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Curatorial Assistant, African Art & European Arts

Where the Power of Art Engages the Spirit of Community
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art invites all people to explore the art in its care, and through its vast collections, the depths, and complexities of human experiences.
We strive to create a sense of belonging, where staff and volunteers can do meaningful work connecting people to art. We create an informed, invested group of staff and volunteers through shared values and open, direct, and respectful communication. We embrace IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Sustainability) in every aspect of our ideals and aspirations, as we believe these values to be paramount to success.
Each staff member and volunteer will embody the institution’s commitments and agrees to exhibit behaviors that align with them. We hold one another to these expectations so that, together, we may know, own, energize and sustain our culture and the institution for generations to come.
Supporting two distinct collection areas, the Curatorial Assistant, African Art and European Arts is responsible for a variety of administrative, research, and support tasks related to both daily and long-range departmental and institutional operations for two collecting areas of the Museum. The Curatorial Assistant provides support to the Curators and curatorial projects initiated within the departments and those assigned to the departments, conducts collection-based and new acquisition research, assists with all facets of exhibition preparation and implementation; liaises and collaborates with constituents both internal and external.
  1. Departmental Administration and Accounting – Oversee the maintenance of all department files and records including but not limited to initiating and managing art movement and gallery installation forms, and loan files; track and assist in the preparation of check requests, budgets, reports, and annual documents; compile and organize data and statistics for reports.
  2. Schedule and Travel Management – Maintain and manage the daily appointments and travel schedule for the curators’ schedules; make travel arrangements as requested; process travel expense reports and check requests.
  3. Department Liaison – Act as the departments’ liaison within the museum and with the public by: managing inbound and outbound communications and correspondence via telephone and email representing the department and the museum in a professional, courteous, and efficient manner.
  4. Patrons and Art-World Colleagues – Develop and maintain knowledge of the departments’ donors and patrons as well as colleagues at peer institutions and dealers; maintain and update departments’ database of patrons and contacts.
  5. Communication: In tandem with the Curator(s) work with Education, Development, and Marketing & Communications staff to prepare and edit materials to interpret, promote, and publicize exhibitions, collections, installations, and related public programs. Assists with gathering and writing exhibition- and collection-related information pertinent to grant applications, final reports, and other institutional needs.
  6. Acquisition Support – Assist in all aspects of acquisition consideration and processing, including organization of information and correspondence; communication with donors and sellers; tracking schedules and deadlines; conducting research on provenance, exhibition, and published references; and assisting with the preparation of required paperwork.
  7. Research Support - Assist in research related to the collection, potential acquisitions, and exhibitions, including provenance research and label writing. Responsible for TMS data entry.
  8. Exhibition Support – Assist in all aspects of exhibition organization, including creating checklists; attending and taking notes at exhibition meetings; tracking schedules and deadlines; and reviewing marketing, design, registration, preparation and education-related components as necessary. With support from the Curator(s), opportunity to generate focus exhibitions.
  9. Programming – Work with the Public Programming department to plan and coordinate public programs related to exhibitions and collections, as requested. Assists with coordination of logistical needs for artist/curator visits including arranging honoraria, travel, lodging, meals, and any event-related logistics. Assists with hosting visiting artists/curators, including itineraries, transportation, and entertainment.
  10. Staff Oversight – Assist with the training and supervision of the activity and development of Fellows/interns and project assistants as appropriate.
  11. General Support – Provide backup, as needed, for Assistant to the Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs; or other administrative colleagues, as needed.
  12. Other – Complete all other duties as assigned or requested for the general support of the departments and the institution.
  • B.A, Degree in Art History or equivalent combination of education and experience; M.A. preferred.
  • Two – Five years’ experience working in a curatorial or similar art world environment preferred.
  • Knowledge and experience in standard museums and with general curatorial practices and understanding how the art world (of art institutions, galleries, artists, curators, auction houses) operates.
Core Capabilities
  • Knowledge and experience in standard museums and curatorial practices and understanding how the art world (of art institutions, galleries, artists, curators, auction houses) operates.
  • Must be accurate, efficient, well-organized, and detail-oriented with the ability to work independently.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications, grammar and spelling skills
  • Proven excellent email and telephone skills and ability to interact with Museum staff and general public in a polite and courteous manner.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office programs, especially Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel.
  • Proficient in remote networking programs, such as Teams, Zoom, and Skype
  • The ability to work beyond office hours to meet project deadlines or assist with occasional events.
Job Family
African Art and European Arts
Salary Grade
Starting Salary Range
Grade 6
$52,200 - 58,770 (Commensurate with experience)
FLSA Classification
Working Conditions
While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to communicate verbally and in writing; visually observe and assess; traverse from one location to another; sit at a desk for extended periods of time; and perform repetitive movement of hands and fingers – typing and/or writing. The employee may occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. 
This position is challenged by the variety of responsibilities to the curators, internal staff, and public. A challenge of this position is the high level of activity, prioritizing tasks, time management, and organization.  The Curatorial Assistant is accountable for knowledge of every aspect of various projects within the department and may be involved in decision making surrounding the projects. The position provides opportunities for further engagement with the Museum, its operations, and staff, as well as a deeper knowledge/understanding of the curatorial field. The position also provides opportunities to develop curatorial skills such as object-based research, label writing, and small-scale exhibition development, as well as management skills through supervision of interns and assistance with mentoring Fellows. An additional challenge is time management to ensure that two active collecting departments are equally served.
Travel Expectations
0–5% of Travel Required
The Nelson-Atkins is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided based on qualifications, merit, and business need.
For individuals with disabilities who would like to request accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Department.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art conducts pre-employment background checks as part of our selection process.

Job Type: Full Time

Salary Range: $50,000 - 74,999