Employment at The Rockwell

The Rockwell Museum maintains a unique work environment in the beautifully restored Old City Hall Building in downtown Corning in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

Nestled in scenic upstate New York, Corning is a vibrant community with an attractive, historical downtown and home to Corning Incorporated—one of the world’s leading innovators in glass and materials science and world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass.

Our small staff is a committed, creative, energetic team that continually embraces diversity of thought and backgrounds. We are passionate about advancing our work and our commitment to the community. We offer full- and part-time positions with excellent benefits. The Rockwell Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Click here to read more about working at The Rockwell

 


Curator of Collections and Exhibitions 

 Summary: 

The Rockwell Museum, an AAM-accredited institution and Smithsonian Affiliate, seeks a curator of collections and exhibitions to serve as its chief curator and head of the curatorial department. Housed in the restored 19th Century Old City Hall, The Rockwell Museum grew from a gift by collectors Robert and Hertha Rockwell through a public-private-civic partnership with Corning Incorporated and the City of Corning. The Museum’s collection development is supported by a subsequent bequest from Clara S. Peck, a philanthropist and collector of art and rare books. Our highly collaborative institution utilizes an intentional team and holistic strategy to support the development of its exhibitions, programming, educational initiatives, events and community engagement. Based on the principles of shared leadership and institutional equity, the curator will work across departments and teams to support the Museum’s overall vision and mission through exhibitions, collection development and other curatorial projects.  

The Rockwell Museum is home to an expanding collection of American art from the 19th century to the present with a mission to tell the story of the American experience through art. Working beyond the canon, The Rockwell Museum embraces an evolving understanding of the history and evolution of America through art – to show how the multifaceted nature of experience can be a source for dialogue and conversation to build empathy and mutual understanding. Supporting this effort, ~60% of the work in The Rockwell permanent collection galleries is by BIPOC or LGBTQ+ artists and almost half is by women artists or makers.  

With the executive director, the curator of collections and exhibitions is responsible for the activation of the Museum’s Collection Development Plan to expand and diversify representation across all aspects of diversity. Through acquisition and donation, the collection has grown significantly and been greatly diversified in the past six years. Acquisitions in the past three years include work by: Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Julie Hart Beers, Arthur Dove, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Greatorex, Grace Hartigan, Martine Gutierrez, Richard Hunt, Blanche Lazzell, Glenn Ligon, Whitfield Lovell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Wendy Red Star, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Roger Shimomura, Devan Shimoyama, Susan Moore Waters,  Abraham Walkowitz and Melanie Yazzie. Since 2016, the Museum has added more than 350 works of art to the collection. Of those, 64% are by a diverse maker including 45% made by women and 46% by artists who represent BIPOC, LGBTQ+ or other marginalized communities.   

In addition, The Rockwell emphasizes education as a key component of its mission, presenting a wide range of educational services and programs in collaboration with local schools and other organizations. The Museum’s permanent collection, special exhibitions and other curatorial initiatives are the foundation of all the work the organization undertakes. Each year, The Rockwell organizes its exhibitions, interpretation, programming and events around a common program theme. In 2023, the program theme is Heroes, exploring Americans and artists moved by conviction, truth and love to improve communities, society and our world. Rockwell team members are encouraged to think beyond a conventional museum experience, considering their work through the Museum’s vision and core values – people, progress, collaboration, experimentation and zest. 

Opportunities for the next curator of collections and exhibitions include: overseeing the creation and publication of a new guide to the collection; reinstallation of the permanent collection to celebrate the Museum’s 50th anniversary in 2026; multiple projects and opportunities with contemporary artists; working closely with educators on engaging museum experiences and interpretation strategies; and working with the executive director and Collection Committee on the thoughtful expansion and diversification of the permanent collection.  

Responsibilities: 

Curatorial 

  • Leads the Curatorial department (associate curator, registrar, preparator and contract employees) and oversees all curatorial affairs including permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. 
  • Makes recommendations for the acquisition of works of art in accordance with the Museum’s Collections Development Plan. Defines strategic areas of growth and maintains the Collection Development Plan in conjunction with the executive director and collection committee.
  • Undertakes research to catalogue and document the Museum’s collections. 
  • Manages the preservation and conservation needs of the collection. 
  • Cultivates collectors and others to encourage donations of works of art or funds to purchase works of art. 
  • Answers inquiries from scholars and the public about the collection and the Museum. 
  • Works collaboratively with all departments, especially members of the CIA team (Conceptualize, Innovate, Anticipate, one of four interdepartmental teams) to create integrated programming. 
  • Leads the Curatorial Department and oversees all aspects of administration including budget, forecasting, staffing, curatorial scheduling, creation and implementation of new policies and procedures, and alignment with industry best practices as defined by AAM and AAMC. 
  • Serves as employee liaison to the Board Collections Committee and introduces acquisitions, deaccessions, and collections policies to support collection management. 
  • Develops and implements permanent, temporary and traveling exhibitions. 
  • Hires, trains and supervises curatorial and registration staff. 
  • Pursues research activities related to American art as it pertains to the existing and expanding collection. Keeps abreast of current scholarship in the field. 
  • Writes catalogues, articles and other materials for the Museum and outside publications.  
  • Serves on the CIA team and makes suggestions for dynamic and innovative exhibitions and related educational programming that align within the Museum’s annual theme, collaborations and other institutional initiatives. 
  • Contributes to institutional goals and curatorial objectives for the strategic Business Plan, oversee its implementation, and tracks quarterly progress for the curatorial department.  
  • Leads efforts in the digitization of the permanent collection.  

 General 

  • Supports and amplifies the Museum’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion (JEDAI).  
  • Represents the Curatorial department on the Conceptualize, Innovate and Anticipate team. 
  • As a department head, serves on the leadership team that conceives and supports strategic planning on behalf of the institution. 

Qualifications: 

  • Respect and exemplify the values of The Rockwell Museum in all interactions with colleagues, staff, volunteers and the public. 
  • Ability to represent the Museum in a professional manner. 
  • Adhere to all prescribed organizational and departmental policies and procedures. 
  • Ability to work with people from a variety of cultures; ability to maintain an appropriate voice for diverse audiences. 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team; strong collaboration skills.
  • Ability to work with minimum supervision. 
  • M.A. in Art History or a related field. 
  • Minimum five years prior curatorial experience. 
  • In-depth knowledge of American art and art history with particular emphasis on Native American Art, particularly contemporary Native American artists; Hudson River School and 19th century landscape painting; the American West and Southwest; and Contemporary art and artists. 
  • Ability to plan strategically and long-range for a robust exhibition schedule of approximately eight in-house and traveling exhibitions annually.
  • Ability to cultivate collectors and solicit gifts or funds for acquisitions. 
  • Excellent research skills as well as ability to create and maintain well-researched and precise records. 
  • Demonstrated experience effectively leading and managing projects and committees; commitment to complete projects on-time and within budget and to respect the deadlines of others.  
  • Strong interpersonal skills; works effectively and professionally with people at all levels, including external stakeholders. 
  • Excellent supervisory skills. 
  • Excellent presentation skills and proficiency in speaking in front of diverse groups. 
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills.  
  • Some weekends, evenings and holidays required; flexibility in hours necessary. 
  • Regional, domestic and/or international travel, as needed. 

 Salary Range: $70,000.00 to $80,000.00 with generous benefits package  

 Timeline:  

  • Review of applicants is estimated to begin week of February 20.  
  • First round interviews are expected to be scheduled (virtually): weeks of March 6 and March 13. 

To apply, please send the following information to resumes@rockwellmuseum.org: 

  • A letter of interest  
  • A CV or résumé 
  • A writing sample (no longer than 2 pages)

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