A Success Story: An Interview with Erin Barsan, NDSR Art Fellow at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of art librarianship?
I actually have an art background. I got my BFA in Graphic Design with a minor in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. After undergrad, I ended up working as a photographer’s assistant at a small commercial studio. During one of our off-seasons, I embarked on a project to clean out and reorganize all the studio’s computer files and physical file cabinets. I also spent a lot of time documenting my work and creating a handbook for future assistants. It was this experience that led me to library school; I realized that what interested me most about my job was figuring out how to organize things in a way that would best help people find the information they needed.

I eventually attended the Pratt Institute School of Information and received my MSLIS with an Archives Certificate. While a student at Pratt, I took several classes related to art librarianship. However, it wasn’t until after grad school, when I worked as a project archivist at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art, that I really got into the field.

Currently, I am part of the inaugural cohort of the National Digital Stewardship Residency for Art Information (NDSR Art). I am working at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) on a one year project titled “Managing Time-Based Media/Digital Art at (an appropriate) Scale,” which is a fairly non-traditional librarian role. That being said, it’s really exciting and challenging work, and I’m very grateful to NDSR Art for this opportunity. To learn more about the NDSR Art program and my project, visit the NDSR Art website: http://ndsr-pma.arlisna.org/

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What work are you doing as an NDSR art resident?
As the NDSR Art Resident at Mia, I am taking a lead role in establishing a framework for the management and preservation of the museum’s rapidly-growing collection of time-based media/digital art (e.g., video, film, audio, slides, and software-based art). My job entails working with Mia’s New Media Task Force to develop and implement new workflows and other procedures related to the acquisition, documentation, display, and maintenance of these complex works as well as recommending technical solutions for management and preservation.

I am just wrapping up the initial, information gathering, phase of the project. Most of my day involves sitting in front of the computer at my desk in the Media and Technology Division reading, writing emails, and taking notes. Additionally, I conducted interviews with a number of this project’s internal stakeholders to learn their perspectives, concerns, and needs. Externally, I spoke with a number of media conservators and other professionals to learn about how they handle the acquisition, installation, and long-term care of their institution’s time-based media art. Now that I’ve gathered and studied all of this valuable information, I just have to take what I’ve learned about emerging best practices for time-based media art and figure out how to adapt and scale them to fit Mia’s specific needs. Piece of cake, right?

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Try and get an internship while you are in school. If that isn’t feasible, think of other ways you can get real world experience. Have a school project that involves a hypothetical library? Maybe you can find a real one that you could work with for your project instead. Working while in school? Look for opportunities in your workplace where you could make a positive impact by applying your new knowledge and skills, and then pitch it as a project to your boss. Get creative!

Don’t let job/internship descriptions intimidate you. You’d be amazed how many people get scared off by things like the reputation of a big name institution or the number of other highly-qualified people they think will also apply. Even if you think you don’t have much of a chance, apply anyway. You might surprise yourself!

What were/are some challenges for you as an art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?
Advocacy is a challenge for me, and a big issue in our field in general. People often don’t see the value in art librarianship because much of our work is behind the scenes, because we don’t generate a lot of money, or because other departments have projects that seem more exciting. It’s up to us to make sure that our work doesn’t go unnoticed and do our own marketing/PR. We know our value and the importance of our work; the trick is figuring out how to communicate this to others in a way that is meaningful to them by approaching it from their perspective. This sounds easy, but in practice can be quite challenging. It’s uncomfortable to talk about ourselves (no one wants to sound like a braggart), especially when the person you’re speaking with is senior-level, and it takes practice. I’ve started to think of advocacy work as a muscle–the more I exercise it and push through the pain, the easier it will feel and the stronger I’ll be.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library in the world, which would it be?
The majority of my free time is occupied by roller derby. This is my tenth year skating, and it has taken me all over the US and soon, Europe! In February, I’ll be traveling to Manchester, England to compete with Team Romania at the 2018 Roller Derby World Cup.

If I could take a trip to visit any library, I’d like to visit the Future Library in Norway. However, that would also mean I’d have to time travel to 2114 so I could read all the newly unearthed and unpublished texts.

