Collections Manager - The Wright Museum

Posted on 11/16/2022

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is seeking a full time Collections Manager.

Founded in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has for over half a century been a leading institution dedicated to the African American experience.

The Wright Museum’s collection contains over 35,000 artifacts and archival materials and is home to And Still We Rise: Our Journey through African American History and Culture, the museum's 22,000 square foot, interactive core exhibit. This exhibit is one of the largest single encyclopedic exhibitions on African American history in existence. The Ford Freedom Rotunda and its 95-foot wide by 65-foot-high glass dome is an architectural wonder more than twice the width of the State of Michigan’s Capitol dome and just one foot shy of the width of the U.S. Capitol dome. The Rotunda’s floor contains our Ring of Genealogy, a 37-foot terrazzo tile creation by artist Hubert Massey surrounded by bronze nameplates of prominent African Americans in history. The Museum facility houses the General Motors Theater, a 317-seat facility for live performances, film, and presentations. The Wright serves over half a million people annually through its exhibitions, programs, and events.

The state-of-the-art, 125,000 square-foot facility that the museum currently occupies in Detroit, Michigan's thriving Midtown, serves as a cultural beacon for the City of Detroit, the US, and globally. The Museum champions the stories of African Americans and offers a space for rigorous contemplation for visitors of all backgrounds. Detroit was named in the Top 50 of Time Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places of 2022: Extraordinary Destinations to Explore.

Our mission is to open minds and change lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture.

Our vision is of a world in which the adversity and achievement of African American history inspires everyone toward greater understanding, acceptance, and unity!

We offer a competitive employment package including salary, benefits, relocation assistance and employee engagement opportunities. The Wright Museum is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants without regard to ethnicity, gender identity, age, or sexual orientation.

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination required by the date of hire to be considered for the position

Position Overview:
As a vital member of the Charles H. Wright Museum’s Curatorial Department, the Collections Manager is responsible for the oversight of collections management including policy development and maintenance; artifact collections storage, safety, and access; cataloging, documentation, deaccessioning, and disposal. The Collections Manager oversees the coordination of all loans and exhibitions, including installation and de-installation, submits insurance information to the Director of Exhibitions and Collections, manages object movement, including packing, crating, and shipping. The Collections Manager also assesses needed conservation treatment and implements best practices in collection preservation.

Essential Functions:
• Develops policies and manage access and data entry into Past Perfect, the Museum’s collections management system. Works closely with the Curatorial staff to develop style and standard procedures for data entry and updates as appropriate for collection holdings
• Maintains a registration log book of temporary receipts, loans and acquisitions
• Responsible for maintaining, organizing, and managing all legal documentation, object files and records (both hardcopy and digital) related to collection holdings, loans, deaccessions and potential acquisitions • Works with the Curatorial Department to review, update and revise the Museum’s Collections Management Policy
• In collaboration with the Curatorial Department, is responsible for disaster preparedness planning and recovery, with specific responsibility for the art, artifact, and archival collections
• Monitors the environment of all galleries and storage spaces, including the development and maintenance of the Environmental Monitoring Plan. Regularly monitors permanent and temporary installations on exhibition
• Oversees the processing of incoming and outgoing loans, including contract negotiation, collection of documentation, data entry, shipping arrangements, insurance coverage and courier requirements. Acts as a courier, when required • Oversees and manages registration responsibilities for traveling exhibitions
• Oversees and manages the unpacking/packing, handling, installation, and de-installation of all collection holdings and loans. Prepares and conducts condition reports and assessments for all collection holdings, loans and potential acquisitions
• Oversees the processing of all potential acquisitions, including shipping arrangements, collection of documentation, data entry, the timely presentation of materials to the SVPP and the complete processing of works accepted or purchased for the permanent collection
• Oversees and manages deaccessioning and disposal, including the review and evaluation of unprocessed temporary holdings in consultation with appropriate Curatorial staff
• Responsible for the development of a regular inventory schedule of all collection holdings and loans. Helps support the Financial Department in their annual audit
• In collaboration with the Curatorial staff, reviews and assesses conservation needs and the long-term preservation care of collection holdings. Coordinates and collaborates with contracted conservators for assessment and treatment of collection holdings. Maintains records of all assessments and treatments performed
• Works with Director of Exhibitions and Collections and curatorial staff to manage appropriate fine art insurance coverage for collection holdings and loans
• Supervises Preparator(s) and Art Installers as needed
• Participates in professional conferences and workshops as a representative of the Museum
• Performs other duties as required

Required Education and Experience:
• Bachelor’s Degree with a focus in Records and Objects Management, Art, Art History, History, Anthropology, Museum Studies, or other related field required; Master’s degree preferred
• Three (3) to five (5) years of experience working as a Collections Manager in a museum or gallery setting

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:
• Excellent leadership, managerial, planning, organizational and administrative skills
• Ability to be flexible, balance multiple projects and tasks concurrently, and work with close attention to detail
• Strong interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills; high level of presentation, problem solving and diplomacy skills
• Ability to inspire, motivate, and lead a productive team, and establish and maintain effective working relationships with a wide variety of people including trustees, donors, lenders and borrowers, vendors, and the general public
• Ability to energetically manage a diverse and challenging workload and to work under pressure to meet deadlines while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary service to colleagues and patrons
• Able to understand logical record keeping, conservation of artworks, up to date packing and shipping methods, legal issues, as well as environmental and security systems
• In-depth knowledge of collection management, documentation and preservation practices, policies and procedures (including art handling, condition reporting, packing/crating, domestic and international shipping, exhibition planning, courier arrangements, fine arts insurance, indemnity, immunity from seizure, and customs documentation)
• Strong computer skills including relational database experience, word processing knowledge, digital image management, and image manipulation
• Direct experience with museum collections management software, specifically Past Perfect, the Museum’s
• Ability to manage effective working relationships with staff, volunteers, and members of the public; exercise tact and diplomacy at all times; demonstrate an understanding of protocol and sensitivity to cultural diversity issues; nurture a positive working environment.

Physical Requirements:
• Sit for extended periods of time (up to 8 hours) on a daily basis
• Stand and walk for extended periods of time (up to 6 hours) on a daily basis
• Bend, crouch, stoop, reach, and push frequently
• Safely and successfully grasp, handle, and lift art and artifacts frequently
• Lift and carry items up to 50 lbs. as necessary
• Safely and successfully ascend and descend ladders, utilize lifts, and use other necessary equipment for the installation/deinstallation of exhibitions
• Willing and able to travel (by car, truck, and/or plane) as needed
• Able to work late nights, weekends, and in outdoor weather

Salary Range: $50K -$55K

How to apply: Applications will only be accepted via our website thewright.org/jobs. Interested candidates must submit (1) a resume or CV and (2) a cover letter with salary requirements. Applications will be considered incomplete without the required submissions. Please no phone calls


The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council

Thank you to our Partners!


Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721      lcbrisson@michiganmuseums.org

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