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Curator, George Eastman Collection

** As a condition of employment, the museum requires employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA booster vaccine (“original vaccines”). Those who did not receive the “original vaccines” as of April 18, 2023 must be vaccinated with the most currently authorized updated vaccines.

Job Title: Curator, George Eastman Collection
Department: George Eastman Collection
Reports To: Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director
Status: Full time, Exempt
Pay Rate: $56,000 - $70,000 per year
Posting Date: December 4, 2023 – until filled

Background: 

George Eastman’s mansion is a 35,000-square-foot Georgian Revival structure that was completed in 1905 and served as his residence until his death in 1932. The mansion and surrounding estate are a National Historic Landmark. Portions of the interior of the mansion and certain exterior elements were restored in 1990. In recent years, the  mansion and related structures and some of the estate’s historic gardens have been restored at a total cost of more than $5 million, but additional preservation projects are needed.

The George Eastman Collection consists of objects that belonged to Eastman and thousands of letters, photographs, and other items of ephemera related to him. The items that are not in the mansion are stored in a dedicated climate-controlled vault that is adjacent to the George Eastman Study Center.

The George Eastman Collection Committee is a standing committee of the Board of the Trustees of the museum. Any accessions or deaccessions of objects to the collection are considered by the committee, and if recommended by the committee, are subject to a vote by the Board of Trustees.

The museum plans to renovate unrestored areas of the mansion to create seven galleries (3,000 square feet) that will be dedicated to a “permanent” exhibition that presents a contemporary interpretation of George Eastman that is relevant to our diverse community. Scheduled to open in fall 2025, the exhibition is being curated by a grant-funded professional, whose position will end a few months after the exhibition opens. The curator and the archivist of the George Eastman Collection support research by the exhibition curator.

Job Summary: 

Responsible for the management, interpretation, maintenance, and conservation of the mansion and the George Eastman Collection. Develop exhibitions and programs for donors, members, and visitors. Collaborate with other senior staff to provide an integrated approach to mission-related priorities.

DUTIES

Administration
• Draft, revise, and enforce departmental policies and procedures.
• Determine departmental priorities and initiate special events and projects.
• Conduct long-range planning for the department and participate in museum-wide planning.
• Hire, train, supervise, schedule, and evaluate department staff, contractors, volunteers, and interns. Directly manages two employees (archivist and housekeeper) and two part-time contractors (Botanicus and flower arranger).
• Prepare proposed departmental budget for each year and oversee all departmental expenses.
• Serve as staff liaison to the George Eastman Collection Committee of the museum‘s Board of Trustees.
• Act as spokesperson and advocate for the department and the museum with the Board of Trustees, other staff members, museum visitors, and the community.
• Participate in the museum’s weekly Senior Staff meetings.
• Participate in the Museum’s Disaster Preparedness Committee, advocating for needs and concerns related to the
mansion and the George Eastman Collection.

George Eastman’s mansion
• Train docents to give tours of the mansion to the museum’s diverse audience.
• Provide tours and presentations of the mansion to school groups, clubs, potential donors, trustees, and special guests.
• Inspect George Eastman’s mansion (inside and out) and furnishings biweekly. Report issues and coordinate maintenance and repairs with the Facilities Department.
• Monitor restored rooms and galleries in the mansion for appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
• Ensure safety and preservation of collection objects displayed in the restored rooms and galleries.
• Oversee and educate housekeeping staff (including the mansion housekeeper) on general cleaning protocols for the mansion and collection items. Update Housekeeping Manual and training materials as needed.
• Train security staff on daily routine in the mansion. Update Security Manual and training materials as needed.
• Supervise outside contractors/vendors on maintenance, restorations, and repairs performed in the mansion, including indoor plant/flower maintenance.
• Oversee and coordinate musical programs on, and maintenance of, the mansion’s Aeolian Organ.
• Organize Sunday Musical Program in the mansion, in collaboration with the Eastman School of Music.
• Support the annual Dutch Connections exhibition (each February) by preparing the mansion’s Conservatory prior to the placement of the forced bulbs.
• Decorate the mansion for the holiday season.
• Coordinate use of mansion for group events with Senior Director of Special Events.
• Schedule use of the mansion by still photographers and filmmakers/videographers for educational, commercial, and promotional projects.

