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Haub Curator of Western American Art

Tacoma Art Museum seeks a dynamic, knowledgeable and collegial individual to help create, articulate and implement a vision for the newly acquired Haub Collection of Western American art spanning from the 1820s to today. The position offers an extraordinary opportunity to shape a new collecting and educational focus for the museum and community.

Job Description

The Curator of Western American Art is responsible for the research, publications, exhibitions, and acquisitions focused on the new promised gift of 280 works in the Haub Collection of Western Art and related Western collections. The position also manages any related staff assistants, interns, or volunteers. This position’s primary focus in the first 18 months will be planning and preparation for the opening of the museum’s new 10,000 square foot Haub Galleries and related exhibitions, publications, and programs.

The Curator focuses on the research, development, and presentation of the permanent collection of Western art including collection-based exhibitions and on the planning, development and presentation of incoming or outgoing international and national touring special exhibitions as well as scholarly publications related to Western American art. 

Additional responsibilities include working with the education department to develop interpretive programming related to the collection and assisting development staff with related fundraising. Other duties involve initiating and maintaining sustainable partnerships with related arts organizations and strengthening relationships with Tacoma Art Museum trustees and patrons, as well as with regional and national Western art collectors and specialists.

This position reports to the Director with additional work direction provided by the Director of Curatorial Administration.


  • Research, publications, exhibitions, and collection development focused on the Haub Collection of Western Art and related works in the broader museum collection.
  • In conjunction with the Education Department, develop innovative and engaging interpretive strategies for the diverse audiences of Tacoma Art Museum.
  • Management of related staff, including annual Haub Fellows, interns, and volunteers. This may include selection and hiring of staff, conducting performance reviews, and tracking individual projects with the support of the Director of Curatorial Administration.
  • Creating and monitoring related budgets in support of the Director of Curatorial Administration.

Exhibitions and Publications

  • Research, plan, develop, and present regional, national, and international touring special exhibitions drawn from or related to the Haub Collection of Western Art, including two annual small to mid-sized collection-based exhibitions in one of the galleries in the Haub Wing.
  • Attract and oversee traveling exhibitions related to the Haub Collection of Western Art.
  • Plan, develop, and present scholarly publications (both print and on-line) on Western art.
  • Assist as needed with exhibition installation and deinstallation.


  • In collaboration with the Director of Curatorial Administration and Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions, work with collectors, patrons, artists, and others to bring in gifts of art for the Western permanent collection.
  • Review accessions, deaccessions and offered gifts of art with the Director, Director of Curatorial Administration, and Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions; present these to the Collection Committee; and report on declined gifts to the Collection Committee.
  • Monitor and periodically refresh long-term installations in the Haub Collection galleries.
  • Along with the Registrar, ensure the monitoring of environmental conditions and collection care.
  • Enhance expertise in Western art across all media by staying current in the field.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Curatorial Administration, develop, monitor, and annually review the Ten Year Collection Plan and other collection policy documents related to the Western art collection.
  • Regularly assess the Western art collection for fit and collection care needs for review by the Collection Committee.
  • Answer inquiries about the Western art collection from staff and the general public.
  • Supervise interns and volunteers as needed.


  • Lead research about the Western art collection.
  • Engage outside experts in the interpretation of the collection.
  • Oversee selection of and supervise the Haub Fellows and their collection or exhibition projects.
  • Develop interpretative programming on Western art in collaboration with the Education staff.    


  • Assist in fundraising for the Western art collection and associated exhibitions and programs with the Development staff, particularly through grant writing and reporting.
  • Initiate and maintain sustainable partnerships with other arts and related academic organizations.
  • Strengthen relationships with trustees, patrons, living artists, collectors, dealers, and other Western art specialists.


  • Develop interpretive programming related to the Western art collection in collaboration with the Education staff.
  • Participate in lectures, panel discussions, and other presentations at professional conferences and other public venues.
  • Serve on juries and committees for other Western related arts organizations with the Director’s approval.


  • Participate in patron events and trips, and member events and programs.
  • Help create and maintain a list of leading scholars, collectors, and others in Western art.
  • Attend gallery and exhibition openings, lectures, and other programs at regional arts organizations as a representative of the museum.
  • Support the Director of Curatorial Administration and Director of Development in the development, programming, and stewarding of a future collector circle group.

Special Projects            

  • Prepare for opening of the new galleries for the Western collection in Spring 2014, including participating in final gallery design and planning and preparation for exhibitions, installation, and related programming.
  • Spearhead the creation of a catalogue of the Haub Collection of Western Art for the opening in Spring 2014, including choosing co-authors, writing, and review.
  • Work on collection strategic planning for the western art collection with the Director of Curatorial Administration; create a 10 Year Collection Plan.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in Art History or related field with a focus on American art
  • Five years of curatorial and museum experience with proven track record of publications and exhibitions
  • Computer proficiency and fluency with digital media

Full-time position (40 hours per week)
Salary: commensurate with experience

To Apply

Closing Date: November 2, 2012
Send a cover letter, resume, salary history, and list of references to:
Human Resources
Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402
or email HR@TacomaArtMuseum.org

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