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Henry Luce Curatorial Fellowship for Native American Art

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Aug 18, 2020

Job Summary

The RISD Museum is pleased to announce a fellowship funded by the Henry Luce Foundation for an outstanding scholar who wishes to continue their curatorial career. The Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow assists in the interpretation and care of the RISD Museum’s Native North American collection through active engagement in provenance research, cataloging, building a network of experts and tribal representatives, reviewing storage and display requirement, and creating interpretation and programming based on this work. The successful candidate recognizes and values diversity as central to excellence.

The RISD Museum was founded on the belief that art, artists, and the institutions that support them play pivotal roles in promoting broad civic engagement and creating more open societies. Established in 1877 as part of a vibrant creative community, the RISD Museum stewards works of art representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present and interprets our collection with the focus on the maker and deeply engages with art and artists . As an employer, RISD offers a supportive, collegial, and inclusive work environment, and a competitive benefits package. To learn more about the RISD Museum visit .

Candidates who submit their materials by October 16, 2020, are assured full consideration.

Essential Functions

1. Under the guidance of RISD Museum registrars, curators, and conservators, attend to the care of the Native North American collection through effective consultation and collaboration with tribal representatives and experts to interpret the collection.

  • ​ Documentation: supply cataloguing information to the registrars for all objects in the collection; complete media descriptions; conduct inventories of objects in the collection; conduct and record and/or publish research on objects in the collection. Prepare objects for photography, as needed.
  • Preservation: Assist in making responsive modifications as necessary for proper housing, storage, and presentation of the collection. Assist with the proper storage of all objects to ensure safety and accessibility in accordance with established process and procedure.
  • Address provenance and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) issues and make recommendations based on research and communication with experts in Native histories and visual cultures and the museum’s curatorial and registration staff.

2. Make the collection accessible for RISD and Brown faculty and students, the broader academic community, and the general public through learning opportunities relevant to the collection such as virtual or in-person classroom teaching/presentation of objects and open office hours.

3. Work in collaboration with the Education Department to interpret the collection through publications, gallery displays, and educational programs. Collaborate with curators in integrating Native works in collection installations.

4. Develop the collection of contemporary art and design in collaboration with curators.

  • Develop a sound knowledge of the market, including availability and value of objects and develop contact with dealers and cultivate donors and potential donors.
  • Recommend purchases and gifts, as well as deaccessions and method of deaccessioning (repatriation, transfer, exchange, sale).

Environmental Conditions

Probable exposure to collection objects treated with insecticides. The job also involves exposure to the following in various degrees but is not limited to only these environmental conditions: General office setting in a Museum of Art and higher education environment with access to art storage facilities, materials and supplies, dirt/dust, heat/cold.

Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience

  • Masters degree in relevant field including but not limited to Art History, Anthropology, American Studies, or Native and Indigenous Studies, or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • At least two years of curatorial or related experience; a record of publications and/or exhibitions.
  • Expertise in Native North American art and design required.
  • Familiarity with collection care; excellent research and writing skills; excellent speaking skills; collaborative, teamwork approach; flexibility; strong interpersonal skills; strong organizational skills.
  • Must recognize diversity and inclusion as central to excellence. In addition, candidates should be intimately familiar with, and sensitive to, the diversity of Native American cultures, and be prepared to responsibly engage Native American visitors, as well as representatives from communities from which items in the collection originate.
  • Candidates should be familiar with, or have experience in engaging, cultural protocols that would allow fellow museum workers as well as visitors a culturally appropriate means of addressing works in the collection.



Work Schedule:

35 hours per week

Employment Status:

Term Appointment (3 years)

Full-time, Non-exempt (hourly)



Documents Needed to Apply:


Cover Letter

Writing Sample

Candidates who submit their materials by October 16, 2020, are assured full consideration.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

For internal use only - Job Family:

Museum Curatorial

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