Alt-Career Spotlight: Joanne Fenn, Collections Manager/Museum Registrar for the Kent State University Museum

This series of interviews features individuals who have received their MLIS/MSIS, but do not currently hold positions solely dedicated to art librarianship. Some may work in libraries and  have an interest or duties related to art librarianship, while others use their information science skills in fields outside of the traditional library setting.

What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?

I work for the Kent State University Museum, informally known as the “Fashion Museum.” The Kent State Museum contains important collections of fashion and decorative arts. Its seven galleries feature changing exhibitions of work by many of the world’s great designers. Closely linked to the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the Museum provides students first-hand experience with historic and contemporary fashions, as well as costumes representing many of the world’s cultures. An extensive collection of American glass, fine furniture, textiles, paintings and other decorative arts combine to give context to the study of design. The Museum serves both the University and the community through exhibitions, public programs, and research appointments in the collections.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?
I have a B.A. in art history, and M.A. in arts administration, and an M.L.I.S.
Prior to KSUM, I worked for 10 years at The Cleveland Museum of Art in their Asian Art department and Registrar’s office.

I am the collections manager/museum registrar for the museum, with the academic rank of associate professor. I find that I need to explain to most everyone what I do. I am responsible for the intellectual and physical organization and care of the collection. The university considers my work as teaching in a non-traditional way; as a practitioner. It is a similar rational for why librarians have an academic rank.

What brought you to your current position?
I was looking for a change for a myriad of reasons from work/life balance to expanded opportunities. The timing was perfect.

What does a typical work day look like for you?
As you can imagine, collections work means the typical work day varies. Some of my favorite variations involve working directly with students hired to help me, and teaching collections management workshops for graduate library science students. I also work with faculty helping to augment classroom pedagogy through use of the collection. Because of the nature of the collection (predominantly light sensitive textiles) there is not a permanent collection gallery. The museum is in exhibition-change mode frequently, and we also travel in-house exhibitions and individual loans. The work ranges from desk work (contracts, “database” projects, grant writing) to projects that require physical strength and agility (installing/de-installing, packing/crating, etc.).

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?

Of course to obtain hands-on museum experience through volunteering and internships. Recognize that this is a highly competitive field, so get as much education and training as feasible. Also, be positive; it will happen!

What are some of the current challenges you see in your field or the art/information science field?
Keeping up with technology in a way that serves museums, but does not replace the experience.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library or museum in the world, which would it be?
In my spare time I like to exercise and run. I greatly enjoy spending time with my husband and children, especially if it involves a beach.

If I could visit any museum in the world? That’s difficult! There are so many fascinating collections. I’ll just work my way through as many as I can (especially if it involves a beach).

Job Posting: Digital Image Processor, Asian Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA

The museum is seeking a talented Digital Image Processor with a keen eye to help facilitate the smooth day-to-day operation of the museum’s onsite digital photography studio.  Under direction, and working in a high-volume setting, the Digital Image Processor will handle post-processing of the museum’s collections photography for purposes of print and electronic reproduction, research, study, conservation treatment documentation, and internal database population. The Digital Image Processor will assist Image Services with image quality assurance and records management.  S/he will possess exceptional organizational, interpersonal, and analytical skills, as well as a passion for the arts.

 

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES:

 

  1. Processes high volume of images while strictly adhering to the museum’s digital imaging workflow; including but not limited to maintaining accurate color management, adhering to file naming standards and metadata schemas, database content upload management, etc.
  2. Utilizes various museum systems in day-to-day work associated with asset and workflow management.
  3. Troubleshoots and solves complex technical problems associated with imaging.
  4. Assists as needed with studio photography as well as image retrieval.
  5. Performs routine hardware calibrations.
  6. Stays abreast of current best practices in imaging and preservation standards especially as applied to cultural heritage imaging, including camera systems, studio equipment, hardware, software, techniques, and industry-standard accepted best practices.
  7. Collaborates within department to determine best practices, benchmarks, and project workflows.

