Curator of Art and Community Engagement

Company Name: 

The High Desert Museum


59800 Hwy 97
Bend, OR 97702

Contact Name: 

Shannon Campbell




Job Description: 

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 historic collections.


Job Summary – Curator of Art and Community Engagement   

High Desert Museum seeks a Curator of Art and Community Engagement to provide all aspects of research, exhibition creation, program development, and oversight of the High Desert Museum’s art collection. The Curator of Art and Community Engagement will have the intellectual vision and practical skills necessary to present, interpret and build a vibrant collection of art of the American West that will be utilized in thought-provoking exhibitions and inspiring community programs. The Museum emphasizes scholarship: the qualified applicant will have a familiarity with the historic and contemporary literary works and academic journals that focus on art of the American West, and the Intermountain West in particular. The applicant must have a proven record of creating and effectively managing the production of exhibits on diverse art themes, including contemporary art works. We seek an individual with innovative programming concepts and delivery who applies their expertise to inspire our visitors to learn more about art of the American West, and the interdisciplinary relationship between people and the natural and cultural resources of the region. The successful candidate will create and conduct multigenerational public education programs that integrate STEAM concepts. The candidate must have excellent presentation and written skills. Teaching experience and experience working with collections is a plus.


A positive demeanor, high level of professionalism 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.



  • M.A. in Fine Art, Art History, Art Education or related field required; or combination of education and work experience (BA, supplemented with 2 years curatorial experience).
  • A thorough knowledge of art of the American West with interest in the High Desert and Intermountain West regions.
  • Success in generating ambitious, creative and inspired programs to advance the arts.
  • Proven curatorial track record of creating compelling, interdisciplinary exhibitions.
  • Experience with best practices in museum education and curation.
  • Experience in effective and dynamic public speaking, educational programs and lectures, and creating and teaching standards-based and STEAM curriculum.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, the importance of art and artifacts.
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines and budgets.
  • Proven ability to work as part of a team, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with fellow employees, volunteers and the public.
  • Strong commitment to collaboration and engaging the community in the arts.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, and written and oral communication skills with an attention to detail as well as the big picture. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with fellow employees, volunteers and the general public
  • Ability to work flexible hours and days as necessary.


Responsibilities and Tasks


  • As a member of the Programs Department, collaborates with Museum curators to plan and lead lectures, trips, tours and interpretive programs with an emphasis on art of the American West, and integrating art with cultural and natural history, to diverse audiences.
  • Collaborates with the Education department to expand and enhance art of the American West programming. This includes providing expertise in developing, planning and implementing innovative school and public programs.
  • Develops and maintains partnerships with organizations and institutions throughout the region.



  • Plans and executes art and interdisciplinary exhibitions with the Exhibits Team. Provides curatorial content, research and planning for exhibit design, construction and renovation, including participating in the Museum’s changing exhibition program and permanent exhibits



  • In conjunction with the Collections Committee, adheres to the Museum’s Collection Management Policy and develops strategic, long range planning of the collection.
  • Collects art pieces, objects and materials in accordance with the Museum’s Collections Management Policy and Strategic Collecting Plan.



  • Conducts training of education staff, interns, teen and adult volunteers. May supervise interns and volunteers as appropriate.
  • Complies with all Museum policies, procedures and safety regulations.
  • Performs other tasks and duties as assigned by immediate supervisor.