Collections Interpreter - Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
Posted on 3/12/2023
Founded by philanthropists George and Ellen Booth in 1904, Cranbrook Educational Community is one of the world’s leading centers of education, science, and art. Comprised of a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, Center for Collections and Research, House and Gardens, Institute of Science, and more than 1,600 students attending our Pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory Schools, Cranbrook welcomes thousands of visitors and students to its campus each year. Critics have called Cranbrook “the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America” and in 1989 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. The campus is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, about 20 miles north of downtown Detroit. For more information, please visit Cranbrook's website.
Launched in 2012, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research centralizes Cranbrook’s 119-year story and offers intellectual engagement with its collections and legacy. The Center is charged with overseeing Cranbrook’s three historic house-museums, including Cranbrook House, Saarinen House, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House, its campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties, the 2.5 million documents that comprise Cranbrook Archives, and providing programming and access to these buildings and collections for scholars and visitors from around the world. For more information, please visit the Center's website.
The Collections Interpreter is a unique opportunity for an intellectually curious and outgoing person to help support the work of Cranbrook’s newest programmatic division by offering public and private tours of Cranbrook’s architecture and campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties. These tours include Cranbrook House (the Albert Kahn-designed 1908 Arts and Crafts manor home of Cranbrook’s founders), Saarinen House
(Eliel and Loja Saarinen’s 1930 early Modern and Art Deco masterwork), and the nearby Smith House (a 1950 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian house with a rich collection of midcentury decorative arts), as well as more comprehensive tours of the entire Cranbrook campus, including its architecture, fountains and sculptures (including those by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles), and landscape features (such as the Cranbrook Japanese Garden).
This is a part-time position where the Collections Interpreter will work an average of 10 hours each week, primarily April through November. Schedules vary and require weekend assignments and occasional evenings, with the majority of the tours taking place between 10am and 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
The Center’s Collections Interpreters develop and present tours and programs related to Cranbrook’s architecture, historic collections, and history for a variety of constituents. This may include researching new programs or tours, writing up protocols, and being responsible for the development and delivery of certain programs. Collections Interpreters are expected to demonstrate a mastery of the tour content and have excellent presentation and large group management skills.
The Center’s Collections Interpreters should have an interest in the history of Cranbrook and a desire to share Cranbrook’s story with visitors from near and far and will have a front-line role in shaping how Cranbrook is perceived and understood by the Center’s constituents.
• Enthusiasm for the content and an eagerness to share that enthusiasm with learners of all ages.
• College level art history, architectural history, or other relevant courses required, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree strongly preferred.
• Minimum of one year of experience teaching to a variety of ages, either formal or informal, required.
• Customer service experience and the ability to positively and effectively work with individuals and groups, with an emphasis on adult audiences.
• A valid State of Michigan driver’s license with satisfactory driving record and the use of a personal automobile is required in order to meet tour groups at various campus destinations.
• The ability to navigate stairs and uneven terrain, including unpaved garden and woodland paths, and lead tours that may be several hours long.
• The use of a personal cell phone is required to communicate with Center staff while conducting campus tours.
Cranbrook offers competitive compensation and a unique environment that values collaboration.