The MSU Museum, the university’s museum of science and culture, invites applicants for the position of American History Curator. The Museum is committed to exploring the natural universe and humanity’s place within it.This curatorial position, which includes teaching one course per year, is responsible for helping steward, research, and interpret the Museum’s rich history collections.
Description of duties
Position will provide leadership to American History and related programs at the Museum, including collection development, documentation, care, and access activities, in close partnership with faculty in History and related disciplines at MSU. Delivery of diverse educational products for university students, schools, and the general public. In particular, the position will ensure Museum history and other cultural collections are used effectively in MSU courses, especially in History and related fields, engaging MSU students and community partners, with an emphasis on bringing to light the voices and experiences of historically disenfranchised and marginalized communities.
Public Scholarship and Outreach
- Full engagement in team-based approaches to exhibition development, public program design, and educational projects, working closely with other museum staff, faculty, students, contractors, and other university and community partners
- Lead efforts in collection documentation and management, and advise on collection acquisitions
- Work closely with faculty in History and related departments and programs, as well as Museum Education staff, to develop effective learning modules for undergraduate and graduate classes to make creative use of museum’s historical and cultural collections.
- In consultation with Museum Education staff, participate in partnerships with K-12 teachers and community organizations in engaging young people, including those from historically marginalized or excluded backgrounds, in the study of history through objects and material culture.
- Build the Museum’s collections-based research and educational capacities through productive relationships with faculty, students, education and museum sectors, other targeted sectors aligned with university priorities, and other partners that strategically advance the mission and priorities of the Museum
- Provide training and mentoring for staff, students and volunteers; supervise student internships, especially in history/public history and museum studies
- Provide information to and assist students, faculty, staff, the public, and the media on topics relating to collections, research and work of the Museum
- Collaborate with collection managers and other curatorial staff in overseeing loan and other outreach programs for collections
- Provide leadership in public access to collections, including physical access and access to collection information via databases and other systems, with a demonstrated commitment to making collections accessible to persons from historically underrepresented backgrounds
- Assist in the development of innovative digital representations of complex historical datasets, on platforms such as NOAA’s Science on a Sphere
- Develop and manage grant and other funding proposals to support Museum programs
- Conduct original research related to field(s) of expertise and the Museum’s collections
- Communicate results of research through diverse media including exhibitions, peer-reviewed publications, catalogs, seminars, conferences, social media, new technologies and web-based platforms.
- Position could be a Principal Investigator for grant submissions
- Teaching one course a year, normally in the Department of History, on a topic to be agreed upon between the Department and the Museum. Potential course topics include public history; the cultural politics of memory; material culture studies; decolonizing historical practice.
- Deliver occasional lectures and workshops to MSU students
- Support students through mentoring, work experience/internships, and support of faculty coursework
- As appropriate, supervising student internships, hosting student classes in collections, and some participation in student courses is expected
Doctorate -History or a related field of sociocultu
Masters -History or a related field of sociocultu
- Ph.D. in history or a related field of sociocultural studies, with a focus on meaning in the material world
- Training and expertise in public history and diverse perspectives on North American history and societies.
- At least three to five years of experience in a museum or similar work environment
- Experience in collection curation and management, including processes of collection development, accessioning, cataloguing, care, and commitment to making collections accessible for research and education to scholars and others from diverse backgrounds
- Experience in researching and delivering object-based learning experiences especially exhibits, both real and virtual through team-based, collaborative processes; knowledge of exhibit design and educational processes for the public desirable
- Strong knowledge of U.S history from the nineteenth-century through the contemporary period; comparative familiarity with material culture worldwide an advantage
- Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both written and orally, to diverse professional and lay audiences
- Project management skills, including experience in managing budgets and multidisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and community partners
- Demonstrated commitment to interdisciplinary perspectives on history, culture and society is expected; interest and expertise in integrative collaboration with scholars in STEM disciplines would be well regarded
- Skills in digital humanities and emerging technologies, including social media, for public history and education projects, highly desirable; familiarity expected with office software and collection databases.
- Knowledge of the theory and methods of object-based learning highly desirable
- Experience in fund-raising through grants, contracts, donations, and other mechanisms highly desirable
- Engagement in museum and public history professional associations and disciplinary societies would be well regarded
Required Application Materials
1. Cover Letter (indicating academic training, research interests, museum experience, teaching experience, and potential courses that might be offered in the area of public history and museum studies)
3. One academic writing sample (single authored)
4. One original syllabus (in public history or a related topic)
5. Contact information for three professional references
Review of Applications Begins On
Summary of Physical Demands
Engaging and inspiring campus and community through science and culture.
A campus and community inspired to explore and connect with the wonder, fragility, and complexity of our world.
We believe that:
The MSU Museum allows students to become committed scholars through object-based learning and solve critical issues in partnership with our most vulnerable citizens.
The MSU Museum is a staging ground for engaged and conscientious citizens to work with and transform communities.
The MSU Museum offers the possibility of original discovery to all, from young learners to advanced researchers, using objects to expand our understanding of the universe and our place within it.
Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.