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Curator of 19th-Century American Art

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
New York, United States
Not specified
Posted Date
Jun 27, 2017

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            The Museum of Art, Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) in Utica, New York, seeks a dynamic and imaginative Curator of 19th-century American Art who has a commitment to scholarship and public engagement.

            The Curator, who will direct the development of the 19th-century art collection, will organize collection-based exhibitions with corresponding writing for all types of related publications.  The Curator will contribute to the development of creative programming and strategies for visitor engagement related to the collection, and oversee incoming loan exhibitions and outgoing traveling exhibitions.

            The position reports to the director and is a member of a collaborative senior leadership team. The work of the Curator will foster regional and national recognition of the collection and inspire museum visitors.

Responsibilities include:

  • Plan and execute exhibitions based on the permanent collection
  • Oversee the installation and related activities of incoming loan exhibitions
  • Develop exhibitions based on original research
  • Strategize for collections development; research and propose acquisitions and deaccessions; identify conservation needs and work with an outside conservation laboratory
  • Oversee and conduct research on the collection
  • Collaborate with registrarial staff on collection management
  • Collaborate with education staff to develop public programs and innovative interpretation for visitor engagement
  • Write and edit texts that appeal to a broad range of Museum visitors and appear in various Museum publications
  • Develop and implement approved departmental and curatorial project budgets
  • Present gallery talks, formal lectures, contribute to docent training, and represent the Museum to the public and press
  • Work with development staff on fundraising and grant writing; actively cultivate relationships with museum patrons and potential donors, sponsors, and collectors 



The Curator will work closely and collaboratively with the Director, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum education staff, and other leading staff members.

  • Master’s degree in art history or related humanities discipline is required. Ph.D. is preferred
  • Demonstrated expertise in 19th-century American painting; additional background in 19th-centry American decorative arts is preferred
  • Five years minimum of progressively responsible experience in an art museum or other appropriate arts institution, including exhibition development
  • Demonstrated scholarly achievement, including original research
  • Ability to plan, organize, and implement complex tasks with attention to detail, meet targeted goals, and work within strict deadlines
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships
  • Strong ability to communicate clearly and effectively, orally and in writing, with a variety of audiences


            Chartered in 1919 and opened in 1936, MWPAI is named for its founding family. MWPAI has three divisions—Museum of Art, School of Art (including community classes and the PrattMWP program associated with Pratt Institute, Brooklyn), and Performing Arts. The Museum is one of only four in the U.S. associated with a nationally accredited art school.

            The 19th-century American painting collection has great strengths in artists of the Hudson River School and is known for the original series of four allegorical paintings, The Voyage of Life, by Thomas Cole. The collection also features stellar paintings by John S. Copley, Gilbert Stuart, James and Raphael Peale, John F. Quidor, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, William Harnett, William Merritt Chase, Sanford Gifford, Childe Hassam, and many others. Regional scenes in the collection include works by Thomas Hicks, Tompkins H. Matteson, M.E.D. Brown, Alexander Wyant, Arthur F. Tait, Thomas Doughty, Louis R. Mignot, and others. The decorative arts collection is recognized for its objects by prominent cabinetmakers and silversmiths such as Anthony Quervelle, John Henry Belter, Herter Brothers, Daniel Pabst, Louis C. Tiffany, and Tiffany & Co.


To Apply:

Send cover letter, resume and contact information for three professional references to:

Jeanette R. Breish, Human Resources Director

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

310 Genesee Street

Utica, New York   13502


315-797-0000, ext. 2108 inquiries

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