Museum Search & Reference

45 Hardy Road
Londonderry, NH 03053


Date Posted:
April 18, 2023

Eastern Massachusetts



Curator of Chinese Art & Culture



PEM is committed to generating fresh interpretations and new appreciation for historic and contemporary Chinese art and cultural expressions, including those from diverse diasporic communities. The museum seeks a creative and innovative curator with specific experience working with Chinese vernacular art, architecture, and history, and a strong commitment to PEM’s forward-thinking interpretation and programming goals.

The Curator of Chinese Art and Culture will be an innovative storyteller who will bring bold, imaginative thinking to PEM’s cross-departmental programs and exhibitions, and will be able to confidently engage diverse audiences with exhibitions and programs that compel new thinking about human creativity, material culture, social history and the contemporary relevance of historical objects. The curator will be an enterprising team player with an exploratory mind who, in addition to re-thinking the interpretive approach and design of PEM’s Yin Yu Tang gallery, will also organize collections-based and traveling exhibitions and participate in a robust set of programs, organized collaboratively with staff in other departments. Recent PEM-generated Chinese exhibitions includeThe Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City andEmpresses of China’s Forbidden City, both organized with the Palace Museum, Beijing, andPower and Perspective: Early Photography in China.

The curator will have the opportunity to build the collection through a combination of the Museum’s acquisition funds, support from a dedicated Visiting Committee, and targeted fundraising. The successful candidate will partner with the development staff in stewarding the Visiting Committee, donors, collectors and supporters of acquisitions, and will play a significant role in helping to raise funds for exhibitions, special projects, publications, and broader Museum initiatives. The Museum provides travel funds to support research and networking, as well as funds for professional memberships and development.

PEM’s culture is collaborative, and curators regularly work across collections and departments, celebrating intersections and discovery, to create immersive, out-of-the-box visitor experiences. The curator will work closely with the entire PEM curatorial team, particularly the Curators of Maritime Art and History, Photography, and Asian Export Art, and across all museum departments, but specifically with Exhibition Planning and Design, Learning and Civic Engagement, Collection Services, and Marketing and Communications, to ensure that the program achieves the highest professional standards of creativity, innovation, quality, relevance and visitor engagement.



  • Lead the project team to develop and realize an innovative new interpretive gallery and associated programming for Yin Yu Tang
  • Organize exhibitions and collection installations that consistently:
    • Reflect and advance trends in the field
    • Deliver original, dynamic, and interdisciplinary concepts that create broadly appealing experiences
    • Explore connections between the historical and the contemporary
    • Enhance PEM’s reputation, patronage, and relationships with other museums and cultural and community partners
    • Attract positive critical attention                                                                                                                                       
  • Build and sustain partnerships with peers and other museums to:
    • Secure or co-organize traveling exhibitions that match the above profile
    • Oversee the installation, production, and generate programming for incoming traveling exhibitions
    • Ensure that PEM has a slate of quality exhibition options from which to choose to create a balanced, highly appealing, impactful and cost-effective exhibition program
    • Place PEM exhibitions in strategic venues
  • Collaborate with relevant departments to develop public and patron programs that appeal broadly to audiences regionally, nationally, internationally and online


  • Cultivate and secure direct support for museum-wide initiatives and specific projects on an annual basis from individuals, patron groups such as Visiting Committees, foundations, corporations, and government agencies
  • Collaborate with other curators, executive leadership, development staff, and trustees to accomplish fundraising goals

The Collection & Acquisitions:

· Ensure the ability of the collection to support PEM strategic goals far into the future

  • Develop collecting goals and an action plan that address a five-year horizon; identify and justify specific key areas and examples; estimate overall value or costs associated with goals; identify ways to secure new sources of support for acquisitions, and enhance the Visiting Committee’s membership, activities, support and understanding of the museum’s acquisition goals
  • Secure works of superlative quality to strengthen the museum’s ability to display and interpret the collection, attract visitors and patrons, and make strategic loans to other museums’ exhibitions

· Promote the collection as an intellectual, learning, and research resource for the benefit of the public

· Strategically add works to the collection to expand its scope and build on existing strengths

· PEM holds as one of its core values the commitment to stewarding its collection for current and future generations of people in Massachusetts, the United States, and the world. PEM is committed to the ideals of diversity, equity, inclusion and access, and this curator must steward and expand a collection that represents these values

· Welcome audiences of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual

orientations and gender identifications to the museum by collecting and acquiring works that reflect and represent these diverse constituencies

· Periodically reassess collecting priorities

· Ensure appropriate access to the collection and related information for PEM staff, the museum community, scholars, collectors, and the public, including the differently abled and those with sensory sensitivities

· Provide adequate and expansive documentation of the collection

Leadership and Collaboration:

  • Create new approaches, build awareness and support for Chinese art and culture at PEM
  • Identify and implement strategies for interdisciplinary and intra-collection experiences and connections between the historical and contemporary
  • Write and lecture for PEM and for strategic high-profile and peer-review outlets in ways that recognize both the museum and the curator as leaders in the field
  • Lead or serve on teams and task forces to plan and implement specific projects and museum-wide initiatives that align with PEM’s strategic planning
  • Collaborate with the Curatorial Team and across the museum, especially with Exhibition Planning and Design, Learning and Civic Engagement, Collection Services, Development, and Marketing and Communications, on a variety of projects
  • Develop and administer realistic budgets, work plans, and schedules, and practice accountability



  • 7 years or more of curatorial practice or comparable experience, preferably in a museum or other cultural institution
  • MA required; PhD degree in Art History or related Humanities preferred
  • Fluency in English and Chinese, specifically written, spoken, and reading fluency in both languages

  • Essential Experience and Abilities
  • Well-developed connoisseurship and recognized expertise in Chinese art, architecture, history and material culture

    · A robust, well-developed professional network of peers in the field

    • Enthusiasm for new forms of engagement in curatorial practice and multidisciplinary thinking
    • Resourcefulness and nimbleness; ability to work independently, self-direct, and adjust to changing priorities
    • Passion for collaboration and team-oriented work style, ability to build team spirit
    • A good listener, will recognize and reward the contribution of others

    · Enthusiasm and desire to engage with the community of Salem and the greater Metro-Boston area

    • Excellent writing, research, speaking, and interpersonal communication skills
    • Time management and multitasking skills
    • Initiative in identifying and fulfilling needs and implementing new administrative systems
How To Apply:

Nominations and inquiries welcome. To apply email cover letter, résumé and the names of 3 references with contact information byJune 9, 2023. Address applications to Connie Rosemont, Senior Search Consultant at are encouraged to apply early as candidates will be considered on a rolling basis. References will not be contacted without prior authorization. Nominations are welcome. For full details,

The Peabody Essex Museum is committed to diversity among its employees and encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

· The hiring salary for the position is $90,000-$120,000, dependent on experience

· Includes comprehensive benefits package

Apply by:
June 09, 2023
$90,000 / Per year
About this Organization:
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