Boston Athenaeum

10 1/2 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108

Date Posted:
April 25, 2019

Eastern Massachusetts



Associate Curator and Assistant Curator


The Boston Athenæum seeks an Associate Curator and an Assistant Curator to join a dynamic team with shared curatorial responsibility for its world-class collections of prints and graphic arts, photographs, drawings, paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, rare books, manuscripts, maps, and ephemera. Responsibilities include curating exhibitions, building the collections by gift and purchase, promoting the collections through research, teaching, publication, and other forms of outreach, and assisting with the interpretation and presentation of the Athenæum’s landmark historic building. Reporting to the head of Special Collections, the curators will join the Athenæum at a moment of revitalization for Special Collections as a re-energized curatorial team enters a new phase of growth and expansion, including diversity and inclusion initiatives and the renovation of spaces to enhance access to the Athenæum’s rich historic collections. The positions are full-time with excellent benefits and competitive salaries.


  • Shares curatorial responsibility for the Athenæum’s Special Collections with the other members of the curatorial team.
  • Conceptualizes and implements exhibitions, installations, and displays of the Athenæum’s collections to appeal to diverse audiences, both on-site and digitally.
  • Conducts scholarly research on the Athenæum’s Special Collections, participating in its program of exhibition catalogs and other publications, with the goal of producing peer-reviewed, nationally disseminated publications of record.
  • Contributes meaningfully to the Athenæum’s intellectual life by attending, participating in, and organizing presentations, lectures, and other public programs.
  • Participates in the selection, research, and proposal of acquisitions by gift and purchase.
  • Facilitates and supports research on the collections by members and outside researchers.
  • Works closely with colleagues to enhance discoverability and access, and on the care and conservation of special collections.
  • Participates in evaluating and proposing incoming and outgoing loan requests.
  • Assists in fundraising, donor cultivation, and stewardship.
  • Collaborates with colleagues in Cataloging, Conservation, Digital Programs, Reference, Education, Development, and Events.
  • Develops partnerships with colleagues at regional and national peer institutions.
  • Supervises volunteers and graduate and undergraduate interns; participates in docent training.
  • Perform related duties as assigned.

  • Master’s degree in museum studies, art history, material culture studies, American studies, book history, or other relevant fields required; Ph.D. strongly preferred.
  • Two years minimum relevant experience for appointment as Assistant Curator; five years minimum experience for appointment as Associate Curator.
  • Demonstrated evidence of interdisciplinary interests. Field expertise that will receive first consideration includes: American art history; American history; American print culture; historical prints; history of photography; nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American printmaking, painting, and sculpture; nineteenth-century American studies; contemporary printmaking and book arts.
  • Rising national reputation and participation in relevant professional associations.
  • Active record of scholarly publication and presentations.
  • A commitment to material culture studies and object-based learning.
  • Superb writing skills and excellent verbal communication skills. Able to communicate and work effectively with a diverse population of scholars, Athenæum members, donors, and visitors.
  • Superior working knowledge of Microsoft Office and Google G Suite; familiarity with collections management systems such as The Museum System (TMS).
  • Full-hearted commitment to developing collaborative, interdisciplinary projects engaging the full spectrum of Special Collections materials.
  • Experience in developing exhibitions, installations, and related programs is preferred.
  • Experience working with contemporary artists on installations, commissioned artwork, symposia, or similar activities is a plus.
  • Occasional lifting of up to 40 lbs.
  • A creative problem-solver who is adaptable and flexible.
  • Highly organized, articulate, and able to meet deadlines while balancing multiple projects.
  • Ability to exercise good judgment, confidentiality, and discretion.
  • Commitment to fostering a workplace culture of teamwork, diversity, and inclusion.
How To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter to, expressing interest and outlining relevant experience; curriculum vitae; writing sample, preferably published and no more than 20 pages in length, demonstrating versatility in communicating with both scholarly and popular audiences; and the names and contact information of two professional references. Appointments will be made commensurate with education and experience. The two searches will be conducted simultaneously. Candidates should indicate the position for which they are applying.

The Boston Athenæum is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage individuals of diverse backgrounds to apply and are committed to hiring individuals who value a diverse and inclusive work environment. The Boston Athenæum is also committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Manager, Hannah Ovaska, at 617-720-7622 or

Apply by:
June 20, 2019
About this Organization:

Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is located at 10½ Beacon Street on Beacon Hill. A distinguished membership library and cultural institution with a long history at the center of intellectual life in Boston, the Athenæum hosts events nearly every week of the year and supports a dynamic exhibition program. It desires to be a place that is welcoming to all, a place that nurtures a sense of wonder and delight in sharing the joy of physical books, maps, prints, and other works of art, and a place that fosters community and civil discourse as members and guests engage in face-to-face interactions.

The Athenæum’s collections are housed within a National Historic Landmark that is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The reading rooms—crowned by the silent, barrel-vaulted fifth floor—have served as a haven and inspiration to countless writers and researchers. The library maintains over 600,000 volumes with strengths in history, biography, and literature, as well as fine and decorative arts. Notable holdings include primary materials on the American Civil War; the largest portion of President George Washington's library from Mount Vernon; a first edition copy of Audubon's The Birds of America; a 1799 set of Goya's Los caprichos; one of the most extensive collections of contemporary artists' books in the United States; and numerous artworks, including portraits of notable Americans such as Hannah Adams, John Marshall, and Alexander Hamilton, and by artists such as Gilbert Stuart, John Singer Sargent, Allan Rohan Crite, and Polly Thayer Starr. Membership is open to all, and visitors are warmly welcomed Tuesdays through Saturdays.