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Collections Assistant, Contemporary Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

How You Will Contribute: The Collections Assistant works with and supports curatorial staff in the management, care, exhibition, and development of the museum’s extensive and world-renowned holdings of Contemporary Art. You work under the supervision of the Head of the Department of Contemporary Art. As a member of the museum’s curatorial staff, the Collections Assistant is expected to participate in aspects of the work of the museum to enable it to fulfill its mission and to maintain the highest standards of scholarship, connoisseurship, and professional practices in the field.

Specifically, you will:

  • Work under the direction of the Head of the Department of Contemporary Art and in cooperation with other members of the museum’s curatorial staff to achieve the mission of the institution and its strategic objectives.
  • Work closely with the museum’s Conservation, Registration, Installations and Packing, Exhibition Planning, Exhibition Design, Photography, Education, Editorial and Graphic Design (EGD), Library and Archives, Protection Services, Facilities & Operations, and Information & Interpretive Technologies (IIT) staff to ensure that works of art in the department’s permanent collection and on loan are properly documented, cared for, transported, stored, and effectively displayed according to the museum’s best practices and for the enjoyment and education of the public.
  • Coordinate object moves and associated paperwork to and from galleries, storage areas, conservation spaces, and any other museum facilities or off-site locations, as needed. Update object locations in TMS and associated object records when moves are complete.
  • Work with Contemporary Art curators to coordinate all art installations and rotations in the department’s permanent galleries. This involves planning with Art Handling, Conservation, Exhibition Design, Exhibition Planning, EGD, IIT, Facilities & Operations, and other departments as needed. Notify Protection Services, Education, and Visitor Services staff of art moves and related gallery closures. Update object exhibition histories and TMS records as appropriate.
  • Facilitate all acquisition activities and manages accessioning and deaccessioning processes in accordance with the museum’s Collections Management Policy and Acquisition Documentation and Procedures documents.
  • Assist department in preparations for acquisition proposal presentations at biannual Contemporary Art Committee Meetings.
  • Work with staff to coordinate packing, storage, and photography of approved acquisitions, as appropriate.
  • Support curators, conservators, and registrars in the coordination of incoming and outgoing loans. This work should be understood as encompassing every aspect of lending or borrowing an artwork. 
  • Participate in the Contemporary Conservation Working Group (CCWG), an interdepartmental working group dedicated to advancing the museum’s best practices in the care, research, and display of contemporary art. The CCWG includes staff members from across the museum.
  • Monitor galleries to identify maintenance needs and assist in scheduling all necessary cleaning, repairs, and furniture installation or moves through the Facility & Operation Department.
  • Draft yearly fiscal budgets for the Contemporary Art Department with the Departmental Assistant and other identified staff. This includes the department’s annual Operating Budget and the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art.  More specifically, you will be responsible for drafting budgets for all planned installations and rotations in the department’s permanent galleries and is expected to work with Contemporary Art curators, Exhibition Planning, and other departments as needed to draft said budgets.
  • Assist visiting in-house and external researchers to access permanent collection object files. Assist researchers in arranging viewings of works in-person, as approved by curatorial, conservation, and registration staff.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Department Head.


Your diverse background includes:

  • Minimum three years’ experience in the field
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Broad knowledge of museum practices in the related fields of conservation, registration, art handling, and exhibition planning
  • Basic familiarity with contemporary art
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully with others—including artists, galleries, lenders, and museum staff—to achieve institutional objectives
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills, attention to detail, and strong written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work with The Museum System (TMS) and proficiency with other technical systems, such as Microsoft Office Suite
Education Level: 
Bachelor's Degree
To Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume with your online application at: