Curatorial Assistant

Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America Req #878
Friday, April 29, 2022
Carnegie Museum of Art creates experiences that connect people to art, ideas, and one another. We believe creativity is a defining human characteristic to which everyone should have access. CMOA collects, preserves, and presents artworks from around the world to inspire, sustain, and provoke discussion, and to engage and reflect multiple audiences. Carnegie Museum of Art is arguably the first museum of contemporary art in the United States, collecting the "Old Masters of tomorrow" since the inception of the Carnegie International in 1896. Today, the museum is one of the most dynamic major art institutions in America. Our collection of more than 30,000 objects features a broad spectrum of visual arts, including painting and sculpture; prints and drawings; photographs; architectural casts, renderings, and models; decorative arts and design; and film, video, and digital imagery. Through our programming, exhibitions, and publications, we frequently explore the role of art and artists in confronting key social issues of our time, combining and juxtaposing local and global perspectives.  With our unique history and resources, we strive to become a leader in defining the role of art museums for the 21st century. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is interested in candidates who, through their experience and collaborations, will contribute to diversity and excellence of the Carnegie Museums community.

The CMP COVID-19 Employee Vaccine Policy requires that all employees provide proof of COVID vaccination or if not fully vaccinated, must provide proof of negative COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis.

The Curatorial Assistant is an important member of the Curatorial Department at Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), which is comprised of staff with expertise in Contemporary Art (1945 to present); Fine Arts (pre-1945); Photography; Decorative Arts and Design; and Architecture. As an emerging professional, the Curatorial Assistant is expected to learn and grow in the museum field with a broad and nuanced understanding of arts and culture.

The Curatorial Assistant works closely with the curators of contemporary art and photography to ensure that the workflow for the artistic program of CMOA functions effectively and efficiently. In collaboration with the curators, this position compiles research and writes for collections, exhibitions, acquisitions, deaccessions, and reporting. The Curatorial Assistant is responsible for general administrative work and works with the curators to develop an appropriate distribution of responsibilities for exhibitions, gallery rotations, and special projects.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in art history, curatorial studies, or comparable degree or two years of experience supporting a curator or exhibition required.
  • 2 years of administrative experience in a museum or comparable organization required.
  • Strong background in contemporary visual arts preferred.
  • 1 year of working with collection materials, including using collection/data management software and object handling, preferred.
  • Good command of another language beyond English preferred.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Must have initiative to undertake and complete tasks and projects as they arise with little supervision, to contribute intellectually to the content of exhibitions and permanent collection installations, and to coordinate and make recommendations for improving the overall functioning of the department.
  • Must have strong research and analytical skills, ability to work collaboratively and collegially with staff and interface diplomatically with donors and professionals in the field; candidate must be highly organized and able to work both independently and as a productive member of a team.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills are essential.
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Office programs, including Sharepoint, OneDrive, Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint, as well as with Internet-based research.
  • Experience with making and editing documents and files using Adobe software suite is also beneficial.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Work is primarily sedentary in nature. Some out-of-town travel and occasional evening and weekend work may be required.

Principal Accountabilities:

  • Assists with creating, developing, and maintaining exhibition checklists and object labels.
  • Drafts text for portions of acquisition reports.
  • Candidate is expected to gain familiarity with KE Emu, CMOA’s collection management system and develops proficiency with museum’s collections management system; inputs and updates information and generates reports and other documents using the system.
  • Works with curators and registrars to process and track loan requests made of or by the department.
  • Fields questions regarding collection and directs inquiries to appropriate curators; follows up as required.
  • Handles written correspondence as directed by the curators.
  • Sorts, files, and maintains records, correspondence, and other documents.
  • Working with curators, prepares and delivers internal and public presentations.
  • In consultation with the curators, streamlines workflow and administrative tasks finding efficiencies and better methods when possible.
  • In accordance with accepted procedures, destroys outdated file materials or transfers them to inactive storage. 
  • Manages departmental interns.
  • Prepares outgoing mail and interdepartmental correspondence for delivery.
  • Tracks budgets and maintains accurate records of curatorial expenses; checks records against monthly statements, resolves discrepancies, and produces reports as required.
  • Verifies, codes, and processes invoices, check requests, expense reports, travel and entertainment reimbursements, and wire transfers in a timely manner.
  • Manages arrangements for visits by artists, collaborators, designers, and other professionals.
  • Assists with planning related to exhibitions and curatorial programming.

This is a Union position.

The following PA Act 153 clearances, or proof of application of clearances, are required beginning employment and as a condition of continued employment: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check Obtaining the required clearances is completed as part of the new hire process.

Carnegie Museums is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Females / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity

The above job description reflects the essential functions and qualifications for the position identified, and shall not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the position. The job description does not constitute an employment contract and does not alter the at-will relationship between CMP and the employee.   

*GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:   The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to consider and accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities.  An individual is qualified if he or she can perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodation. An essential job function is any task that is a fundamental part of the job.  When considering essentiality, one must focus upon whether the function is essential to this particular job and not to the department as a whole. Some additional guidance on essential functions follows below.  Please note that the following guidelines are non-exhaustive.  If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact Human Resources. A. Is the function required to be performed on a regular basis? If the function is rarely performed, it may not be essential. B. Is the function highly specialized? Is the incumbent hired for his/her expertise or ability to perform the function?  The need for special expertise is an indication of an essential function. C. Does the position exist, at least in part, to perform the function?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential. D. How much time is spent performing the function and how often?  Note that even functions performed 10% of the time could be essential if they are required on a regular basis. E. Would elimination of the function fundamentally alter the job?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential. F. What are the consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function? If they are significant, the function is more likely to be essential.  G. Are there a limited number of employees among whom the performance of the function could be distributed if the incumbent could not perform it?  If so, it is more likely to be essential.

Other details

  • Pay Type Hourly
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  • Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America