detail – Careful attention to detail in both administrative work, object description/metadata creation, and object handling
  • Creative Thinking – Ability to think creatively, critically and innovatively. Goes beyond the boundaries of the job description, willingly takes on new challenges, finds creative solutions rather than always awaiting direct instructions
  • Naturally Communicates – Readily shares information and is comfortable working within a highly collaborative team. Communicates proactively. Understands that open communication and the sharing of knowledge is fundamental to the success of the team. Asks for advice, and considers it thoughtfully.
  • Teamwork – Commitment to high quality service and fostering collaboration. Flexible team player. Genuinely values teamwork and co-workers; make them feel valuable and important by acknowledging what they do well.  Doesn’t expect from others effort that one is unwilling to do themselves.  Finds ways to acknowledge other’s strong suits.
  • Works through Issues – Recognizes that the work is about successful outcomes.
  • Praises Publicly; Criticizes Privately – When dealing with co-workers or customers, “pretend your children are watching” how the situation is handled. Good manners and a cool head. Gives credit where credit is due.
  • Perspective – Maintains a sense of humor and perspective.  Can laugh first and foremost at oneself.

Job requires Bachelors and 3 years of experience or the equivalent.

For more information and to apply:

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