George Eastman Collection
• Facilitate access to the collection, archival materials, and research resources at the George Eastman Study Center for museum staff, interns, outside researchers, and visitors.
• Review and update standards for object cataloging and descriptions (across a wide range of objects), in collaboration with the Registrar’s Office.
• Maintain and further develop the database of all collection objects (including their location), with the assistance ofthe archivist and in consultation with the Registrar’s Office.
• Improve online collection access through prioritization of digitization projects (in collaboration with Registrar) and creation of finding aids for archival materials (in collaboration with museum archivist).
• Review and develop criteria for the scope of the George Eastman Collection and archival materials.
• Develop the George Eastman Collection through donations and purchases.
• Research, evaluate and make recommendations to the George Eastman Collection Committee about objects that are prospective donations or purchases for the collection.
• Make recommendations to the George Eastman Collection Committee about objects to deaccession.
• Direct storage and maintenance activities for the collection and related materials.
• Monitor the George Eastman Collection vault for appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
• Work with Conservation Department to stabilize or repair objects in the collection for exhibition, use by researchers, or loan to other institutions.
• Review, consider, and approve outgoing loans from collection, in collaboration with Registrar’s Office.

Other Curatorial Work
• Develop focused exhibitions on George Eastman (or new parts of the forthcoming permanent exhibition)—primarily to be presented in the new mansion galleries and the “Sitting Room.”
• Conduct special research projects in areas of interest.

Public Programs and Outreach
• Work with the Marketing & Engagement, Education, and Development departments to coordinate, execute, and give talks and programs related to George Eastman, the mansion, and the collection.
• Coordinate and oversee the museum’s very popular annual Sweet Creations holiday exhibition, including the displays of gingerbread houses, wreaths, tabletop trees, and multicultural decorations.
• Attend and participate in local, national, and international meetings, conventions, and events to promote the George Eastman Museum, the mansion, and the collection; foster alliances and collaboration; and seek donations of cash and objects.
• Offer information and images for external publications to promote the George Eastman Museum, the mansion, and the George Eastman Collection within and outside of the Greater Rochester area.

Development
• Work with the Development Department to develop public and private grant proposals to support department operations and projects, including preservation projects.
• Collaborate with the Development Department to seek financial donations to the museum.

Editorial
• Contribute articles to the museum’s bimonthly bulletin.
• Write and edit other texts as necessary.

Physical Demands and Work Environment:
The duties of this position require standing, walking, sitting, lifting/carrying at least 50 pounds, pushing/pulling, stooping, kneeling, crouching, reaching, public speaking, visual acuity, ability to hear, understand and distinguish speech and/or other sounds, and the ability to move furniture and other collection objects and to roll up rugs, pads, and moveable stanchions. Most work takes place in an office environment within the study center or in the mansion, but certain tasks require work on a ladder and in the climate-controlled George Eastman Collection vault (680F).

QUALIFICATIONS

Education Requirements:
• Possess an advanced degree in Museum Studies, History, American Studies, or related field.

Experience Requirements:
• Prior experience working with, interpreting, or educating about museum collections or historic homes
• Previous management experience at museum or historic home, preferred
• Supervisory experience, preferred.

Skills and Competencies Requirements:
• Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
• Effective time management
• Attention to detail
• Verbal and written communication skills
• Critical thinking
• Complex problem solving
• Flexibility and adaptability
• Focus on visitor service and experience
• Effective public speaking and presentation skills

To be considered for this position, please email a cover letter and a current CV or resume to the attention of Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director at [email protected].

The Eastman Museum is committed to equal opportunity for all, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, disability, genetic information, or any other protected characteristic. The Eastman Museum will make reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified employees and applicants with disabilities unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business.