Museum Vision and Mission:
MOHAI is treasured locally and respected nationally as a vibrant resource where history inspires us to build a better future. To serve our region, we bridge the past, present, and future by collecting, preserving, and sharing stories through compelling, innovative exhibits and community engagement.
Position Title: Curator of Exhibits
Reports To: Chief of Exhibits & Interpretive Services (CEIS)
Location: MOHAI, at Lake Union Park’s historic Armory building
Classification: Exempt; Full-time; Salaried
Schedule: Monday – Friday, with occasional evenings and weekends
Rate of Pay: $65,000 – $80,000 per year
Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance and participation in a 403(b) savings plan
Under the supervision of the CEIS, and working cooperatively with staff across the museum, the Curator of Exhibits is responsible for exhibition content creative direction and design development of exhibits. This position facilitates multiple stages of exhibit development for both in-house and online exhibitions, working with the MOHAI team and including community collaboration where appropriate, to develop exhibit theme, content, objectives, and outcome. Depending on the project, the Curator of Exhibits guides the process as project lead or collaborates with others as a team member. This individual also contributes and participates in reaching the overall exhibits/museum goals on other exhibit projects. This newly imagined position is a member of the Interpretive Services team and the museum’s extended leadership team, reporting to the CEIS and supervising three staff.
- In collaboration with the Interpretive Services team and/or stakeholders and community partners:
- conduct historical research and/or cultivate content for the development of exhibitions;
- select artifacts, photos, film/video; write and edit label copy for new exhibits; and develop techniques to communicate exhibit topics, including participating in interactive and online exhibition development.
- Day-to-day supervision of staff: Senior Exhibits Designer, Exhibits Fabricator, and Exhibits Project Manager. Coordinate staff as appropriate and distribute work as needed.
- Ensure that all interactions are culturally responsive, respectful, and based on a foundation of MOHAI’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
- Plan exhibit concepts. Develop, organize, and manage the exhibit content review process.
- Serve as the main point of contact during the curatorial process, including: monitoring the contractual process, scoping project budgets, leading and/or supporting the research and script writing effort, artifact selection, and physical exhibit design.
- Support other team members with specific tasks during the exhibit development process. Work with vendors and external curators; oversee construction of prototypes; evaluate exhibits; acquire resources and permissions; support exhibit design and production contractors or others on the team managing that work; and ensure on-time product delivery.
- Uphold the museum’s standards of excellence, helping to ensure that the integrity of core messages is maintained throughout the design, fabrication, and installation stages.
- Work with and direct other contractors such as editors, interactive designers, and video producers to produce content, in addition to temporary contractors involved with material production and installation. Organize and format the information for use by designers and other developers.
- Oversee supervision of exhibit installation and de-installation. Periodic recruitment and/or supervision of part-time production and installation crews. Support the maintenance and upkeep of installed exhibits.
- Work across departments to communicate plans, coordinate initiatives, monitor budgets, ensure the accuracy of information, implement evaluation and remediation strategies, secure artifact loans, and manage collections for display.
- Assist the CEIS and other departments with requests for information regarding exhibits and history, answering queries from the public, preparing documentation for grants or awards, and/or giving public presentations.
- Maintain positive community relationships. Seek out opportunities for engagement or collaboration with external institutions/partners.
- Opportunity to serve on IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Committees.
- Attendance at museum-sponsored events may be required.
- Other duties as assigned.
- 5+ years of exhibit curatorial experience.
- Bachelor’s degree in museology, design, art, history, architecture, or other related field or any equivalent combination of experience and/or education from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved. Master’s or PhD preferred.
- Broad knowledge of Pacific Northwest history.
- Knowledge of, and experience with, museum and exhibition methods and practices. Experience with digital exhibition delivery tools/platforms preferred.
- Proven track record of managing complex projects with multiple stakeholders and of managing budgets.
- Ability to manage multiple projects responsively, shifting workflow/timeline when necessary and as needed.
- Demonstrated ability to assess progress, address problems, and develop creative solutions.
- Self-motivated. Takes initiative. Able to work both independently and as a contributing team member.
- Effective communication skills, including excellent research, writing, and editing experience. Public speaking experience a plus.
- Proficiency with MS Office software.
- Willingness and ability to travel between museum locations and work nights/weekends as required.
- Bilingual and multilingual skills valued.
- Enthusiasm for MOHAI’s exhibits, programs, and mission.
Find yourself checking many of these boxes but doubting whether you should apply? If you meet some of the requirements and you share MOHAI’s values and support our mission, we encourage you to apply. As part of our ongoing commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, we’re invested in building teams with a wide variety of backgrounds, identities, and experiences.
For 70 years, MOHAI has been dedicated to enriching lives by preserving, sharing, and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and the nation. With a collection of nearly 4 million artifacts, photographs, oral histories and archival items, and an expansive schedule of exhibits and programs, MOHAI is the region’s premier history center. MOHAI operates a dramatic and award-winning museum in Seattle’s vibrant South Lake Union neighborhood and a resource center in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. MOHAI also hosts the Bezos Center for Innovation, focusing on the history and future of innovation in the Puget Sound region. MOHAI is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and has been selected by USA Today as one of the Top Ten History Museums in the nation. For more information, please visit mohai.org.
Please e-mail letter of interest, resume, and three references to Human.Resources@mohai.org.
No phone calls, please.
MOHAI is a 501(c)(3) organization and an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to building a team and an organizational culture that fosters inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. We encourage candidates of color to apply.