Job Opportunity: Archivist, Chicago History Museum


As Chicago’s oldest cultural institution, the Chicago History Museum is the proud custodian of over 23 million objects ranging from presidential artifacts to 60’s couture. Located in this world-class city at the south end of Lincoln Park, this position offers the right candidate an opportunity to share Chicago’s stories with our audiences and visitors. We invite qualified candidates to apply for this full-time position.


The Archivist helps manage and coordinate all aspects of the Archives unit in partnership with the Archivist for Visual Materials, including supervising interns responsible for the care and management of CHM’s Archives and Manuscripts, and Architecture holdings; the Archivist also bears direct responsibility for the assessment, development, arrangement and description, and maintenance of CHM’s Archives and Manuscripts collections (including audio materials and institutional archives). The Archivist works with Curatorial Affairs staff to identify, review, and present proposed acquisitions; periodically reassess the collection; and develop and implement deaccessioning proposals to ensure the collection reflects an inclusive history of the city and its diverse citizens. The Archivist collaborates with the Archivist for Visual Materials to develop of strategies and policies governing the development, management, and use of the archival holdings; develops and implements changes and improvements to internal processes and workflow documentation; collaborates with relevant staff to facilitate and expand the discovery and use of CHM’s archival holdings to meet institutional goals and support CHM’s mission; and promotes the collection as CHM’s most unique and significant resource.


  • Collaborate with the Archivist for Visual Materials and the Head of Collections to manage the day-to-day operations of the Archives unit, including the establishment and documentation of local standards and practices to guide the processing and management of CHM’s archival holdings
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of the scope, strengths, and weaknesses of CHM’s archival collections including subject matter, material content, overall condition and organization, storage needs, and related documentation, with particular emphasis on the Manuscript and Architecture holdings (including audio materials and institutional archives)
  • Apply collection development and reassessment strategies to build a more comprehensive, meaningful, and diverse record of the city’s history
  • Work with Archivist for Visual Materials to assess potential acquisitions considering historical significance, size, condition, organization, relevance to CHM’s collecting goals, and other factors including potential access and use restrictions
  • Work with Curatorial Affairs staff to inform acquisitions decisions, prepare acquisition proposals, and present proposed acquisitions to the Collection Committee
  • Work with the Head of Collections, Institutional Advancement and other CHM staff to develop grant proposals, and contribute to other fundraising efforts to secure support for processing, preservation, and access-related activities
  • Assist with the processing of manuscript collections to a degree sufficient to enable their use for research and programmatic purposes, including weeding unwanted material, organizing and re-housing collections, preparing descriptive and administrative information for catalog records, authoring DACS-compliant finding aids in EAD, and publishing finding aids online
  • Work with Curatorial Affairs staff to identify materials for potential deaccession, develop deaccession proposals, and implement deaccession and disposal plans
  • Collaborate with Collections staff and other departments to facilitate use of the collection to meet institutional goals and support CHM’s programmatic, marketing, and fundraising initiatives, including exhibitions, publications, and special events
  • Work with shippers, contractors, and appropriate CHM staff to pack and move collections to and from offsite storage and plan and execute large-scale collection moves and storage upgrades
  • Lift, carry, and otherwise move collections objects weighing 50 lbs.; ascend/descend ladders and lifts; drive CHM van to off-site storage facilities or other locations


  • MLIS with archives emphasis and/or certification; additional academic training in museum studies, American history, American studies, urban history, public history, or related field
  • 1-3 years of professional experience processing and managing relevant collection materials in a museum, library, or archive setting
  • Substantive demonstrated experience in the application of current archival methodologies and standards (including MPLP and DACS) for appraisal, organization, and description of archival collections, including electronic formats; some knowledge of MARC preferred
  • Familiarity with U.S. copyright law
  • Demonstrated experience with relevant technologies, standards, and practices in creating finding aids, including DACS, EAD, and the use of XML editors or other software to create and publish EAD finding aids; knowledge of Oxygen and CONTENTdm preferred
  • Knowledge of the tools, technologies, and best practices used in the assessment, processing, preservation, and delivery of digital collections
  • Proficiency in commonly used word-processing applications, databases, and spreadsheets
  • Grant writing experience preferred
  • Ability to supervise people, manage complex programs, projects, and budgets
  • Ability to develop and follow workflows to meet production, management, quality control, and procedural requirements in an efficient and effective manner
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Possess a strong subject knowledge of Chicago History
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and/or weekends

To Apply:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.