Curatorial Research Associate, Art of the Americas

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston seeks a Curatorial Research Associate to work under the direction of the Art of the Americas curatorial staff, aiding with the research, administration, evaluation, and implementation of Collecting Stories: The Invention of Folk Art (to open May 2020). This exhibition, which aims to develop a new approach to interpreting the MFA’s Karolik Collection of American Folk Art, specifically the lesser-known holdings of works on paper and sculpture, is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation for American Art Program’s Initiative for Collections and Curatorial Training Pilot.

In 2017, the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Program awarded the MFA a three-year Responsive Grant in support of the study, installation, and programming of under-utilized collections of art from the United States. This pilot program is framed as three sequential, one-year exhibitions that delve into the Art of the Americas permanent collection. Each of the exhibitions address critical themes in American history, and the formation of modern American identity under the title “Collecting Stories.” The first exhibition, “Collecting Stories: Native American Art,” (on view from April 2018-March 2019) explored the range of perspectives, motivations, and voices involved in building the early holdings of Native American art the MFA. The second exhibition, “Collecting Stories: A Mid-Century Experiment,” (opened May 2019) investigates the MFA’s tentative approach to collecting American contemporary art in the 1940s and 1950s to consider issues of legacy and taste, and museums’ role in the development of artists’ reputations and canonical histories. All three Pilot Exhibitions have or will explore the multiplicity of voices that create American art and culture, giving special attention to how those voices have been represented in the past and how we can change perceptions of these collections within the museum context today.

As part of the Luce Foundation’s commitment to education and professional training within the curatorial field, this grant has also funded a rising historian of American art to act as Curatorial Research Associate, carrying out exhibition projects under the guidance of staff curators. This position offers an opportunity to engage in all aspects of exhibition planning, execution, and evaluation. Administrative tasks and research will be combined with exposure to the MFA teams charged with exhibition preparation, design, and installation. The candidate will be challenged to think expansively and offer creative ideas for integrative exhibition displays and engaging programming.

We are honored to have this opportunity to explore the diversity of our collection, build our curatorial team, and engage deeply with our audiences through innovative displays and programs.

This full-time position is fully funded through the run of the third exhibition until March 2021.

Minimum Qualifications and Experience
  • Advanced degree in art history and/or material culture, or equivalent related experience, demonstrating scholarly ability through publications, conference papers, and other activities
  • Demonstrated interest in exploring the complicated nature of American Folk Art, preferably with experience that has advanced scholarship and/or connected visitors in engaging ways
  • Experience working in museum or related setting that has sought and achieved imaginative ways of engaging with visitors and has met targeted results
  • Committed to collaboration with others to achieve the best outcome, the successful candidate is an excellent and timely decision maker able to move plans and objectives forward
  • Strong sense of accountability for achieving stated objectives and demonstrable experience doing so
Personal Qualities and Attributes
  • Intellectually rigorous
  • Inspirational, passionate, curious
  • Resilient, with a healthy approach to work/life balance
  • Generous of spirit, a team player able to interact successfully with a wide range of people at different levels of the Museum
  • Superior judgment, tact and diplomacy, with good organization skills
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication, with demonstrated presentation skills
  • Proven ability to effectively and efficiently manage multiple priorities with competing deadlines

Application materials are being accepted immediately. For consideration, please submit your letter of interest and CV to: resumes@mfa.org. You may also submit your materials via postal mail to: Human Resources Department, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

The MFA is an Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from diverse candidates.