Job Title: Collections Manager, Ethnographic Collections Date: August, 2017
Reports to: Director of Collections Employment Status: Full-Time
The San Diego Museum of Man (SDMoM)’s mission is to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience. We aim to hold a space for discourse on topics that matter and a place where we keep the fun in profundity. The Museum, housed in an architectural gem at the heart of Balboa Park, is open 362 days each year. Our staff demonstrates great flexibility, generosity, kindness, humor, excellent judgment, and attention to detail. We love our community, our visitors and our team! Commitment to a team approach is a must and a clear perspective is appreciated. If you like being around hard-working, welcoming, appreciative idealists with no shortage of opinions, please join us. Be part of making our community better by working in a museum that aims to be part of the solution.
Description: Collections Manager, Ethnographic Collections
At SDMoM, the Collections Manager, Ethnographic Collections is a key member of the collections team. This position supports priority collections department initiatives related to the organization and storage of the Museum’s ethnographic collections. Day-to-day tasks include cataloging, photography, and data entry for artifacts; maintaining artifact storage conditions and housing; monitoring environmental conditions; and supervising volunteers. This position reports to the Director of Collections and works closely with the Registrar and other SDMoM Collections Managers.
The Museum of Man is a dynamic and fast-paced work environment. The Collections Department is a collaborative environment that combines traditional approaches to collections management with alternative care practices as determined in collaboration with the indigenous communities whose cultural heritage we steward. Our team is working to pioneer a decolonized approach to collections stewardship that places an emphasis on cultural care and spiritual access to cultural heritage objects. Our ideal candidate is open to new and innovative approaches to stewardship and has an energy and passion for collections that carries them through their day-to-day responsibilities. The successful applicant is a creative thinker and problem solver prepared to take on new challenges and ready for an adventure. A sense of humor, willingness to try new things, and a flexible approach to collections management are vital to the success of this position.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Reporting to the Director of Collections, the Collections Manager, Ethnographic Collections performs the following:
- Coordinates with the Director of Collections on an aggressive plan to improve storage conditions for the Museum’s extensive collections. Current initiatives include an awarded two-year IMLS grant to catalog and rehouse the Museum’s ethnographic weapons collection onto newly installed mobile shelving units.
- Works towards improving the care and preservation of all objects on exhibition and in storage, including housing, basic cleaning and preventative conservation, and organizing and maintaining order in storage areas.
- Creates and maintains artifact records in the CollectionSpace database, and completes photography and digitization of objects, linking these digital surrogates to appropriate catalog records, and building connections between objects, photography collections, and manuscripts.
- Works extensively with the Director of Collections and Registrar to deaccession objects that no longer align with the museum's mission and collecting strategies, as well as aide in the proper disposal of deaccessioned artifacts.
- Consults with indigenous communities toward undoing the legacy of cultural colonialism by engaging with community members to set parameters around cultural and spiritual collections care by allowing communities to assert their right to control their own historic legacy, reinforce tribal sovereignty, and have authority in decision-making related to their material culture.
- Works with Director of Collections to ensure the Museum’s continued compliance with federal NAGPRA legislation, including handling research, documentation, and consultation for NAGPRA repatriation and disposition claims from within the Museum’s current ethnographic holdings. Reviews SDMoM object collections to determine potential NAGPRA eligibility through both physical inventory and a review of source files.
- Assists with the development and implementation of broad decolonization initiatives at SDMoM.
- Reviews requests for access to and facilitates the use of the collections for research and exhibition by exhibition team staff, education staff, programmatic staff, other institutions, and the general public.
- Assists the exhibitions department with the installation and de-installation of temporary exhibitions, as well as relevant maintenance on both temporary and permanent exhibitions as needed.
- Assists with the handling, packing, and inspection of all objects entering or leaving the museum.
- Manages student interns as they assist with collections inventory and storage improvement initiatives, as well as day-to-day activities within the department.
- Monitors environmental conditions in collections storage and exhibition areas.
- Other duties and projects as assigned.
Experience, Education, or Skills Required:
- Master's degree in Museum Studies, Anthropology, or a related field with three to five years of professional experience in a museum collection.
- Demonstrated understanding of collections management principles including archival housing methods, preventative conservation, object cataloging standards, environmental monitoring, and pest control.
- Strong writing, interpersonal, and communications skills including the ability to work effectively with individuals inside and outside the department, including Trustees, donors, and Native American tribal representatives and cultural heritage officers.
- Experience with or an eager willingness to learn NAGPRA repatriation policies and procedures.
- Experience in assisting with complex, sensitive, or confidential projects including a demonstrated ability to listen and deal empathetically with a wide range of people and groups.
- Exceptional organizational skills with the ability to multi-task, set priorities, and meet deadlines.
- Proficient technology skills, including word processing, Excel, database management, collections management, and reporting programs.
- Willingness to work on a team and embrace shifts in priorities on a regular basis.
- Excellent proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
How to Apply:
The San Diego Museum of Man is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace. Please send a cover letter and resume to Recruiting@museumofman.org with “Collections Manager, Ethnographic Collections” and your first initial and last name in the subject line. Principals only, no phone calls please!