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Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies

Colby College
Maine, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Sep 27, 2022
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Museum Curatorial
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Job Summary:Colby College Museum of Art
Full-Time, Exempt, Salaried, Administrative Staff Appointment

Reporting to the chief curator, the Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies advances curatorial work related to prints, drawings, and photographs at the Colby College Museum of Art including exhibition development, collection research and interpretation, and teaching. The curator augments and illuminates the museum’s transhistorical and transnational works on paper collections through exhibitions, collection rotations, and acquisitions, and advises the museum and its benefactors on art purchases and gifts of art.

Since its founding in 1959, the Colby Museum has collected works on paper and several major gifts have had a transformative impact on these holdings. This includes gift of watercolors and other works by John Marin from Norma and John Marin Jr.; the establishment of the Alex Katz Collection in 1992; the partial gift, partial purchase of the Terry Winters print archive in 2002; and the bequest of Paul J. Schupf (1937–2019), which features a major collection of Richard Serra prints. In addition to the Marin family gifts, Norma Marin offered a promised gift of her exemplary collection of German Expressionist prints and American photographs, and the museum’s photography collection has greatly benefited from the Tsiaras Family Photography Collection, 500 photographs collected by Colby alumnus Dr. William Tsiaras ’68. The gift of the Lunder Collection in 2013, and a second gift in 2017, when the Lunder Institute of American Art was established, brought hundreds of works by James McNeill Whistler to Colby and this collection has grown to include additional works by Whistler as well as gems from the history of Japanese and European printmaking. The Lunder Collection also includes notable depth in the works of Mary Cassatt, Arthur Wesley Dow, and Jacob Lawrence. With the Lunder Collection as a touchstone, the Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies manages the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies with other organizational partners in the field, representing Colby in this international consortium. This includes sustaining relationships, envisioning and shaping impactful projects, and ensuring opportunities for students to learn and gain professional experience as part of the consortium’s initiatives.

The curator stewards select archives related to the works on paper collection and contributes to the museum’s commitment to illuminating new, understudied aspects of art history, including the history of American art, a primary programmatic focus. The work of this curatorial leadership role is collaborative and includes fostering relationships with colleagues at the museum, faculty, students, and local and regional residents. The curator works closely with the museum’s Board of Governors and campus, local, regional, and national communities and also collaborates with Advancement and others at the museum to facilitate fundraising and public communications efforts. In the curator’s area of focus, they advance the museum’s strategic plan and cultivate opportunities for the museum and its Lunder Institute for American Art.

The Colby College Museum of Art is a collecting and teaching museum dedicated to the preservation, display, and interpretation of the visual arts. We embrace within our collections works of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, with a focus on American art, and a commitment to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. We manage these resources for the benefit of the Colby College community, the region, and the nation and aspire to display works that embody the highest standards of achievement.
Working to advance equity and inclusion in the field of American art—and, by doing so, in the wider world—is core to our mission. We feel the urgency of national and campus conversations on inequality and are keenly aware of the unique responsibility that we have as an academic art museum—as a place where we can listen, ask questions, and challenge assumptions—to engage in this dialogue, and to act. We affirm the Colby Museum’s commitment to multidisciplinary teaching and learning and our potential for deep engagement with students will be leveraged in this effort toward fighting racialized violence, injustice, and inequality; and we encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the diversity of our College, including its cultural and ethnic diversity.

  • Provide ongoing curatorial stewardship of the works on paper collection, ensuring its research, documentation, presentation, interpretation, and digital access, in ways that advance our commitment to diversifying and expanding art historical narratives, with an emphasis on American art
  • Organize periodic presentations of works by James McNeill Whistler within the context of the museum’s permanent collection galleries and special exhibition spaces.
  • Oversee the Lunder Collection of works by James McNeill Whistler and related archives as well as the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies and steward associated grants and collection-dedicated resources in collaboration with advancement colleagues and the director.
  • Play a proactive role in the ongoing development of the museum’s collection of prints, drawings, and photographs in dialogue with other curators and under the oversight of the museum’s director and chief curator; regularly propose works of art for acquisition, cultivating donors, soliciting gifts and loans of art, and pursuing possible purchases; identify and secure institutional partnerships for projects and co-purchasing arrangements, as appropriate
  • Generate timely, community-responsive, and field-contributing exhibitions and collection displays of works on paper that garner local interest and national attention
  • Contribute to the curation of the permanent collection galleries, including interpretive content
  • With the education and engagement team, Colby College Libraries, Department of Art, and departments across campus, envision and realize projects, programs, and other engagements that advance curricular priorities at Colby and that also expand entry points to art for all of our audiences; teach and present in the galleries, and lead discussions regularly
  • With the Colby College Libraries and the collections management staff, ensure the care, research access, and organization of archival materials related to the works on paper collections
  • Work closely with colleagues at the museum and at Colby managing communications and marketing channels to ensure a strategic approach to the authentic dissemination of curatorial content and scholarship, with an eye toward expanding reach, creating public relevance, and diversifying engagement
  • Generate scholarly publications and other forms of content related to the works on paper collections and exhibitions at Colby, adopting a stance of critical and creative inquiry as well as bringing equitable, antiracist perspectives to bear upon the questions at hand
  • Supervise and mentor interns and, at times, curatorial fellows
  • Collaborate with the director of museum development and advancement colleagues to pursue grants and individual gifts
  • Cultivate strong relationships with donors, lenders, alumni, the museum’s Board of Governors, and other key stakeholders
  • Develop and sustain a network of relationships—peers, mentors, and mentees—in the museum field; remain knowledgeable of trends in this field and in the arts and culture sector generally
  • Represent the museum through speaking engagements and other field exchanges in the context of curatorial projects and related duties
  • Perform additional duties as assigned; duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice
  • Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in education and experience; art or related humanities field and/or advanced degree preferred
  • Minimum three to five years of curatorial experience, including collections and acquisitions, development, interpretation and public programs, and project management; additional years of experience preferred
  • Enthusiasm for the museum’s mission and our curatorial program, and capacity to assume leadership in communicating its priorities and values
  • Demonstrated research interests in works on paper with additional broad subject knowledge across art and cultural history, as well as commitment to teaching and learning across disciplines
  • Ability to assess and act on opportunities to increase the narrative complexity and diversity of the collections and programs, and advance equity in our daily practices and work culture; unwavering commitment to fostering an antiracist, equitable work environment supportive of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and life paths
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and long-term while successfully attending to more immediate goals and tasks; strong planning, and organizational skills
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills, including relationship skills and ability to work with people across a wide range of levels of power and influence
  • Self-motivated, flexible and responsive work ethic; proven ability to work both independently as well as collaboratively within the context of a diverse community
  • Demonstrated track record of curatorial activity, including scholarship and publications
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks among competing priorities and meet deadlines
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite and Google applications; familiarity with digital cloud collaboration platforms preferred
  • Valid driver’s license required and must meet the College’s Fleet Safety Policy requirements; willingness and ability to travel domestically and internationally as needed

This position reports to the chief curator and works with the Carolyn Muzzy director, Lunder curator of American art, Katz curator, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, Anne Lunder Leland curatorial fellow, deputy director, director of the Lunder Institute for American art, director of museum development, Mirken curator of education and engagement and the engagement team, senior manager of exhibitions and publications, manager of museum collections and registration and museum registrars, manager of communications, art preparation and installation team as well as with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and guests.


General open office and campus environment. Position involves sitting, although frequent movement is necessary. Occasional lifting is required. Computer usage involving repetitive hand/wrist motion is also necessary. Some night and weekend work required based on museum events.


Interested candidates should apply electronically by clicking the "Apply" button on the Colby Careers website. Please submit a letter of interest including salary requirements, resume, and the contact information of three professional references.

Materials should be addressed to:

Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies - Search Committee

Office of Human Resources

Colby College

5500 Mayflower Hill

Waterville, ME 04901-8855

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