Paid Internship Opportunity: Digital Image Processing Archival Internship, Calder Foundation, NYC


The Calder Foundation is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of the twentieth-century artist Alexander Calder.

The Terry Roth Internship was established in honor of our longtime friend and collaborator with the goal of making internships accessible to all candidates by compensating recipients.

Digital Image Processing Archival Internship

Fall  2017


Minimum commitment: 15 hours per week, 10 weeks

The archival internship is open to students (undergraduate or graduate) or recent graduates of art history or a related discipline. Undergraduates must have completed at least two years of study.

Archival Interns will learn organizational tasks involving cataloguing, preserving, and digitizing all aspects of the foundation’s collection of archival material.  The Calder Foundation Archive maintains over 130,000 documents, 26,000 photographs, dozens of films, and thousands of press clippings, articles, and publications. The Archive is also responsible for researching, cataloguing and archiving dossiers of information and images for more than 22,000 known works created by Calder.

Digital Image Processing interns will assist with identifying, analyzing, and processing images of artworks to be integrated into the Foundation’s physical and digital holdings.

Applicants must be conscientious, mature and detail-oriented. They must also possess strong visual and analytic skills. Also beneficial is prior experience with archival tasks, FileMaker Pro databases, Photoshop, and Epson scanning equipment.

Application Instructions / Public Contact Information

Deadline to apply is Friday, 1 September 2017. Please submit the following materials to resume@calder.org

– a brief statement of interest

– resume

– names and contact information of two references (academic or professional)

NO INQUIRIES OR PHONE CALLS, PLEASE. Only applicants being considered for the internship will be contacted by the Foundation for an in-person interview.

LINK: https://www.nyfa.org/Jobs/Show/21e90de1-c4f1-48fb-a123-52448bda2655

Job Opportunity: Image Archive Associate, Guggenheim, NYC

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is seeking an Image Archive Associate. As part of the Photographic Services team, the Image Archive Associate facilitates the preservation, organization and archiving of all Guggenheim images.

Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997) and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.

Key Responsibilities

  • Scan legacy and historic film in the Guggenheim Image Archive in high resolution for a wide variety of internal and external clients. Subject matter includes Guggenheim collection works of art, exhibition and architectural views, and conservation documentation images.
  • Perform digital file post-production of both scanned and newly captured photographs, including clean up, color correction and metadata entry for new collection, conservation and exhibition-related photography.
  • Retouch, composite, silhouette and locally color-correct images for publications, special projects and retail product photography.
  • Research and conduct preliminary editing of contemporary and archival still images for a wide variety of museum publications and projects.
  • Collaborate with and assist Digital Asset Manager in organization and maintenance of all Guggenheim collection, exhibition and other types of photography created in the Photographic Services Department. Confirm that metadata, formatting, and file naming conform to studio standards. Organize images on servers.
  • Prepare web-ready still images for Guggenheim website, Guggenheim App, Media and Public Relations, and Marketing.
  • Assist with workflow management of new collection photography to be entered into TMS (Guggenheim collection database).
  • Support Licensing with fulfillment of external rights and reproduction requests and internal fulfillment requests.
  • Collaborate with Studio Manager to ensure best practices and that digital image production meets standards for long-term archiving, retrieval, and distribution.
  • Participate in the planning of interdepartmental projects.
  • Assist Chief Photographer and Photographer with location and studio photography shoots, handling equipment and lighting as needed.
  • Assist Chief Photographer with post-production for architectural views, museum portrait sessions and exhibition views.
  • Print, package, and ship fine art prints to be sold at the museum’s retail and online stores.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Masters in Fine Arts, Photography, Digital Imaging or related fields
  • Thorough working knowledge of digital imaging techniques and software, including fluency with Photoshop retouching and compositing techniques, Adobe Bridge metadata entry and Adobe Lightroom editing. Familiarity with Media Beacon or other DAM database software is a plus
  • Solid working understanding of digital image file standards and color management, Macintosh operating system and related digital asset management practices
  • Familiarity with traditional photography, including film types, formats and digital photography
  • Experience with photo editing and research
  • Excellent organizational and archival skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Fully skilled with scanning of negatives, transparencies, and reflective media using Epson and Imacon scanners
  • Good working knowledge of inkjet printing and color calibration tools

The Guggenheim offers a competitive salary and excellent medical, dental, life, disability, and retirement plan coverage.  Our staff also enjoys generous vacation, sick leave and personal days, access to a variety of cultural institutions, discounts to museum stores, and a stimulating and collegial work environment.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Application Instructions / Public Contact Information

Qualified applicants please send your resume and cover letter, including salary expectations, to employment@guggenheim.org.  Indicate the job title “Image Archive Associate” in the subject line. Only those applicants who meet our requirements for this position will be contacted.

