With the mission to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit, the Abbe Museum is a decolonizing museum, offering changing exhibitions and a robust programming schedule for all ages, welcoming 30,000 visitors each year on Mount Desert Island, Maine, home of Acadia National Park. Wabanaki people are engaged in all aspects of the museum, from curatorial roles to policymaking. Below is a summary of the position; please view the full posting on the Abbe website here.
Description: The Director of Collections & Research is a highly visible position within the fast-paced Abbe Museum environment with three main areas of focus—collections care & management, exhibitions, and research.
Collections Care & Management: Primary responsibility for the Wellman Archaeology Research Laboratory and Collections Storage and the documentation, management, and care of the museum’s collections and institutional archives, seeking to make them accessible to internal and external audiences and to make sure the museum maintains a high level of accuracy.
Exhibitions: Co-Manages the Abbe’s interpretive content with the Curator of Education, as guided by the Native Advisory Council and leads the exhibits team to plan, organize, and implement exhibits and frequently serves as project manager and content specialist.
Research: Provides support for researchers within well-defined guidelines; keeps abreast of current publications relative to research methods, techniques, and developments; supports the dissemination of findings; acts as a content specialist to the Museum board and staff members.
Tribal Relationships: Provides direct support and relevant resources to Wabanaki communities in support of collections care and management, and exhibitions, upon request.
Project Management: Acts as project manager on grant-funded internal projects in collections care and management, exhibitions, and research, as assigned by the Executive Director.
The Director of Collections & Research communicates the museum’s vision and mission and carries out policies and procedures established by the Executive Director and the Trustees. The Director may be assigned to other duties as required by the small museum environment, including event, fundraising, and guest services support.
Experience and Education: An advanced degree in museum work or equivalent experience and a background in Native American studies, anthropology, or archaeology. Three to five years of experience in a museum setting preferred. Leadership and project management experience preferred. Thorough familiarity with computers and collections management software is a must. Current knowledge of decolonizing museum practices, museum best practices, Native concerns, and Indigenous research best practices is essential. Experience working with tribal nations is required, experience with Wabanaki nations is preferred.
Required Skills: The Director of Collections & Research is skilled in cataloging and registration techniques, artifact cataloging and research, exhibit planning and creation. Independent judgment, decision-making authority, and common sense are essential. The Director of Collections & Research must also have the highest standards of integrity and be capable of working under pressure and meeting deadlines.
Preferred Skills: Preference is given to candidates with NAGPRA experience, skills in the fabrication of exhibit and storage supports, and those versed in environmental best practices as detailed by the Abbe’s collections and greening policies. Candidates who are outgoing, self-starting, well-organized, tactful, detail-oriented, and innovative will excel. Ability to manage relationships and work closely with a small team are preferred, given the small museum environment. Familiarity with cultural heritage, archival, and archeological collections will allow candidate to excel.
Institutional Expectations: Every employee participates as a fully integrated part of the team. Every employee is mindful of our fundraising needs and is involved in the process. Every employee is committed to furthering the decolonizing work of the museum.