Curator of Collections and Exhibitions

Company Name: 

Idaho State Historical Society

Contact Name: 

Annette Polidori




Job Description: 

The Curator of Collections & Exhibitions provides leadership and direction to Idaho State Museum interpretive planning, collections management and conservation, and exhibitions development. As a member of the Museum Program Manager Team, the Curator of Collections & Exhibitions will work in partnership with other Agency program managers. This position ensures that Museum exhibitions are consistent with the Agency’s mission and strategic plan. This position is also responsible for overseeing the management and care of the state’s permanent collection of historic artifacts. The Curator of Collections & Exhibitions works to ensure that all exhibitions provide an outstanding visitor experience, meet the interests of diverse audiences, demonstrate a high level of creativity, scholarship, and innovation and the Museum collections are appropriately cared for, are accessible to the citizens of Idaho and contribute to understanding and preserving Idaho’s rich history. 
Example of Duties
  • As a member of the Museum Program Manager Team, shares responsibility or museum strategy, operations, and making recommendations to the Museum Administrator regarding museum actions that require policy level decisions;
  • In consultation with the Museum Director and appropriate staff, develops policies and procedures for museum collections & exhibitions and interpretation, in alignment with the Agency’s strategic plan and in accordance with professional standards set by the American Association of Museums;
  • Cultivates relationships with professional colleagues, partner organizations, and the community to advance the Agency’s and Museum’s strategic goals.
  • Maintains knowledge of current museum practice and standards for preservation and conservation of artifacts and exhibition design and implementation.
  • With the Museum Administrator, develop multi-year exhibition schedule.
  • Develop timelines, project goals, workplans for involved staff, implementation strategies and plans.
  • Manages and provides professional oversight for museum permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibition projects including planning, budgeting, scheduling, and execution/installation;  
  • Curate exhibitions, including: developing proposals; identifying and locating artifacts and images; conceptualizing, researching, and interpreting collection materials and their historical context; developing exhibition narrative and walk through documents, contributing to the development of A/V and interactive experiences, and writing accessible interpretive label copy;
  • Co-curates or works in consultation with outside scholars on Museum exhibitions;
  • In consultation with the Museum Administrator, Museum Program Managers, and other appropriate ISHS staff including Development, Fiscal, and Marketing, evaluate exhibitions for effectiveness and impact, and contribute to public programming and tour activities to feature and highlight Museum collections whether on exhibition or in storage.
  • Partner with the Agency staff and the Museum Collections Committee on collections acquisitions.
  • Oversees all elements of the Museum Collections Management, including explaining museum collections donations procedures to the general public, working directly with donors to facilitate legal transfer of ownership of objects, determining the proper storage procedures for artifact preservation and conservation, preparing artifacts for exhibition and storage, assessing transportation and shipping needs for artifacts.
  • Works with the Collections & Exhibitions team and other appropriate staff to determine objects to be added to the permanent collection and works with team to determine items to be deaccessioned.
  • Provide oversight and consultation to the Capital Curation Program.
  • Manage contracts with vendors for conservation, inventory, exhibition maintenance, or other special projects.
  • Convenes and chairs the Museum’s Exhibitions Committee and Collections Committee.
  • Oversees the Collections & Exhibitions department budget;
  • Serves as lead staff contact for borrowed/traveling exhibitions, maintains contract records, and works with the collections department on shipping, condition reporting, and installation of those exhibits;
  • Works with the Division of Risk Management and collections department staff to secure fine arts insurance for borrowed/traveling exhibitions and artifacts;
  • Maintains/manages/oversees permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibitions records including contracts, exhibition inventories, photographs of the exhibition, and permissions paperwork;  
  • Supervises contractors, staff, interns, and volunteers involved in exhibition development and preparation.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Some amount of weekend and evening time spent in museum programming events and workshops;
  • Provide support to agency public programs and outreach effort;
  • Support the Mission, Vision and Values of the Agency;
  • Support and demonstrate the Work Culture Standards;
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications
  • Planning and implementing projects
  • Developing, promoting and gaining project support
  • Interpreting and explaining specialized or complex material into information usable by the public

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience developing timelines, project goals, work plans, implementation strategies in a Museum or cultural institution setting
  • Experience supervising staff
  • Experience with general museum collections policies, classification, registration and cataloging principles according to best practices with professional standards set by the American Associations of Museums.