LINK: https://www.nyfa.org/Jobs/Show/901e725e-32d2-42ea-be26-2daf488bf848

Job Opportunity: Head Librarian – Saint Louis Art Museum


REPORTS TO: Director of Learning and Engagement

SUPERVISES: Technical Services Librarian, Archivist, Public Services Librarian

SPECIFICATIONS: ALA-accredited Master’s degree in Library Science, three to five years administrative experience in an academic or museum library, and extensive knowledge of art history and art literature required. Master’s degree in art history and working knowledge of two European languages preferred. Position requires awareness of administrative practices in special libraries, especially acquisitions, financial management, and library systems.

JOB PURPOSE: To direct the staff and operations of the Richardson Memorial Library at the Saint Louis Art Museum; to administer Library activities in the areas of reference, circulation control, collection development, acquisitions, collection maintenance, and organization of materials; to manage the Library budget; and to create planning procedures for long-term policy development.


  • Establishes goals and objectives for the Library which further the mission of the Museum and the Division of Learning and Engagement.
  • Directs all Library reference services to Museum staff members and public patrons. Schedules and monitors the reference desk. Provides instruction to staff and volunteers in the use of library research materials.
  • Guides all Library technical services activities. Plans for future growth of the collection and approves materials for acquisition. Monitors staff activity in the organization of materials, including archival records, digital images, periodicals, books, and auction catalogues. Oversees collection maintenance activities, including preservation, shelving, digitization, de-accessioning, and offsite storage of materials. Develops the Library record-keeping procedures.
  • Prepares and manages the Library’s budget, tracking expenditures and reporting variances.
  • Supervises, trains, and evaluates Library staff and volunteers.
  • Plans for technological changes, as necessary for efficient access to library materials and information about art.
  • Establishes effective communication with the Museum’s administration through written reports and regular meetings.
  • Represents the Library as the institutional liaison with library consortia.
  • Collaborates with Membership, Development, and Curatorial departments as well as other Learning & Engagement departments on the planning of projects and programs.
  • Participates in the Museum’s cross-functional strategic and core function teams as appropriate.
  • Promotes a positive image of the Library to the public, donors, volunteers, and other library professionals.
  • Maintains an awareness of trends and developments in the fields of art and art historical scholarship and publishing, and mentors library staff on their impact on the profession.
  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

The above statements of this job description describe the general duties and level of work performed by employees assigned to this position. They do not claim to describe all of the functions of this position. Employees may be assigned other duties and the essential functions may change or be changed from time to time. (06/17)

Please apply online at https://www.hiretrue.com/hiretrue/showJobBoardPositions.do?jobBoardPK=54.

Paid Fellowship Opportunity: 2017-18 Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship

The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library and the Research Library at the Yale Center for British Art will be accepting applications for the 2017-18 Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship through February 1, 2017. Details of the fellowship and instructions on how to apply are at http://guides.library.yale.edu/kressfellowship.

Job Posting: Research Resources Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC


This full-time position serves as the central administrative support for the Research Resources department, which provides access to primary resources, published resources, and other research material relating to the Museum’s support of American art and artists through its history, collections, and programming.


