HomeNewsJob Opportunity: Curator for the Visual Arts

Job Opportunity: Curator for the Visual Arts

9 November 2022 - 10:44am by Melissa Grafe

Join the Historical Library team as our new Curator for the Visual Arts, Medical Library! The Curator for the Visual Arts, Medical Library develops, interprets, and supports a robust collection of prints, posters, drawings, photography, and other visual materials. Primary responsibilities include teaching, collection development and stewardship, and research support. Reporting to the Head of the Medical Historical Library, this position helps lead the exhibition program, which includes several physical spaces and online exhibitions. The curator will also assist in the interpretation of the Cushing Center, home of the Cushing Tumor Registry, a museum space and collection with over 10,000 glass plate negatives and other types of photography.

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Essential Duties

1. Support Teaching and Research: The curator will foster the use of the collection by Yale faculty, students, as well as local, national, and international researchers. The curator is expected to forge strong associations with Yale faculty to encourage the use of the collections in Yale-related teaching and research. The curator will also present materials to classes and to other groups who visit the library, collaborate with colleagues to respond to general reference and instruction requests, and participate in the library’s fellowship selection committee.

2. Activate and Interpret the Collections: The curator is responsible for interpreting the holdings of the collection for both the medical community and the broader public. The curator will help lead the Library’s exhibition program; conceive and organize exhibitions; collaborate with faculty, students, and external scholars to organize programming; and write and edit various publications about the collection. The curator may be called upon to issue news releases, grant interviews, conduct tours, and make presentations.

3. Collection Development: Collection development responsibilities encompass active research and selection of materials across a broad range of visual formats, including prints, posters, drawings, photographs, and digital media; dealer and donor relations, including establishing fair price and market value, understanding the total cost of acquisition, drafting deeds of gift and purchase agreements, and keeping abreast of evolving legal and ethical considerations for provenance, international export guidelines, intellectual property rights, privacy, and respectful stewardship of cultural heritage materials.

4. Ongoing Collection Stewardship: The curator collaborates with colleagues in other units of the Library as well as with colleagues Yale’s cultural heritage institutions to ensure that the collections are discoverable, accurately and appropriately described, and well preserved.

5. Collaboration and Collegiality: The curator is expected to function in a collegial fashion as part of a larger team of curators and librarians sustaining a broad program of collection development, scholarly and educational outreach, description, digitization, preservation, and research in the humanities. 

6. Service to the Department, University, and Profession: In addition to activities relating directly to Medical Historical Library, the curator participates in library projects, committees, policy decisions and strategic planning and may be assigned special projects relating to the overall needs of the library. The curator is also expected to participate actively in professional associations, foundations, and government agencies as appropriate.

Required Education and Experience

A masters degree and course of study in history, art history, or equivalent, and a commitment to ongoing intellectual and professional growth beyond the area of initial specialization. At least 2 years of professional experience in a related field, including but not limited to higher education, museums, foundations, or libraries.

Required Skills and Abilities:

  • The candidate should possess an understanding of the history of medicine or related fields.
  • Superb analytical, creative, and communication skills in both writing and public speaking. This may be demonstrated through teaching, publications, exhibitions, public programming, or collaborative projects.
  • Demonstrated track record of excellence in teaching. Exceptional classroom demeanor and a commitment to higher education and community outreach, including the ability to engage with diverse audiences (age, gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, profession, sexual orientation, etc.).
  • Reading knowledge of at least one language beyond English.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal and team collaboration skills

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills:

Ph.D. in a related field. Experience with exhibition planning/implementation; donor relations; commercial art trade; awareness of legal/ethical issues surrounding cultural heritage materials. Knowledge of archival theory, practice, technologies, and born digital material. Experience with collections in archives, library, museum, or related. Proficiency using discovery & documentation systems.

Physical Requirements

Ability to lift materials up to 40 lbs and push heavy book trucks.