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Collections Research Curator-- University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library and Utah Museum of Fine Arts

posted Jan 30, 2018, 4:37 AM by Lars Hagelin
Proposed Faculty Rank: Research Assistant Librarian (Career-Line Faculty)
Working Title: Collections Research Curator
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
New Position to Begin: July 1, 2018

Posting Link:

The J. Willard Marriott Library (Marriott Library) and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) seek a Collections Research Curator to participate in a $750,000, four-year Andrew W. Mellon-funded grant project to develop a partnership between the two institutions. This career-line faculty position will work closely with the simultaneously-hired Art and Archives Metadata Librarian in building a substantive and collaborative working relationship to foster and enhance each organization’s teaching, learning, and research missions.

With extensive collections of art works, archival documents, antiquarian and modern published materials, and digital media related to land art, landscape, and the American West, the UMFA and the Marriott Library house important scholarly resources for the study of the West, from indigenous histories to Land art of the 1960s and ‘70s to current land rights issues.

The Collections Research Curator will work to enhance simultaneous discovery of UMFA and Marriott Library collections through newly-integrated museum and library collection databases, increasing access to interdisciplinary materials about the western landscape, and, more broadly, the American experience. This faculty member will study relevant objects at the UMFA, research complementary materials at the Marriott Library, build comprehensive curatorial files, explore conceptual connections between the collections, and assist student and faculty learning and teaching through access to objects and materials. The Curator will participate in a newly-established faculty seed grant program, facilitate collections-based interdisciplinary research and engagement projects, and coordinate with the Mellon Initiative Steering Committee to set and implement priorities. This position will require traditional museum curatorial and research skills as well as an ability to work collaboratively across library and archival collections to identify, research, and organize materials for the benefit of students, faculty, and scholars.

Embedded at the UMFA, the position will report to the the Marriott Library’s Assistant Director for Special Collections and the UMFA’s Senior Curator. Participation on the Steering Committee will allow the Curator to develop deep collaboration between the Marriott Library and the UMFA and to facilitate the integration of both collections into campus curricula, exhibitions, and programs. The Collections Research Curator will work closely with the jointly-appointed Art and Archives Metadata Librarian and the UMFA’s Curator of European, American, and Regional Art on these activities to disseminate new knowledge and support scholarship, teaching, and learning.

Primary Duties:
  • Work collaboratively with museum and library staff and faculty to develop a phased plan to conduct research on collections and holdings at both the UMFA and the Marriott Library. 
  • Research metadata for objects in both the Marriott Library and UMFA, in accordance with established library and museum standards. 
  • Communicate with department heads in Special Collections and UMFA, with collection donors and creators, and with subject experts to identify additional contextual information around the collection materials. 
  • Participate on the Mellon Initiative Steering Committee to identify collections with strong potential research value, to articulate interdisciplinary research priorities, and to assist in the selection of and dissemination of faculty grants. 
  • Collaborate with University of Utah colleagues to curate physical and digital exhibits, create digital learning objects to connect relevant resources, and develop engagement activities to share learning and teaching derived from the initiative. Activities could include but are not limited to symposia, lectures, workshops, and curriculum development. 
  • Teach, train, and collaborate with scholars who are engaged in research associated with the initiative and the Digital Matters Lab. Lecture on and lead tours of collections and exhibitions both at the Museum and Library and work collaboratively with faculty to help them integrate collections into their research and teaching. 
  • Develop and implement an assessment plan of not only research and engagement activities but also of institutional change brought about by the collaboration between the museum and the library, particularly the long term future of the initiative and possible structural changes within the collaborating institutions. 
Required Qualifications:
  • MA in art history, museum studies, visual studies, or a comparable discipline, with one to two years of curatorial and collections research experience in a museum, library, archive, or related setting, or equivalent combination; 
  • Superior written and oral communication skills and strong interpersonal skills; 
  • Experience in university-level teaching, public speaking, and public programming; 
  • Demonstrated proficiency and capability with information technology systems in the context of an academic library; 
  • Knowledge of library or museum documentation and discovery systems and interfaces; 
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse educational environment and workplace, and ability to work with a diverse student and faculty population; 
  • Ability to make decisions independently and work with initiative within the framework of UMFA and Library policies and goals; 
  • Ability to work effectively in cooperation with colleagues in a service-oriented, collaborative environment; 
  • Capacity to thrive in the fast-paced, future-oriented environment of a research institution and to respond effectively to changing needs and priorities, showing agility and flexibility; 
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check, as required by Utah state law ( 
Preferred Qualifications:
  • PhD in art history/visual studies specializing in American art with a record of scholarly research and publications; 
  • Subject knowledge in American History, Geography, Anthropology, Ethnography, Environmental Humanities, and/or English; 
  • A professional, scholarly, or research background that enables an interdisciplinary vantage point of library and museum collections; 
  • A work history in metadata, information architecture, and content management systems; 
  • Successful history of writing and implementing grant-funded work; 
  • Reading, writing, or speaking skills in a second language. 
Compensation: $53,000 annually, plus excellent benefits including a 14.2% retirement contribution, medical and dental coverage, and paid sick and vacation time.

The University of Utah embraces diversity and recognizes our responsibility to foster an open, welcoming environment where students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds can collaboratively learn, work and serve. We value the academic, social, and broader community benefits that arise from a diverse campus and are committed to equity, inclusion and accountability. Diversity enriches our university community and is a driving force instrumental to our institutional success and fulfillment of the university’s mission. We commit to engaging in an ongoing dialogue to thoughtfully respond to the changing realities of our increasingly interconnected world. We will continually strive to work together to address the challenges of the future in a way that removes barriers to success and promotes a culture of inclusivity, compassion and mutual respect. The competencies gained through diverse experiences across campus prepare all of our students, staff and faculty to thrive personally and professionally in a global society.

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