  • The Assistant provides reference services for Museum staff and external researchers accessing the following units within this department: The Frances Mulhall Achilles Library, the Archives, Special Collections, and the Permanent Collection Documentation Office.
  • Assist with circulation and patron database maintenance in the Voyager integrated library system (ILS)
  • Schedule appointments and maintain the department calendar
  • Process Library acquisitions
  • Handle all departmental invoicing
  • Oversee periodical subscriptions and acquisition
  • Provide research and clerical assistance to department
  • Assist in overseeing the work of interns and volunteers under Archive and Library staff supervision
  • Work on additional projects relevant to the priorities of the Research Resources department


  • 2 years’ experience; MLIS degree (with art history or studio art background preferred)
  • Hands-on library and archival skills
  • Experience or familiarity with Voyager ILS, ArchiveSpace, and The
  • Museum System (TMS)
  • Research experience
  • Knowledge of art history and contemporary American art
  • Familiarity with library and archival preservation
  • Understanding of the function and processes of both libraries and archives, and related experience a plus
  • Good communication skills necessary

To apply for a position, please send your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to hr@whitney.org or mail to:

Whitney Museum of American Art
Human Resources Department
99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014

Please be advised that due to the high volume of applications, we are only able to contact those candidates whose skills and background best fit the requirements of the job openings or internships. We will keep your resume on file should appropriate future openings become available. Please do not send catalogues or original materials. The Museum cannot assume responsibility for any original materials which are submitted. No calls, please.

Full post: https://www.nyfa.org/Jobs/Show/2dd0a19a-e4d4-45ed-8914-2790f1e24bb3

Job Posting: Library and Archives Specialist, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Library and Archives Specialist

As a key member of the Library and Archives team, the Library and Archives Specialist assists with operations across the department. Working under the direction of the Technical Services Librarian, the Specialist is responsible for performing a wide range of tasks and procedures primarily related to: interlibrary loan; paging and shelving; metadata creation; copy cataloging and serials. The Specialist will also support and perform library, archival and copyright reference research; and help with records management.

Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated ability in maintaining records and data in various information, library, and archival systems, as well as a familiarity with metadata standards such as Dublin Core, MARC, AACR2/RDA, LCSH, LC authorities, and LC classification and shelf listing. A Bachelor’s degree is required. This position requires experience in copy-cataloging procedures or database maintenance guidelines. An ideal candidate will have a strong attention to detail, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and an aptitude for technology.

To apply, please attach a cover letter and resume to submit with your application.

Job Posting: Collections Manager, Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH

The Akron Art Museum, with its mission to enrich lives through modern and contemporary art, seeks a Collection Manager to oversee the proper care and management of the museum’s collection and all art objects in its custody. With collections exceeding 5,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, photography (an area of special strength) and works on paper dating from 1850 to present, the museum presents 12-15 exhibitions annually featuring work from its collections and loans from artists, collectors and museums throughout the country and abroad. The Collection Manager reports to the Chief Curator and supervises a Library and Archives Manager.

KEY DUTIES include responsibility for

  • records of the collection and exhibition materials.
  • supervision and control of the storage of art, maintaining and updating inventory records.
  • preparation of all legal documents pertaining collection management, loans, and conservation.
  • the care and condition of art work.
  • transportation of art works in the permanent collection and from outside sources and coordinating museum-generated traveling exhibitions.
  • developing and monitoring budgets for activities pertaining to the documentation, safekeeping, and protection of the collection.


  • B.A. in Museum Studies, Art History or related field, M.A. preferred; minimum three years relevant museum experience.


  • Experience as a museum registrar.
  • Excellent organizational and communications skills.
  • Proficiency in MS Office and with EmbARK or other collections management software.
  • Knowledge of insurance, packing, transportation, digital asset management, museum record-keeping and conservation standards and resources.
  • Ability to communicate up-to-date museum standards and professional practices with staff and other museum professionals.
  • Experience developing and implementing policies.
  • Ability to manage multiple, ongoing projects simultaneously.
  • Valid driver’s license.


  • Advanced art handling experience.
  • Supervisory experience.

Download the attached file to view a full job description.

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to:
Human Resources, The Akron Art Museum, One South High Street, Akron, OH 44308 or HR@akronartmuseum.org.

Application review will begin on October 7, 2016.

Full post: https://akronartmuseum.org/display/files/CollectionsManager2016JD3.pdf

Job Posting: Collections Assistant, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC

*** Edit 9/28 – This is a repost to correct “All Grades” questions. Applicants who applied previously MUST reapply to be considered. 


