Personal Statement Museum Job Descriptions

Employment

Information on job, internship, and other opportunities to work at the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art. 


Staff positions

Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Operations

Duties
Reporting to the Dana Feitler Director, The Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Operations is a vital member of the senior leadership team at the museum, as he/she oversees the exhibitions logistics, registration, finance, administration and operations of the museum, supervising managers in each of those divisions. Working closely with the Director and the senior members of the Curatorial and Audience Engagement and Public practice teams, the DDEO has ultimate oversight and responsibility for all non-content production related activities at the museum.

  • He/she leads and is responsible for the successful planning, production, management, and completion of the museum’s entire exhibitions program (including, special exhibitions, travelling exhibitions, focused exhibitions, and collections rotations). The position calls for a strong leader to strategize, plan and manage a complicated exhibition schedule of more than 10 different exhibitions annually, working as a trusted partner with both the museum’s curatorial and registrations staff and a wide range of faculty, students, and other guest curators to develop a process for each project that allows the set goals to be met.
  • The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of supervisory experience, having led the planning and implementation of exhibitions in a museum or gallery setting with a team of staff and contractors and being equally familiar with museums best practices in collections care and maintenance. The DDEO will be responsible for overseeing the development of exhibition schedules and budgets, and working with curatorial, education, registration, communications, operations, and security departments to identify and manage all logistics of exhibitions, including overseeing tour details for travelling exhibitions.
  • The DDEO also provides active leadership in the Museum’s general administration in accordance with its educational mission and objectives, including overall management and long-term strategic planning. Critical to this position is the proven ability to develop and implement effective financial management and operational policies, as well as the initiative to work collaboratively with other senior managers and staff, and to communicate effectively and collegially with a diverse community of faculty, students, administrators, and patrons.


The DDEO is responsible for overseeing all financial, administrative, and operational aspects of the Museum. Key responsibilities include managing the museum’s multi-million dollar operating budget and maintaining the policies and goals that govern its operations, personnel, and financial performance. The DDEO supports and advises the Director in developing strategic objectives, decision making, and in fulfilling the mission of the museum, and the DDEO takes a leadership role in establishing institutional policies, practices, and direction. The DDEO also serves as the lead liaison to the university for finance and operations, including working closely with the University leadership.

Qualifications

  • B.A. required, preferably in Museum Studies, Arts Administration, or a related field or comparable work experience in those areas. Graduate level studies preferred
  • A senior museum professional with a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible supervisory experience managing registrars, preparators, and exhibition staff, with a deep knowledge of exhibition concepts, practices, policies and procedures, is required. Proven supervisory and leadership skills; a solutions-oriented, diplomatic problem solver and team player.
  • Experience within a highly productive international operation is preferred. Knowledge of current and emerging trends of museums and cultural institutions is a key component to a candidate’s potential success in this role. Knowledge of professional museum practices.
  • Extensive experience in the preparation of financial statements; knowledge of fund accounting and not-for-profit management. 

  • Experience leading an institute-wide budget process to completion on a timely basis and then providing ongoing monitoring of financial performance and measuring against approved budgets. 

  • A proven track record of managing multiple complex projects simultaneously and staying on budget and on time. Self-confident and secure; unflappable in the face of multiple problems; pragmatic, grounded, authoritative, decisive and disciplined; mentally flexible and creative as circumstances demand. A creative problem-solver who is nimble and able address and lead a team to solve any unexpected challenges.
  • Superlative communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills grounded in excellent judgment; a diplomatic ambassador who can assess risk, hold a position, engage diverse partners and drive complicated deals to closure. Experience negotiating and managing contracts and legal agreements.
  • A true collaborator about whom all sides consider possesses a strong sense of integrity and an unerring ethical compass in a dynamic cultural arena.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish priorities, manage shifting priorities, and handle numerous time-sensitive projects with multiple deadlines.
  • Ability to accomplish goals working through formal and informal channels, with diplomacy and tactfulness.
  • Demonstrated creativity, problem solving, critical analysis, initiative, judgment and, decision-making skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and meet budget goals.
  • Demonstrated solid planning and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong relevant subject matter knowledge.
  • Ability to direct the work of others, for jobs requiring supervision.

Compensation
Full-time, benefits-eligible. 

To Apply
To apply, send cover letter, resume, and references via jobopportunities.uchicago.edu. Search for requisition #103523.


Docent program

Smart Museum docents serve as public ambassadors for the Smart Museum and assist the Museum in fulfilling its educational mission as gallery teachers for a range of K–12, University, and adult audiences. Docents also assist with the facilitation of programming across the museum, including family engagement, collaborative arts partnerships, and public programs addressing critical contemporary issues.  Docents are supported through paid training course, mentorship structure, and ongoing training sessions with guest facilitators.

Docent positions are available to University of Chicago students as well as Odyssey Project alumni.

The Smart does not have open docent positions at this time. Please check back in the future. 


University of Chicago student positions

The following jobs and internships are only available to University of Chicago students.


Internships

University of Chicago students gain direct experience in museum work through year- and summer-long internships in a variety of areas, including our curatorial, registration, education, marketing, and business offices. Qualifications vary by department; all positions are paid and require approximately 10–19 hours of work each week.


