Head of Collections Management and Provenance Research
The Rubin Museum of Art
Full time / $90,000-$100,000 / The Rubin Museum of Art / New York, NY
The Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, New York City is a Museum and global platform that explores and celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of Himalayan art, ideas, and cultures across history and into the present. Through Himalayan art, cultures, and ideas, the Rubin serves as a guidepost to examine big questions of what it means to be human today with the intent of creating a more compassionate, resilient world. With its globally renowned collection, largely centered around art from the Tibetan Plateau, the Rubin fosters understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary region by connecting its art and ideas to contemporary issues that are relevant in our visitors’ lives today. Largely inspired by the philosophical traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, the Rubin offers innovative exhibitions and programs that examine provocative ideas across the arts and sciences. In doing so, the Museum serves as a space for reflection and personal transformation, opening windows to inner worlds so visitors can better navigate outer ones.
This position serves as the Head of a team responsible for collections management, registration and provenance research functions as defined below. The team includes the positions of Registrar and Assistant Collections Manager and Registrar. Also supervises various part-time staff and interns for department, as well as contract staff in photography, art handling, conservation, provenance research and registration.
Working closely with the Director of Curatorial Administration and Collections (DCAC),
the Head of Collections Management and Provenance Research directs the day-to-day planning and realization for all collection management, registration, conservation
logistics, exhibitions logistics, art installation, collection database activities, and provenance research efforts in support of the long-range strategy and goals as set by
the executive team.
In this position the Head of Collections Management & Provenance will work closely primarily with the Curatorial, Exhibitions, and Operations teams.
This is a full-time exempt and hybrid eligible position with core hours of Monday through Fridays from 9:00AM to 5:00 PM with ability to be flexible as needed based on project needs.
The incumbent reports to the Director of Curatorial Administration and Collections.
Hires, direct priorities and trains Collections Management team.
Contracts and directs Art handlers, Conservators, Registrars, Photographers, Provenance Researchers and other consultants as needed, monitoring their assigned projects and ensure contracted deliverables meet desired expectations.
Assists DCAC in developing and facilitating an integrated work program and budget for collections management, exhibition logistics, conservation, collections information, registration, and research access.
Ensures compliance with AAM and professional guidelines and codes of ethics for the stewardship of collections, adhering to best practices for museums.
Responsible for the creation, maintenance and implementation of collection management, registration and provenance research policies and procedures, the collections management policy, and related legal documents.
Assists DCAC in risk management strategies including assessing and revising loan contracts for incoming and outgoing loans, art storage and display tactics, managing the fine arts insurance policy and compliance of requirements, and advising and facilitating various departments on activities, programs and special events in the galleries to ensure the safety of collections on exhibition and compliance with lender requirements.
Oversees and manages revisions of the Emergency and Response plan in conjunction with Operations and implements appropriate training of all staff. Serves as Head the Emergency Response Team in conjunction with the Head of Operations.
Manages all Art storage areas on and off-site; develop and implement storage, object handling and housing policies and procedures.
Advises DCAC, curatorial staff, Board and other staff on matter of collections stewardship best practices and provenance matters.
Works with Development team on various grants applications for collections care and provenance grants, as needed.
Assists DCAC and Exhibitions Manager in the development of exhibition and tour budgets.
Reviews and provides feedback on travelling exhibition venue and artist contracts.
Oversees process and logistics of all incoming and outgoing loans, long-term loans program, and exhibitions program including associated documentation and billing.
Oversees all exhibition and travelling exhibition logistics including shipping, couriers, insurance, environmental controls, security, lenders restrictions and installation of loans
Oversees applications for Indemnity, Immunity from Seizure, Cites and Fish and Wildlife permits as required by lenders or the law.
Establishes art-handling guidelines for the collection and exhibitions program.
Reviews and assesses all permanent collections works for display and determines conservation, framing, mounting, housing, display, and preventative conservation needs.
Reviews all incoming and outgoing loans to assess their stability to be displayed in the galleries and if any special needs exist.
Consults with Curatorial for specific display needs to make informed plans of action for conservation treatment, in conjunction with contract conservators.
Budgets, consults with, and commissions all conservators as needed
Permanent Collections and Information Management:
Ensures staff collections management and registration staff follow collections management policy for all matters including accessioning and deaccessioning: process gifts, bequest, and acquisitions including creation and maintenance of physical and digital records.
Directs the database maintenance, coordinates upgrades, on and off-site training for staff, contractors, and creation of reports as requested by various departments. Ensures accuracy, timely input, and maintenance of all collection, exhibition and loan information.
Directs photography of collection and maintenance of Image server
Oversees rights and reproductions for collection and procures associated publications for Rubin library and collection research.
Collection Provenance and Cataloging:
Supervises various projects as assigned by the DCR currently including:
Manages multi-year Collections Cataloguing project in conjunction with Curatorial team
Coordinates all museum provenance research on objects as prioritized by the DCAC
Investigates claims of Cultural Property working with curators, conservators, and scientists on provenance research and analysis
Evaluates proposed acquisitions on risk of Cultural Property claims
Advises DCAC and executive team on potential issues in provenance research at the Museum and externally
Participates in provenance research conferences and seminars, engaging with an active network of provenance-related contacts
Works with marketing and communications to share new provenance information with the public as directed by DCAC
Minimum MA in Art History or other related field relevant to this work
Must have 10 years of experience in collections management including provenance research procedure, guidelines and resources
Knowledge of external sources of provenance information, such as archives (both in the U.S. and other countries) including those that are not publicly available
Familiarity with the art market related to the Rubin Museum’s collection – a plus
Demonstrated experience improving collecting practices and collections management within museums or related organizations – a must
Must have proven communication skills navigating highly complex and sensitive
Must have excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
Established network of contacts in the fields of collections management and provenance research – required
A demonstrated interest in the Rubin Museum of Art as a collection institution committed to the highest standards of collecting practices and collections – desired
Must be able to demonstrate creativity, discretion, ability to trouble shoot and multi-task.
Proficiency in working with The Museum System and E-museum applications - a plus
Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, Slack, Asana, OnBoard, Photoshop and other software applications – a plus.
Salary Range: $90k to $100k commensurate with experience.
The Rubin Museum offers a generous and competitive compensation and benefits package. This includes the Rubin’s Work from Home (WFH) Policy, which allows employees to work offsite four (4) days per week based on their job responsibilities.
All hybrid eligible employees are required to work onsite every Wednesday – designated onsite workday.
This WFH policy in its current format will remain in effect until September 3, 2024. This policy will be revised and updated accordingly.
COVID-19 Vaccination requirement:
Newly hired employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (i.e. have received both doses of a 2-dose vaccine OR a single dose of a one-dose vaccine) and must provide proof once a job offer has been made.
The above definition of what it currently means to be fully vaccinated is based on the definition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).