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Curator of Collections/ The Customs House

06/29/2017 2:37 PM | Tennessee Association Of Museums (Administrator)

Curator of Collections Search

Location: Clarksville, Tennessee

Position Title: Curator of Collections

Company Name: Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

Job Function: Curator

Job Type: Full-Time

Job Duration: Indefinite

Minimum Education: B.A, M.A. preferred

Minimum Experience: 3-5 years

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Museum, doing business as the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center (CHM&CC), opened to the public in 1984 in the historic 1898 Federal Building which originally served as Clarksville, Tennessee’s Post Office and Customs House. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and the building’s unusual architecture has since earned the reputation of being one of the most photographed structures in the state. In 1996, an addition was added to the historic structure, increasing the facility to approximately 50,000 square feet, making it the second largest general interest museum in Tennessee. The Museum operates as a recognized nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) U.S. organization governed by a Board of Trustees. The Museum is currently operated by a professional staff of twelve full-time and five part-time employees and is open to the public six days a week.

The CHM&CC’s mission is to collect, preserve and interpret historical, artistic, and scientific material; its vision is to expose the widest audience possible to the creativity and ingenuity of the human spirit through art, science, and history within the context of cultural diversity. Its collection of approximately 21,000 objects primarily focuses on materials related to Clarksville, Montgomery County, its people, and their stories. In addition to its long-term and interactive exhibits, the Museum annually mounts approximately thirty changing exhibitions, including traveling exhibitions or internally curated ones drawn from loans and/or objects from the permanent collection. In addition, CHM&CC offers extensive educational programming for all ages.

Clarksville, Tennessee, the county seat of Montgomery County, has a population of approximately 150,000, and is the fifth largest city in the state. It is located 50 miles northwest of Nashville. The community offers a low cost of living and no state income tax.

The Opportunity

The Curator of Collections oversees the management, care, safeguard, development, research, and public presentation of the Museum’s collections and related archival materials. S/he is an integral member of the team who mobilizes the Museum’s mission. The Curator of Collections primarily works independently but may occasionally achieve her/his goals and objectives with the assistance of other staff members, interns, and/or volunteers. S/he reports to the Executive Director.

Essential Functions

1. Oversee the care, preservation, documentation, interpretation, security, and reproduction of collections and related archival materials;

2. Create and maintain safe, secure, and orderly systems for housing, storing, tracking, and locating collections according to best museum practices and available resources;

3. Administrate collections management software and provide training to other staff members, interns, and/or volunteers when warranted;

4. Maintain a working knowledge of and familiarity with the scope of the collection;

5. Conduct periodic inventories of collections;

6. Monitor environmental conditions for exhibited and/or stored materials;

7. Assist with developing a disaster preparedness plan in relation to collections;

8. Conduct object-specific and general research related to the collections and interpret and communicate information in various formats to a broad range of constituents;

9. Serve as point person with donors and members of the Collections Committee, and coordinate and process all aspects of donated acquisitions in a timely manner;

10. Field public inquiries regarding collections and requests to view objects not on exhibit;

11. Manage collection development and growth, including identifying specific needs and making recommendations for acquisitions in accordance with the organizational mission and Collections Management Policy;

12. Coordinate incoming and outgoing loans, including associated forms and reports, and assist with unpacking, packing, and handling objects in accordance with best museum practices;

13. Prepare collection objects for exhibition;

14. Develop strategies for using the collections as a resource for external research and scholarship;

15. Develop an annual collections budget in consultation with the Executive Director and Finance Manager;

16. Work as a team member with other staff to develop, create, maintain, and evaluate long-term, temporary, and traveling exhibitions that utilize collection objects and research;

17. Work as a team member to plan, execute and evaluate educational programming and outreach efforts related to the collections;

18. Serve as a Museum ambassador before professional museum organizations, funding agencies, businesses, service clubs, government agencies, and the general public;

19. Network with representatives from other museums and/or organizations related to the Museum’s mission;

20. Assist other staff on projects as needed and when time allows;

21. Complete other duties, responsibilities, and activities assigned by the Executive Director.


1. Minimum of a B.A. degree, M.A. preferred, in Museum Studies, Public or Applied History, Material Culture, Art, or related field.;

2. Three to five years of demonstrable experience with collections management, curatorial responsibilities, and museum exhibition experience preferred;

3. Experience with collections management software, preferably PastPerfect;

4. Solid working knowledge of the preservation, restoration, exhibition, packing, transportation and insuring of objects;

5. Ability to manage interns and/or volunteers;

6. Excellent verbal and writing skills;

7. Able to work at a desk and utilize a computer for extended periods of time;

8. Able to stand for prolonged periods, walk, bend, climb, reach, and lift/move objects up to 40 pounds;

9. Able to handle small tools;

10. Good eye/hand coordination.


Benefits include vacation, paid holidays, sick leave, and health/vision/dental insurance.

Procedure for Application

Applicants should electronically submit a current CV, letter of application stating interest in the position and related experience, salary requirements, and the names of three professional references. Submit applications to jim@customshousemuseum.org with the subject line: Curator of Collections Search.

PO Box 330984   Nashville, TN 37203   (615) 495-3354   tnmuseums@gmail.com

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