Deputy Director and Curator

Company Name: 

Desert Caballeros Western Museum


21 N. Frontier Street
Wickenburg, AZ 85390

Contact Name: 

Hillary Harnasch




Job Description: 

Maricopa County Historical Society dba Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Wickenburg, AZ

Deputy Director and Curator

Full-Time, Exempt; Supervisor: Executive Director

Salary: $75,000-90,000


Function of Position

Direct research, interpretation, preservation, and exhibition of the collections of the Museum. The curator oversees the Museum's custodial responsibilities in acquiring and preserving the objects in its collection and ensures that the Collections Management Policy is stringently adhered to and updated as necessary to reflect current practice in the museum field. Responsible for organizing exhibitions from the permanent collection and preparing appropriate didactic materials as well as organizing temporary exhibitions from the permanent collection and outside lenders to complement permanent displays. Principal responsibilities include the development of programs, events, and activities which educate and involve community members in the visual arts and history and encourage participation in and contributions to the Museum and its mission.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.


  1. Understand and support the mission and goals of the Museum.
  2. Ensure that best museum practices are adhered to in all respects.
  3. Responsible for ensuring high standards of professionalism in all areas of responsibility.
  4. Remain current on museum profession policies, laws, and accepted practices through      involvement in professional groups and continuing education.
  5. Responsible for keeping privileged information confidential.
  6. In coordination with the Executive Director and Director of Education, identify annual and long-range goals for the Museum’s exhibitions and education programs based on the Museum’s mission and strategic plan, directing effort toward the realization of these goals and monitoring progress on a periodic basis.
  7. Work with Executive Director to establish goals, objectives, and strategies as part of the education and exhibitions components of the Museum’s strategic plan and work toward accomplishing those goals.
  8. Develop and direct educational philosophy for the Museum.
  9. Establish policies and procedures for access and use of the collections, archival materials, research materials, and library in coordination with the Executive Director and Collections Manager.
  10. Establish, implement, and periodically review all policies and procedures related to the collections, library, and archives in coordination with the Executive Director and Collections Manager.
  11. Provide the framework for scholarly research and other scholarly activities within the Museum's stated mission.
  12. Build relationships with scholars, collectors, other museum curators and professional societies.
  13. Represent the Museum in professional circles and before the public in a manner that enhances the prestige and credibility of the Museum.
  14. Serve as a spokesperson and advocate for the Museum, effectively representing the organization to the community, professional, governmental, civic, and private agencies, enhancing the organization’s public image to expand interest and support.
  15. Represent the Museum before professional museum organizations, funding agencies, businesses, service clubs, government agencies and the public.
  16. Serve as lead staff to the Acquisition and Cowgirl Up! committees.  Maintain meeting schedules and send meeting notices and agendas. Distribute minutes following meetings and prepare agendas in advance of meetings.
  17. Supervise annual Cowgirl Up! exhibition and sale – particularly the portions related to art and artists and catalogue production.
  18. Signer on most museum accounts. Sign payroll and other checks. Serve as backup to review and initial invoices in the absence of the Executive Director. 
  19. Assist Executive Director and Director of Business Operations in creating annual museum and Cowgirl Up! budgets. Create budget for Curatorial Department including temporary exhibitions.
  20. Assist Executive Director with review of the fine arts insurance policy for the collections and temporary exhibitions.
  21. Assist with Museum publications.
  22. Serve as primary editor/proofreader for all printed/web material, including weekly newspaper column.
  23. Provide information about programs, exhibitions, and collections for placement on the Museum website.
  24. Assist Executive Director in development of annual calendar of events.



  1. Develop methods to give individuals incentive to attend museum programs in coordination with the Director of Marketing.
  2. Assist Director of Development with grant writing and reporting.
  3. Assist Executive Director with soliciting sponsors and underwriters for Museum exhibitions, educational programming, and publications.
  4. Assist Executive Director with identifying key prospects and developing individualized strategies to request major gifts.



  1. Oversee all aspects of changing and long-term exhibition development, layout/design, installation, scheduling, maintenance, and creation of related materials in coordination with the Executive Director, Collections Manager, and Director of Facilities.
  2. Oversee artifact and artwork selection for exhibitions in coordination with the Collections Manager and Guest Curators as appropriate.
  3. Develop and monitor the budgets for exhibitions.
  4. Research and develop storylines or themes for exhibitions, choosing items to support the storyline and writing text to accompany the exhibitions.
  5. Provide Marketing with information to publicize temporary, long-term and traveling exhibitions.
  6. Act as primary liaison between potential lenders and the Museum.
  7. Supervise volunteers working on curatorial projects.
  8. Identify and recommend incoming traveling exhibitions to the Executive Director.
  9. Oversee the development of all aspects of the Museum’s outgoing traveling exhibitions program in coordination with the Director of Facilities and Collections Manager.



  1. Responsible for soliciting acquisitions for the Museum collections.
  2. Recommend acceptance or refusal of objects offered for inclusion in collections.
  3. Recommend to the Executive Director approval or disapproval of out-going loan requests.
  4. Complete research for exhibitions, publications, or documentation of collections.
  5. Interview potential donors about provenance for art and artifacts.
  6. Perform research necessary to fully document and interpret the items contained in the Museum’s collections, including artists, mediums, historical relevance, and circumstances surrounding acquisition.
  7. Act as primary liaison between potential donors and the Museum.
  8. Prepare recommendations for Acquisition Committee on items under consideration for inclusion in the Museum collections or under consideration for de-accessioning.
  9. Research, catalogue and recommend accession/deaccession of art and artifact collection objects.
  10. Oversee the periodic evaluation of all long-term exhibitions, including regular maintenance, refurbishment, and replacement, when necessary, in coordination with the Director of Facilities and Collections Manager.
  11. Respond to inquiries about objects in the permanent collection.
  12. Oversee library acquisitions in coordination with the Executive Director.



  1. Work with Director of Education, Visitor Services Manager, and Executive Director to ensure that specialized training for docents is developed and implemented.
  2. In coordination with the Director of Education, develop interpretive themes for exhibitions and tours and conduct research regarding the permanent collection, changing exhibitions, and educational theory as they relate to the visitor experience for museum patrons.
  3. Prepare and deliver lectures concerning the visual arts and history to Museum audiences, in area schools, and at organization meetings.


Positions Requirements

  1. Education

Master's degree in education, history, art history, museum studies, or a closely related field. Ph.D. a plus.

  1. Work Experience

Five years of curatorial-related experience in an art or history museum and some record of publication or commensurate scholarly accomplishment is desired.

  1. Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
    1. Strong written and oral communication skills.
    2. High level of interpersonal skills.
    3. Self-directed and motivated.
    4. Ability to understand the educational field and curriculum-specific information.
    5. Ability to create age-appropriate learning experiences in the visual arts and history.
    6. Knowledge of educational theory, curriculum development, and educational evaluation.
    7. Experience with Microsoft Office.
    8. Experience with scheduling software, desktop publishing, and on-line content development preferred.
    9. Knowledge of collections management, exhibition design and installation, curatorial practices, registration methods, and research techniques a must.
    10. Excellent public speaking skills required.
  1. Certificates, Licenses, Registrations
    1. Valid driver’s license.
    2. Pass a criminal and credit background check.
    3. Membership in appropriate professional organizations a plus.
    4. State fingerprinting for in-school programs.
  1. Working Conditions

Office, museum gallery and classroom environment, standard hours generally within 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday with extended hours and weekends probable.  Must be able to walk and stand for up to two hours and have the ability to bend, stoop and reach.  Some daytime and overnight travel may be required.  The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate. Some lifting required.


Please send resumes to