Curator of Collections - Ella Sharp Museum (8/1/2019)

The Ella Sharp Museum seeks an energetic, innovative, and dynamic individual to lead the museums collecting efforts. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience building a collection, working strategically, and collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to nurture partnerships that support collecting and exhibition efforts.

Reports to: Executive Director

Classification: Full time, non-exempt

Department: Curatorial Affairs

Location: 3225 Fourth St. Jackson, MI

Supervises: Contract employees, volunteers and department interns

Salary Range: Coordinator $14.50-$17.50/hr, 37.5 hours/week

About this position

Under the direction of the museum’s Executive Director, the Curator of Collections (CC) provides direction and guidance to the museum’s collecting efforts by connecting the museum’s mission and vision with the greater Jackson community through a robust exploration of historic themes, artistic ideas, and community needs. The CC is responsible for successfully shaping the direction of the museum’s collection while managing its care. This position is also part of a team that interprets and cares for the historic outbuildings on the Museum’s property. The CC works primarily M-F, 9 am—5 pm, one weekend per month, with evenings and weekends to meet staffing needs for special events and programs.

This position spends approximately 25% of the time planning for and developing collections, 25% of the time cataloging and processing collections, 20% of time caring for historic structures, 20% assisting with exhibitions and interpretation. The remaining 10% of the time is dedicated to all staff projects or any other duties assigned.

Representative responsibilities of this position include:

  1. Direct museum collecting activities with particular focus on developing a collections plan that reflects current community events and activities and respects community stakeholders
  2. Develop community partnerships that foster museum engagement particularly through collecting initiatives
  3. Leads Collections Committee meetings, and makes curatorial suggestions to create a well-rounded collection. Maintains and develops Collections Policy and Plan with primary responsibility to update Collections Policies
  4. Manages collections cataloging, documentation, and archival processing, database oversight and data entry (PastPerfect), and performs registrarial tasks including accessioning, registering, and cataloging collections. Manages Collections storage
  5. Assists outside researchers, (schedules appointments, prepares materials, completes digitization requests, and processes any research, digitization or reproduction fees.
  6. Keeps current on museum best practices with particular focus on equity and inclusion
  7. In Collaboration with Director of Facilities, oversees the museum’s historic structures, manage building and collections care, and, manage relationship with City of Jackson regarding city owned structures at the Ella..
  8. Serves on the Facilities Committee to ensure a preservationist perspective for the site.
  9. Serves on the PEC (Programming, Exhibits, and Collections) Team to brainstorm ideas for interpretation of outbuildings, programming, festivals, and exhibits. Works closely with Curator of Exhibits and Exhibits+ Team on overall exhibit development.
  10. Supervises any contract employees, interns or volunteer projects that take place within collections.
  11. Assists the Director of External Affairs with collections related grant writing.
  12. Responsible for the creation and management of the Collections budget
  13. Any other duties as assigned

Desired Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in a related field, or demonstrated commensurate work experience required
  • Attention to detail with superior writing and editing skills is required
  • Moderate computer skills required. Database experience highly desired with PastPerfect experience preferred. Knowledge of MS Office suite desired.
  • Must be creative, motivated, and work well under pressure. Maintain professional working relationship with all staff and be a team player. Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

This position requires the ability to do one or more of the following throughout the day: sit, stand, and walk, to lift up to 30 lbs. occasionally, do close work in an office environment using a computer monitor and perform repetitive hand movements. Employee must be able to communicate verbally. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. All job applicants receive equal consideration for employment.

About the Ella Sharp Museum

The Ella Sharp Museum, founded in 1965, offers programs, exhibits, and experiences preserving community history, advancing art appreciation and understanding, connecting children with science and, through the Cell Block 7 Museum, explores Jackson’s prison history. Our 10-acre campus includes the Hadwin Center with exhibit galleries, program spaces, offices and a museum store; the Merriman Sharp farmhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, barn and other historic structures; and the Hurst Planetarium. Our mission focuses on providing opportunities to connect our community with history, the arts, and science. We received American Alliance of Museums accreditation in 1978 and have been reaccredited twice. One of the first small museums in the country to receive such distinction, the Ella Sharp Museum is one of only 38 accredited institutions in the state of Michigan.

How to apply:

Submit cover letter, resume, and writing sample, PDF preferred, via email to:

Diane Gutenkauf,
Executive Director,
Ella Sharp Museum,

Applications will be accepted until August 1, 2019. Resumes will be reviewed upon receipt.


Posted on the MMA website 5/30/2019.

 The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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