This position is located in the Collection Management Department of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian institution’s museum of international modern and contemporary art. The Collection Management Department is responsible for the care, preservation, and documentation of all works of art at the museum, whether from the Museum’s permanent collection or on loan from other institutions. The incumbent serves as the assistant to the director of collection management, providing technical assistance in the broad areas of collection stewardship.


  • Assists in maintaining standards, policies, and operating procedures for acquisitions, receipt, deaccessioning, loans, packing, shipping logistics, conservation, physical care, storage, documentation, and inventory.
  • Prepares and maintains the departmental budget worksheets in Excel, monitors
    expenditures for supplies, equipment, and travel.
  • Orders equipment and supplies associated with the functions of the Collection Management Department and tracks the orders during the procurement process.
  • Checks and keeps accounts of conservation lab supplies of adhesives, papers, fabrics, chemicals, solvents and reorders them when necessary.
  • Manages the digital assets for the department, including entering conservation reports, images, and other pertinent information into the Museum’s database (TMS).


Experience: You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-5 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system. For this position Specialized experience is defined as entering financial data into software packages, filing, meeting and greeting people, and working with professionals that care for and preserve artworks.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

Or Education Grade 7: One full year of graduate level education related to the position or Superior Academic Achievement may be substituted to meet the specialized experience requirement.

Or a Combination: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications; for example, a half year of experience and a half year of education in the field may be qualifying.

Apply by: October 11, 2016

Full post: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/451769900

Job Posting: Digital Collections Coordinator (PT, Temp), Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, GA

High Museum of Art
Digital Collections Coordinator (Temporary/Part-time)
Department: Photography/Collections
Reports To: Keough Family Curator of Photography & Head of Collections
Employment Status: Temporary/Part-time

The Digital Collections Coordinator will manage all photographic and technology requirements for a one year collections digitization initiative funded by the Woodruff Arts Center.


  • Part-time, Monday – Friday with flexible hours as determined by the photography schedule
  • Limited to one year term starting from hire date


  • Collections Management:
    • Work with the Images & Rights Coordinator to schedule and manage photo shoots to produce high-quality digital images and video of artworks in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection
    • Create shoot lists and plan a year-long schedule for the project
    • Work with Associate Collections Manager and Preparators to arrange movement of art work for photography, and return art to home locations afterwards
    • Work with Curators to identify priorities for the digitization project
    • Fact-check object data in collections management system and make corrections and/or updates as directed by the curator and/or registrar, according to style guidelines provided.
    • Assist photographers during shoots, including some art handling
    • Organize and archive new digital assets and ensure accuracy of metadata
  • Administrative:
    • Manage and track spending and project budget under the oversight of the Associate Collections Manager and Image & Rights Coordinator
    • Prepare and submit payments for invoices related to the project
    • Prepare periodic updates on project progress to be presented to project managers in curatorial, interpretation, and registration departments
    • Manage monthly meetings with all necessary Digitization project staff; Arrange meetings as necessary

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and Experience:
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Familiarity with digital and analog image formats and technology is critical
    • Familiarity with photography equipment (cameras, lights, backdrops) preferred
    • Working knowledge of museum cataloging systems with a strong preference for experience with The Museum System (TMS)
    • Familiarity with collections management best practices
    • Experience in an art museum or gallery performing tasks that include art handling and collections management
    • Knowledge of art history helpful
    • Highly proficient with MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook (email/scheduling) and similar databases and digital imaging technology, including Photoshop. Training on TMS will be provided.
    • Must be well-organized and detail oriented.
  • Language Skills:
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
    • Ability to write professional correspondence.
    • Ability to communicate effectively with museum staff and other professional affiliates
  • Mathematical Skills:
    • Experience in bookkeeping preferred.
    • Ability to maintain project files, keep budget, and process invoices.
  • Reasoning Ability:
    • Ability to solve practical problems and prioritize needs in a variety of situations where standardization is limited and immediate decisions are necessary.

The work environment and physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions: Some standing, walking, bending, frequent use of hands, stooping and light lifting (at least 10 pounds) is needed; the noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Full post: http://www.woodruffcenter.org/HRJobdetails.aspx?jobid=1849