Serve as the Assistant Curator (Drawings Prints and Graphic Design)

Serves as the Assistant Curator in the department of Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design in the Curatorial Division. Ideally, he/she/they will have a demonstrated expertise in a core strength of the collection, for example, 18th-century French design and decorative arts, 18th-century Italian architectural drawing, or European ornament prints. Given Cooper Hewitt’s emphasis on the historic and contemporary continuum, it is essential that the incumbent have interest in modern and contemporary design and a solid knowledge of art and design history. The purpose of the position is to fulfill a full range of curatorial responsibilities within the department, including collections management, facilitating access to the collection, scholarly research, exhibition planning/production, publishing, and administration. The incumbent serves on museum and Smithsonian Institution (SI) committees as appropriate and as assigned. This position reports to the Head of the department and works closely and collaboratively with colleagues across Curatorial (including Conservation, Exhibitions and Registrar), as well as with those in Learning and Audience Engagement, Cross-Platform Publishing, and Digital and Emerging Media.

Research and Professional Development (30%)
Conducts research related to the incumbent’s area(s) of expertise or as assigned, whether in support of museum projects (including exhibitions) or independent efforts of moderate scope and complexity with little supervision.

Research outputs may include: object and gallery texts; exhibition and museum brochures; web-based interpretive texts; acquisition proposals identifying history, meaning, and significance of proposed objects; exhibition catalogues in print or digital media; conference presentations; research-based expansion of collections information to improve accuracy and completeness of databases; articles in popular, professional, and peer-reviewed journals; book chapters and contributions to exhibition catalogues.

Collections Management (25%)
Oversees documentation of collections in area(s) of expertise to provide full and accurate records on collection objects and proposed deaccessions, as well as enhance and expand access to the collection for both scholars and a broad public.

Proposes priorities for strengthening collections through acquisitions and deaccessions within area(s) of expertise. Actively pursues contacts and represents the museum in negotiations.

Works cooperatively with departmental colleagues and colleagues in Conservation and Registrar to provide care for collections in area(s) of expertise by advising on proper storage, identifying conservation and rehousing needs, and prioritizing photography needs.

Exhibitions (25%)
Conceives and implements exhibitions and installations of notable originality, scholarly merit, and public appeal that extend knowledge of collection and related objects, as well as the broader history of decorative arts and design. Initiates original scholarship that elevates the field.

Publishes related articles, brochures or on-line features, working with Cross-Platform Publishing, Exhibitions, and Digital and Emerging Media. Develops related programs with Learning and Audience Engagement that have public appeal and contribute to scholarship in the subject. May serve as in-house curator for exhibitions originating at another institution.

Public Outreach (20%)
Presents talks for museum, public, professional, and scholarly audiences, including guest lectures for Parsons/The New School and other New York metropolitan area colleges and universities. May participate in symposia, panel discussions, or other public programs to extend understanding of museum collection and exhibitions to national and international audiences.

Responds to external research requests and general public inquiries regarding collections, exhibitions, and the museum on behalf of the curatorial department when appropriate and as directed.

Supervises or assists in supervising departmental visitors and makes objects available for study as appropriate.

Serves on internal SI committees.

Serves as mentor to fellows and interns and provides expertise in deliberations related to museum and SI-wide fellowship programs.

Works with Advancement in proactively seeking funding from internal SI and external sources for project support.


An advanced degree in art history, design or decorative arts, with a specialization in pre-1900 works on paper.

Expert knowledge of the history of American and European design and decorative arts, its principles, traditions, historical contexts, and research methods dating from the 1400 to the present.

Reading knowledge of at least two European languages, preferably Italian, French, and/or German, is mandatory in order to perform research, writing and other duties associated with collections research and cataloguing, as well as planning exhibitions.

Significant knowledge of researching, acquiring, and installing collections, gained through work experience in a museum setting, knowledge of issues and methods of collections documentation, storage, and conservation.

Ability to write within chosen historical field (e.g. scholarly essays, book chapters) and for museum visitors (i.e. brochures and didactics). Writing should be based on original research, culturally sensitive, and be understood by both scholarly and general audiences.

Highly skilled in handling of fragile collection objects.

Ability to speak publicly and address either target or wide audiences.

Ability to work with a variety of personalities, using tact and professionalism in everyday work environment.

Skill in using Office and Microsoft 365, collaboration tools, and museum collection databases, specifically The Museum System (TMS), is critical.

SALARY: $80,769 to $83,461
The Smithsonian uses the General Schedule (GS) pay scale for Trust and Federally funded positions. This is a Trust funded position at Grade 11 step 1 to 2.

One-year full-time appointment that may be extended beyond the one year (based on performance and budget).

• The permanent duty station is 2 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128

• Hybrid Telework Available (A minimum of 3 days a week on-site is required. Full Time Remote is not approved for this position).

December 10, 2023

Please submit cover letter and resume (addressing qualification requirements) to

• Pass Pre-employment Background Check and Subsequent Background Investigation
• Complete a Probationary Period
• Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
• The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States. Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. is not required to apply.

The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact the point-of-contact listed in the “How To Apply” section above. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please review the Smithsonian’s Accommodation Procedures.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds support and enhance our daily work life and contribute to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. See Smithsonian EEO program information:

The Smithsonian Institution ensures its employees (federal and trust), applicants, and affiliated persons (interns, research associates, fellows, and volunteers) are protected from discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, gender stereotyping, pregnancy, and sexual orientation), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, parental status, or political affiliation and are free from reprisal against protected activities. In addition, other Smithsonian policy prohibits discrimination based on membership in an employee organization or other non-merit factors, and political affiliation.