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- Assistant Curator, Hart Nautical Collections
Assistant Curator, Hart Nautical Collection
As a member of the Collections Team, the Assistant Curator of Hart Nautical Collections will be responsible for carrying out research; and developing, interpreting, and managing an active collecting program in this area. In liaison with appropriate MIT faculty and staff as well as scholars and specialists, develop exhibitions; develop and contribute to educational and public programs; and provide public service by responding to inquiries about areas of expertise within maritime history, marine technology and ocean science.
In 2020, the MIT Museum entered a period of significant transition as it began dual relocation endeavors to a new museum building (opening 2022) and a new collections processing and storage facility (off campus, opening 2023). During this 3-year period, a major focus of the Assistant Curator’s efforts will be on a wide range of activities and tasks to ensure the successful opening of the new museum and the relocation of the museum’s nautical collections
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
- Research: Research maritime history, marine technology and ocean science, with a special emphasis on the connections of these fields to MIT (past and current). Develop substantial expertise in the areas of the museum’s current nautical collections including shipbuilding and yacht design in New England and the United States. Work to broaden the scope to reflect substantial scholarly understanding of underwater exploration; naval architecture and marine engineering; and ocean engineering education and research as well as their connections to political, social, economic, and cultural history. Research and prepare collection and exhibition catalogues, essays, articles, and other publications (both in print and online) as well as develop and/or contribute to documentaries and other multimedia presentations.
- Collection development and management: Collect and manage large and diverse collections which provide the basis for interpreting maritime history, marine technology and ocean science. Responsible for the acquisition of artifacts. Prepare inventories of new acquisitions. Develop and oversee appropriate conservation and preservation strategies. Catalogue and contribute essential metadata for the collection. Research and write collection guides, finding aids, web pages and other documentation. Work collaboratively with the Registrar and Collections Manager in the preparation of collection loans.
- Imaging and Digital Assets Initiatives: Contribute to the conceptualization and implementation of a new collections online portal that has been developed in tandem with preparation for the move to a new facility. Manage digital imaging initiatives in collaboration with the Digital Archivist. Develop strategies for the collection and care of “born digital” assets.
- Move preparation: Work with the Registrar, Collections Manager, and other staff in the assessment, reorganization, and move of collections during the transition to a new facility. This work will range from inventory and database records maintenance to physical reorganization of collections.
- Exhibition Development: Responsible for the curation of exhibitions (either solo or part of a team). Plan and develop exhibition concepts. Research and write labels. Identify and select appropriate artifacts and related materials for display. Work with the Registrar, Collections Manager and Exhibitions Team to oversee the installation of new exhibitions and displays. Assist in the preparation of information to support the museum’s fundraising and publicity efforts in connection with exhibitions and related programs.
- Educational and Public Programs: Organize and present educational programs for MIT and area college students and faculty; work collaboratively with the Engagement Team to present museum tours, gallery talks, symposia and other special events. Work creatively with the MIT community to provide access to collections, information and support for the Institute’s research, teaching and public engagement endeavors. Supervise interns and other academic fellows engaged with work in the collections.
- Public services: Respond to reference requests from museum staff, the MIT community, researchers, media, and the general public. Respond to email, telephone calls and in-person inquiries. Arrange appointments and assist with collections consultation. Develop and maintain scholarly and other professional contacts.
- Other: Participate in regular team meetings and contribute to general assignments and projects; participate in meetings of the Collections Committee; participate in mandatory specialized trainings (e.g.: hazardous materials); and provide support for any collections-related emergency. Occasional evening and weekend hours required for public programs or other events.
Report to the Director of Collections.
Assist in supervising temporary project staff, interns and volunteers.
Qualifications & Skills:
- Bachelor’s degree in maritime history/studies, history of technology and/or science, or related field. Master’s degree preferred.
- Must have knowledge of U.S. History.
- Minimum of 3 years of experience in curatorial and collections work. Must demonstrate knowledge of interpreting, developing and managing museum collections.
- Deep familiarity and practical experience with collections database and management systems. (The museum uses the MimsyXG system.)
- Experience identifying and developing conservation and preservation treatments for the varied collections artifacts in maritime collections.
- Experience handling, packing, and moving collections.
- Knowledge of developing and maintaining museum exhibitions and exhibition-related programs.
- Excellent writing abilities as demonstrated by a record of exhibitions, publications, and conference presentations as well as other forms of public engagement such as websites, blogs, and other social media work.
- Excellent communications skills as the job requires frequent contact with museum staff, MIT faculty, staff, alumni and students as well as prominent international scholars and the general public. Be able to make frequent public presentations (both planned and unplanned) and represent the museum (and MIT).
- Excellent organizational and time management skills, the ability to develop effective work processes and to coordinate multiple projects simultaneously.
- Excellent interpersonal skills. A positive and collegial work ethic, and the ability to work collaboratively within the Collections/Curatorial teams and museum staff as a whole, and with faculty, students and the academic community.
- Ability to lift at least 35 lbs., reaching bending, stooping.
- Ability to stand and work on one’s feet up to six hours per day.
- Ability to travel to various sites on campus and the off-site collections facility; transport artifacts; and meet with potential donors to inspect artifacts.
- Knowledge of science, technology, scientific or technological education, and/or the history of MIT, preferred.
- Experience using digital imaging technology such as digital medium format and DSLR cameras and software such as Photoshop and Lightroom, preferred.
To apply, visit the MIT Human Resources site.