 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

 

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography or a related field from an accredited college or university and three years of increasingly responsible experience in various phases of digital photography and verifiable related professional imaging and retoucher work in a museum environment, OR an equivalent combination of training and experience.
  • Expert working knowledge of Photoshop including color and tonal correction, masking and compositing, layers, paths, actions, and non-destructive workflow.
  • Advanced working knowledge of Lightroom, CaptureOne, and image merging techniques such as focus stacking (Zerene, Helicon) and stitching (PTGui).
  • Excellent color acuity and extensive experience with calibration and color profiling.
  • Possesses a critical eye and meticulous attention to detail; understands the aesthetic principles of collections photography; exhibits discretion, good decision-making, and an artistic awareness and respect for accuracy.
  • Experience with and comfortable working within a busy production studio environment.
  • Outstanding organizational skills with an ability to take direction and manage changing priorities.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and an ability to work collaboratively and respectfully.
  • Ability to take direction well and assist staff to realize their vision of photographic representation.
  • Good facility with peripheral systems such as e-mail, internet browsers, and collections and digital asset management systems. Fluent in both Mac and PC environments.
  • Prompt, reliable, and able to work independently and as a team player in a collaborative, collegial environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet established deadlines.
  • Previous museum experience and familiarity with Asian art and/or culture is preferred.

 

COMPENSATION:

 

$21.63 – 25.95* per hour (annualized equivalent of $45,000-$53,976k) with generous benefits package.   *Please note:  This position is represented by SEIU 1021.

More information and application: http://asianart.snaphire.com/jobdetails;jsessionid=67064B3A743D0BF6297A0EF6D3811B7B?jobmc=9438JBCL

Job Posting: Assistant Curator, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana

The Yellowstone Art Museum seeks a smart, curious, and energetic specialist in the fine arts for the position of Assistant Curator. This is a position for a serious entry-level curatorial professional with a good eye and a strong interest in contemporary American art. The successful candidate will have a minimum of a B.A. or B.F.A. in art, art history, museum studies, or similar, and two years of relevant experience. Requirements include excellent communication skills, both written and oral; graphic design abilities; project management skills; inventiveness; a strong work ethic; excellent attention to detail; and a desire to help exciting visual arts exhibitions and programs become a reality. Submit a resume, cover letter, and three references. Candidates invited to interview will be asked to bring recent samples of their graphic designs. This is a fulltime, exempt position with a salary in the mid-30s. AA, EOE

Reports to: Senior Curator

Supervisory responsibilities: None

Status: Fulltime, exempt

Position summary:
The Assistant Curator assists the Senior Curator and other curatorial department staff with exhibition curation, planning, and design, as well as department organization and support. The position is also responsible for graphic design for the museum’s exhibitions and related needs.

Primary responsibilities:

Permanent collection

  • Assist in the refinement of a permanent collection that will further growth of a distinctive identity for the institution.
  • Assist in the preparation of accession recommendations.
  • Assist with timely and accurate cataloging of new acquisitions; catalog existing works in the permanent collection as time permits.
  • Respond to public inquiries about art and collection artists within areas of expertise.

Resources on art, artists, and museum’s exhibition history

  • Work with the Registrar to organize and maintain exhibition and collection images and records to provide easy access to all files.
  • Maintain readily accessible and up-to-date image selection on museum’s shared drive relating to current and upcoming temporary exhibitions.
  • Organize and maintain individual artist files to expedite retrieval of information.
  • Maintain temporary exhibition log and archive past exhibition files appropriately.

Department support

  • Assist with curatorial correspondence to provide prompt, accurate, and professional contact with all artists, volunteers, and other museum professionals.
  • Organize all incoming proposals and deliver prompt response to artists and other lenders as directed by Senior Curator and/or Executive Director.

Exhibition support

  • Assist in the development and writing of exhibition concepts, interpretive copy, catalog essays, and other written material, as appropriate.
  • Coordinate activity with guest curators, exhibition brokers, contractors, and other in support of a varied temporary exhibition program. The Assistant Curator will often take the department’s organizational lead on incoming pre-curated exhibitions.
  • Assist in the management of temporary exhibition planning calendars.
  • Assist with curatorial research as requested by Senior Curator and/or Executive Director.
  • Work with education staff to achieve appropriate interpretive planning for exhibitions.
  • Assist with the preparation of object labels or other exhibition needs as requested.
  • Assist with the physical movement and installation of art objects to ensure safety of art and people.
  • Serve as courier for art and exhibitions, as needed.

Graphic design

  • Develop collateral materials for temporary exhibitions, including announcement cards, gallery graphics, catalogs, and other needs.
  • Assist in the preparation of site signage and other general graphic needs, as requested.
  • Collaborate with marketing staff to ensure coordinated design of all exhibition-related communications and appropriate recognition of sponsors.

