Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is pleased to announce an opening for an Assistant Curator of Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design. The Curatorial Department is responsible for the museum’s renowned collection that includes both historic and contemporary design, one-off, limited edition, and mass-produced objects, and a new focus on digital media. The collections are overseen by four curatorial departments: Product Design and Decorative Arts; Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design; Textiles; and Wallcoverings, and encompass the rich holdings of the Smithsonian’s Design Library and archives, which are located on Cooper Hewitt’s (CHSDM) campus. While some collection objects and archives are stored on-site, a majority are in the museum’s new state-of-the art storage facility located in Newark.

Cooper Hewitt’s Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design (DPGD) department, among the world’s foremost repositories of European and American works on paper, holds over 147,000 drawings and prints dating from the Renaissance to the present. Included are designs for architecture, decorative arts, interiors, ornament, jewelry, textiles, graphic and industrial design, and the fine arts. Among highlights are the collection of over 400 albums of European ornament prints; Italian studies for architecture and interior decoration; and extensive holdings of American, European, and Japanese post-war graphic design. A noted strength is over 10,000 American 19th-century drawings and prints, including the largest collections of Frederic Edwin Church and Winslow Homer drawings in the world. The Department annually welcomes over 400 scholars, students, collectors, and the public to the Drue Heinz Study Center for Drawings and Prints and the Henry Luce Study Room for American Art. The Assistant Curator will report to the Associate Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design.


Helps develop an acquisitions priority plan for building the Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design collection, with an emphasis on 17th-19th century works, strategically filling in historic gaps. Actively works on acquisitions from the 20th and 21st centuries under guidance of Associate Curator. Takes responsibility for identifying, locating, and soliciting objects for the collection, in addition to researching, interpreting, preparing catalog records and object justifications, securing image rights, overseeing new photography, and writing digital content for collection objects. Cultivates new and existing donors to the collection and works with the Development Department to develop fundraising support for programs. Provides assistance to the Collections Assistant on matters pertaining to the care of the collection and loans.

Initiates, plans, and prepares temporary and permanent exhibitions. Participates in a multidisciplinary approach to exhibitions working collaboratively with the various departments to develop content that addresses the museum’s goal of optimizing the visitor’s engagement and experience. Provides research, didactic materials for labels, text panels, and digital tables, and organizes installations of collection works. This includes working with Masters students in the New School/Parsons program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies. Demonstrates excellent interpersonal skills in working with the curatorial team, with co-curators (designers, artists, and internal and external curators), and Exhibition, Publication, and Digital Media staff in organizing exhibitions, publications, and educational programs.

Research and Professional Development
In addition to researching new acquisitions, an important component will be researching, cataloging, interpreting, and writing object significances for works in the collection. This work will be coordinated with the museum’s major digitization initiatives. Some of this research may take place at the museum’s storage facility in Newark. Conducts original scholarly research on works on paper, defining topics of genuine significance and determining feasibility of the topic for publications. Contributes regularly to the museum’s blog.

Public Outreach
Initiates and proactively explores the museum’s holdings to expand and disseminate knowledge about the collection. Participates in gallery talks, symposia, juries, and panel discussions or other programs related to 17th-19th century architecture, decorative arts, and works on paper. Actively uses social media to engage audiences and helps to develop digital content for the museum’s web site. Collaborates with the Curatorial, Education, and Digital Media departments to develop education programs. Provides supervision or support of department interns, fellows, and contractors. Provides docent training.

*Demonstrated expertise in the history of European art, architecture, design and decorative arts from the 17th-19th centuries, as well as knowledge of 20th and 21st century design history, including its principles, traditions, historical contexts, and research methods.
*Knowledge or experience with a collection devoted to works on paper to perform collections management, scholarly research, exhibition planning/production, publishing, public service, and administration.
*Experience with planning and developing exhibitions.
*Experience in acquisitions and outreach.
*Ability to write scholarly papers and articles for journals, exhibition catalogs, museum publications, labels and web posts.
*Education Requirements: Master’s Degree or higher in the history of art, decorative arts, or design.
*Proficiency in at least one foreign language, preferably Italian or French.
*A minimum of 2-3 years of experience working in a museum preferred.

SALARY: $56,754

TIAA-CREF (Tax Deferred & Defined Contributions – 12 percent)
Life Insurance
Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
Long Term Disability
Health Insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield)
Dental (Delta Dental)
Vision (Vision Services)
Flexible Spending Accounts
Free Transit/Commuter Benefits (up to $3,060commuter costs paid per year)
Annual Leave (13 days) increasing after 3 years (20 days)
Sick Leave (13 days)
Federal Holidays (10 days)
Family Friendly Leave Family Friendly Workplace
Telework Policy
Historic Carnegie mansion and landmark offices
Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden
92Y Fitness Center
Free Entrance to Museums and Galleries
Design Library
Employee Assistance Program
Smithsonian Network
Tarallucci e Vino (Museum Cafe) Discount
Museum Shop Discount
General Employee Discounts

Please submit a cover letter and resume addressing the qualifications of the position via email to: HRcuratorDPGD@si.edu. This position is open until filled.