SUMMER INTERNSHIPS

The Smart Museum of Art, Department of Art History, and UChicago Careers in Journalism, Arts, and Media are proud to offer several full-time Jeff Metcalf internships across the Museum this summer:


Applications due Monday, April 9, at 11:55 pm

See postings and apply at: uchicago.joinhandshake.com


Baristas

Café Attendants are an integral part of the hospitality team at the Smart Museum and ensure that our patrons have a welcoming, positive experience in the Smart Café. Café attendants are responsible for serving coffee and prepared foods to patrons of the Smart Museum, as well as selling gift shop merchandise. We are looking for friendly, personable students who would enjoy working in a museum setting. Work schedules are flexible quarterly to fit around a student’s class schedule.

Qualifications
University of Chicago student. Strong interpersonal and customer service skills required. Interest in visual art encouraged. Previous food service or retail experience preferred, but not required. Work study eligible.

Hours
Starting immediately with year-round employment, approximately 8–15 hours per week.

Pay rate
Starts at $11/hour plus tips.

To apply
To apply, please fill out an application at the Museum’s information desk. Applications are always accepted. If you have questions, contact Kate Kelly, Guest Services and Operations Manager.


Gallery Attendants

The Smart Museum of Art’s Gallery Attendants are responsible for maintaining security within the Smart Museum gallery and lobby areas during public hours. Within this role, the Gallery Attendant acts as a public representative of the Museum and the University by greeting patrons and providing information as needed. Work schedules are flexible quarterly and can be designed to fit around a student’s class schedule. Docents who wish to receive additional working hours at the Museum are strongly encouraged to apply and will receive a premium hourly rate.

Qualifications
University of Chicago student. Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills. Interest in visual art encouraged. Ability to stand for long periods of time. Work-study encouraged, but not required.

Hours
Starting immediately with year-round employment, approximately 8–15 hours per week.

Pay rate
$11/hour; higher if a multi-session docent cross-training program is completed

To apply
To apply, please fill out an application at the Museum’s information desk. Applications are always accepted.


The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information, please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination. Academic job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773.702.5671 or email ACOppAdministrator@uchicago.edu with their request. Staff job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773.834.1841 or email talentacquisition@uchicago.edu with their request. 

  • MondayGalleries closed
  • Tuesday10 am–5 pm
  • Wednesday10 am–5 pm
  • Thursday10 am–8 pm
  • Friday10 am–5 pm
  • Saturday10 am–5 pm
  • Sunday10 am–5 pm

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Job Description

Do you love checking out the latest exhibitions? Do you think the Tate is great? Are you the Barbican’s biggest fan?  Do you think the Wellcome Collection is verging on perfection? Well, you’re in the right place!

Museum and gallery exhibitions don’t just spring up out of thin air – they need to be planned, organised, managed and promoted by a dedicated museum/gallery exhibitions officer. These project managers are the clever people who make the UK’s cultural landscape so fantastic.

Performing a diverse range of tasks, from procurement and PR to marketing and events management, museum/gallery exhibition officers are responsible for coordinating travelling exhibitions, permanent exhibitions and one-off cultural extravaganzas.

Occasionally, aspects of a museum/gallery exhibitions officer’s job will involve curatorial duties, such as conducting research, liaising with artists or collectors, deciding which pieces will feature in the exhibition, and contributing to the design and layout of everything.

Once an exhibition has been planned and designed properly, museum/gallery exhibitions officers are responsible for overseeing the installation of exhibits, organising transport and making sure everything is set up in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner.

The additional responsibilities of a museum/gallery exhibitions officer might include budget management, promotion, marketing and website content management.

Salary & benefits

At entry level, museum/gallery exhibitions officers tend to earn between £17,000 and £21,000 per annum, while senior professionals can earn up to £40,000 a year.

Working hours

A museum/gallery exhibitions officer’s working hours are determined by the opening hours of the museum or gallery where they work. Consequently, you might be required to work evenings, weekends and national holidays occasionally, especially during peak seasons such as school holidays.

If your role involves organising road shows and mobile exhibitions, you will often be required to travel around the UK.

Some galleries and museums have late night openings, e.g. Late at Tate Modern and Science Museum Lates. Consequently, you may be required to ‘burn the midnight oil’ from time to time.

Entry

To enter this profession you will need an undergraduate degree in any subject. Generally though, a degree in a subject such as history, fine art, history of art, museum studies, classics, archaeology, war studies, anthropology or geography will be perfect for roles in art galleries, historical museums and places of cultural significance, such as the V&A, Imperial War Museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

On the other hand, a scientific, engineering or I.T.-focused degree will be useful if you want to work in an establishment such as the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum or the Eden Project.

A relevant postgraduate degree in museum studies can also boost your chances of securing employment.

Although a degree is traditionally the only route into this profession, the sector skills council Creative & Cultural Skills has created an innovative Cultural Heritage Apprenticeship for young people who wish to enter the museum and gallery industry without going to university.

Whatever route you decide to take, it’s essential that you gain relevant work experience in a museum or gallery. This is an incredibly competitive area of work, so volunteering with a museum, gallery or similar institution is a great idea.

Training & progression

Professional training and development is largely self-initiated, though various professional bodies offer courses and opportunities for professional development, such as the Museums Association.

Opportunities for career progression within large museums and galleries are limited to supervisory and managerial positions.

However, some museum/gallery exhibition officers may eventually move into other areas of work, such as events management, marketing and project management. 

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