Secondary responsibilities

  • Participate in departmental planning meetings, full staff meetings, project-specific meetings, and trustee committee meetings, as requested. Participate in strategic planning with other staff, trustees, and appropriate committees.
  • Review marketing, education, and other material produced on art, the museum’s collection, and the exhibitions to ensure accuracy.
  • Coordinate with facility rentals, special events, and security staff to ensure a safe and hospitable environment.
  • Represent the institution within the local and professional communities.
  • Train and supervise volunteers.
  • Consult on submissions for retail sale, the Art Auction, and Summerfair, as requested.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum skills and qualifications:

  • BA or BFA
  • Two years’ relevant curatorial or gallery experience
  • A passionate interest in art and knowledge of regional and/or contemporary American art
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Office suite, digital image management, InDesign
  • Excellent design abilities
  • Good physical shape: able to climb ladders, lift 40+ pounds, and operate machinery (with training)
  • Excellent organizational, project management, and multi-tasking skills
  • Detail-oriented, manual dexterity, problem-solving abilities
  • Valid Montana driver’s license

How to apply:
Submit a resume, cover letter, and three references to curator@artmuseum.org, or mail to Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 North 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101

Full post: http://museum-employment.com/page5/page10/rwjobcol.html

Temporary Librarian – The Costume Institute, New York, NY

The Thomas J. Watson Library in The Metropolitan Museum of Art is seeking a candidate for a part-time position of a Temporary Librarian for the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library located in the Costume Institute department. This is a four-day, 28 hours per week, position.

The Temporary Librarian will perform a variety of public and technical services functions in the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library for six months while the librarian is on maternity leave. Working in close coordination with Watson staff, this position will provide public service for the Costume Institute Library’s varied clientele including department staff and visiting researchers, mediating access to the collection.  Other tasks include selecting new materials, prepare periodicals for binding, assist with the processing backlogs of un-cataloged material and digitization projects.

See http://libmma.org/portal/temporary-librarian-the-costume-institute/ for a complete description of the position and of the Museum libraries.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applicants should submit a cover letter indicating how they satisfy the requirements above, a resume, and the names of three references to the following e-mail address: lib.search@metmuseum.org with “Temporary Librarian, The Costume Institute” in the subject line.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without unlawful discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or citizenship status in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, lay-off and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

Job Posting: Archives Assistant (Term), Harvard's Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA

https://www.higheredjobs.com/search/details.cfm?JobCode=176086815

Duties & Responsibilities:
This position is responsible for processing archival collections, including arranging and describing, cataloguing, rehousing, tracking locations and transferring to storage. The position is also responsible for managing digitization projects of the Museum’s large holdings of photographic collections. The position is needed to prepare Peabody archival collections for a proposed renovation, to track and move collections, and to establish intellectual control over the backlog of unprocessed archival collections and new accessions. This position will rehouse, catalogue, track and coordinate move of photographic material to off-site storage locations. Rehouse as needed, catalogue, track and coordinate move of map collection and oversize plans, prints and drawings (8,000+ items). Process (arrange, describe, rehouse, catalogue) archival collections to prepare for storage. Perform research pertaining to materials as needed to gain intellectual control. Oversee image scanning projects by student and LHT employees; provides training in technical procedures. Performs quality control of TMS (The Museum System) data associated with digital projects. Assists with the daily activities in the Peabody Museum Archives as needed. Other duties as required.

Basic Qualifications:
Two years experience as a collections technician, archivist assistant or related position in an archive, library or museum working directly with archival collections

Additional Qualifications:
Knowledge of issues of handling, storage, and preservation of fragile archival collections. Solid knowledge of established archival standards and best practices for processing archival materials. Proficiency with relational databases such as TMS (The Museum System), and knowledge of basic metadata and descriptive standards for anthropological collections. Technology skills, including digital imaging hardware and software, , Microsoft Office, XML, HTML and EAD. Familiarity with archaeology and anthropology disciplines. Ability to work independently and as part of a team and communicate effectively with museum staff. Excellent organizational skills and ability to establish priorities and focus on designated tasks to meet project deadlines. Ability to lift heavy boxes.

Additional Information:
All formal offers will be made by FAS Human Resources

A strong internal candidate has been identified

This is a term position with a scheduled end date of Dec. 31, 2016

Job Posting: Archives Assistant (Temp., P/T), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY

The Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is seeking candidates for a temporary part-time Archives Assistant position. The position is 14 hours per week for six months, working on a project to survey archival materials held by curatorial and other departments throughout the Museum under the direction of the Chief Librarian and Managing Archivist.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties

  • Survey archival materials in Museum offices to determine number of distinct collections, their physical extent and condition, preservation needs, and research potential
  • Enter information about archival collections into survey database.

Requirements and Qualifications

Experience and Skills

  • Basic knowledge of preservation and conservation practices for historical records required.
  • Familiarity with archival surveys, and with standards for the arrangement and description of archival collections required.
  • Experience entering information into Microsoft Access or similar database required.
  • Strong oral communication skills required.

