High Desert Museum – Organization Description
The High Desert Museum is a non-profit organization focused on the biotic and cultural elements of the High Desert region of the Western United States. Located near Bend, Oregon, on the edge of the beautiful Deschutes National Forest, the Museum melds the natural history of diverse habitat types with human history of the environment into a unique blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits, living history and both living and historical collections.
The Museum is an American Alliance of Museums-accredited institution and adheres to the professional standards for collections care. Our collection includes approximately 29,000 objects from the Great Basin, Plateau and Pacific Northwest territories (includes portions of Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho and California). It includes historic and cultural artifacts from many groups of western people such as clothing, regalia, furniture, tools, archaeological materials, basketry, paintings, drawings, sculpture, and western and contemporary art, rare books and photographs. Of particular note, we have more than 6,000 objects in our American Indian collection with a strong representation of Plateau Indian material culture.
Job Summary – Collections Manager and Exhibitions Coordinator
This position manages the Museum’s collection, library and archives. Furthermore, the position plays a role in helping to coordinate and facilitate the production and installation of temporary and permanent exhibitions within a dynamic team of curators and exhibit design professionals. The successful candidate will be a creative problem solver, have strong organizational skills, a team-oriented perspective and will work collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary museum. A positive demeanor and the ability to learn new skills quickly are essential traits. We look at each candidate in terms of combined skills; different combinations of skills can serve to qualify for the position.
- BA/BS in Museum Studies, American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Natural History, Museum Studies, U.S. Western History or equivalent; experience with exhibitions and collections preferred
- Knowledge of material culture theory
- Knowledge of culturally responsive collections management practices, those practices that take into consideration the culture that produced an object, with particular emphasis on Plateau tribes
- Demonstrated skill in collections management databases (PastPerfect preferred) and MS Office suite
- Demonstrated knowledge of professional museum practices and standards, including registration methods, object loans, safe object handling, conservation, packing and shipping, proper storage, security measures and object numbering techniques
- Experience in collections management procedures: accessioning, retrieval, attributions, documentation, proper storage and handling techniques
- Ability to implement strategic collections management plans and acquisition policies
- Ability to implement and adhere to Collections Management policy
- Ability to lead and train volunteers and interns
- Experience with museum display, such as mount making, and exhibition techniques and standards
- Ability to set and meet deadlines; manage projects, exhibit installations and planning
- Excellent interpersonal, organizational, and written and oral communication skills. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with fellow employees, volunteers and general public
Responsibilities and Tasks
- Maintains objects and materials in accordance with artifact collections management policy and strategic collections plan.
- Provides conservation guidelines for exhibitions and actively assists in installation, which may include mount making and gallery preparation.
- Ensure cultural considerations for collections preservation.
- Serves on the Museum’s Collections Committee
- Actively assists in long-range collections development.
- Maintains collections database records and standards.
- Initiates grants and other funding sources to assist in ongoing collections maintenance.
- Oversees the processing of objects into the collections and library.
- Oversees the environmental quality of collections and exhibits – including daily maintenance and monitoring in galleries.
- Responsible for disaster planning for museum collections.
- Supervises research related to collections.
- Monitors the security of collections.
- Prepares objects for exhibition or loans.
- Directs and trains interns and volunteers.
- Helps to maintain schedules, budgets and contracts for temporary, permanent and traveling exhibits.
- Prepares and monitors annual budget for collections, exhibits and library.
- Follows all Museum policies, procedures and safety regulations.
- Performs other tasks and duties as assigned by supervisor.