Knowledge and Education

  • BA degree in art history, history or related field required.
  • Some coursework completed towards Masters Degree in Library Science, Information Science, or History/Archival Management required.

Please send a cover letter and resume to lib.search@metmuseum.org , with “archives assistant” in the subject line.

http://libmma.org/portal/temporary-part-time-archives-assistant-20150618

Job Postings!

Art Librarian – Special Collections and Archives
Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens
Washington, DC

http://joblist.ala.org/modules/jobseeker/Art-Librarian–Special-Collections-and-Archives/29798.cfm


Media Curation Librarian
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California

http://joblist.ala.org/modules/jobseeker/Media-Curation-Librarian/29810.cfm


Museum Specialist (Art) (Photo Archives)

Smithsonian Institution

Wasingston, DC

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/406517900

Job Opportunities: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, OH

Digital Asset Systems Manager – Job No. 1504

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is currently considering applicants for the position of Digital Asset Systems Manager. The Digital Asset Systems Manager reports to the VP of Technology. This position holds a critical role at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and will be a key player in the new Technology division as we architect the digital ecosystem that will support exhibits, web, mobile, and educational content for years to come. The Digital Asset Systems Manager evaluates, recommends, and implements methodologies, standards, and software for the centralized
storage, management, preservation, and distribution of institutional digital assets. The Digital Asset Systems Manager also deploys, supports, and maintains technology resources in the Library and Archives, including specialized library applications and hardware. The ideal candidate will have experience with Digital Asset Management (DAM), Content Management, and library and archives management systems, with specific experience integrating these systems and creating public-facing portals to allow exploration and interaction with content. The ideal candidate will also bring a
knowledge of, and passion for, the history of rock and roll and related music genres.

https://workforcenow.adp.com/jobs/apply/posting.html?client=ROCKROLLFA&jobId=31294&lang=en_US

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Project Archivist

The Project Archivist reports to the Head Archivist and is responsible for processing the Jane Scott Papers, and performing preservation digitization of her reporter’s notebooks. This is a temporary, full-time, 3-month Ohio History grant-funded position that requires specialized archival work.

https://workforcenow.adp.com/jobs/apply/posting.html?client=ROCKROLLFA&jobId=30657&lang=en_US

Job Opportunity: Archives Technician (Cataloger), Term, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

This position is located in the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (FSA). The galleries are devoted to the research, acquisition, exhibition, care, and management of the collections of Asian art in each museum and American art in the Freer Gallery. The two museums are co administered and share the same staff; however, they maintain separate identities. The collections of both museums are complementary, and provide extensive resources for original research, exhibitions, and the preservation of the cultural heritage of Asia.

The incumbent applies expert research techniques to serve as a manuscripts collections cataloger, responsible for creating online records representing overall collections, series, and item descriptions illustrated with digital representations. The records are made available online through the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center (CSC).

Duties:

  • Cataloging extensive holdings of documents, photographs, drawings and ephemera relating to the history, scholarship and appreciation of Asian and Near Eastern art, archaeological and architecture.
  • Link records to digital surrogates uploaded into the Smithsonian’s Digital Assets Management System (DAMS).
  • Support the identification of portions of collections to be cataloged and made available online and research the accuracy and thoroughness of catalog entries.

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/404204000

Job Opportunity: Library Assistant I (Part-time), The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA

OVERVIEW
The Library Assistant I will process the M. Knoedler & Co. archive as part of a four-person processing team. The influential art dealer M. Knoedler & Co. was one of the first art galleries established in the United States and played an instrumental role in shaping the emergent American art market in the mid 19th century. The processing team will focus on the gallery’s business records, and the research and photographic files maintained by the firm regarding artworks and collectors. This is a limited-term, part-time position (20 hours per week) through June 2016.

RESPONSIBILITIES
Duties include: re-housing collection materials into archival containers; organizing materials according to an arrangement plan; following local procedures to prepare a container list in the finding aid; preservation photocopying; other duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS
Required qualifications: bachelor’s degree or course work in art history or a related discipline; good organizational and communication skills; ability to work both independently and collaboratively with efficiency and attention to detail in a production-oriented environment; ability to lift 40 pounds.

Preferred qualifications: experience handling archival materials or special collections; experience with databases. Works under direct supervision on assignments that are routine in nature.

Qualifications:
    • Undergraduate course work in art history or related discipline
    • 0-2 years related experience
    • Reading knowledge in at least one foreign language preferred
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to lift boxes and push book trucks up to 40 pounds.
  • Experience with common office software applications
  • Ability to learn new technologies and software applications.
  • Must be comfortable working collaboratively