Department of Photography – Curator/Associate Curator/Assistant Curator

George Eastman Museum
March 15, 2023
900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY, NY
Job Type
Senior Management
Annual Base Salary
$55,000 - $85,000 depending on level
Location Type
Work at location


George Eastman Museum, Rochester NY


Job Title:    Department of Photography – Curator/Associate Curator/Assistant Curator

Department:  Department of Photography

Reports To:  Jamie M. Allen, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Curator and Interim Head

Status:             Full time, Exempt

Pay Rate:        $55,000 - $62,000 – for Assistant Curator level

                           $60,000 - $70,000 – for Associate Curator level

$70,000 - $85,000 – for Curator level


Serve as a member of a curatorial team in the Department of Photography, working on exhibitions, public programs, books, research, and collection development. The curators will work as a team—dividing and sharing responsibilities based on the team members’ respective strengths and interests—with the head of the department acting as the team “captain.” Represent the George Eastman Museum and develop its relationships with artists, collectors, gallerists, scholars, and other institutions.


The mission of the George Eastman Museum comprises three interrelated goals:

  • to preserve, develop, and make accessible our world-class collections related to photography and cinema, as well as George Eastman’s estate;
  • to provide leadership in the fields of photography and moving images; and
  • to inclusively serve our diverse communities in Greater Rochester and elsewhere.



  • Working with the Department of Photography’s curatorial team, propose exhibitions that combine a strong curatorial concept with compelling visual interest and sound scholarship. (Exhibition proposals are reviewed by the Exhibition Committee, including the museum director, and approved by the museum director.)
  • Curate exhibitions for the museum’s Main Gallery (about one every two years); its’ Project Gallery (about one every two years; this space primarily presents recent works by a single artist); and its Selections from the Collection Gallery (about once every two to three years). Almost all exhibitions at the museum are organized or co-organized by our staff.
  • Starting early in the exhibition development process, collaborate with other members of the exhibition planning team (including one or more educators) to develop themes and narratives that will underlie the exhibition’s interpretative, educational, and engagement materials; its design and graphics; and the fundraising and marketing efforts for the exhibition.
  • Collaborate with the Registrar’s Office with respect to any incoming loans for exhibitions.

Public Programs (Onsite and Online):

  • Collaborate with museum staff on exhibition- and collection-related public programming, including giving talks or presentations and participating in conversations with artists/photographers and in panel discussions.
  • Foster relationships with and propose artists/photographers and scholars to participate in public programs.
  • Participate in docent training for and private tours of exhibitions.
  • Participate in educational visits for college and university courses.
  • Help develop a research fellowship program.

Publications and Research:

  • Propose book projects—generally related to the museum’s exhibitions or collection—for publication or co-publication by the museum. (Book projects are approved by museum director.)
  • Collaborate with Director of Publishing, Exhibitions & Design on approved book projects.
  • Contribute to scholarly journals and to art and photography publications and websites.
  • Conduct special research projects that advance the museum’s mission.

 Collection Development:

  • Working with the Department of Photography’s curatorial team, identify, propose, and present new acquisitions (gifts and purchases) for the photography collection.
  • Attend, and present proposed acquisitions at, quarterly meetings of the Photography Collection Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Propose refinements to the museum’s Photography Collection holdings in terms of both acquisitions and deaccessions.
  • Collaborate with the museum director and Development Department in establishing and cultivating productive relationships with donors and collectors.

Relationship Development:

  • Develop relationships with artists/photographers and scholars with the goal of facilitating public programs, exhibitions, collaborative projects, and collection development.
  • Develop relationships with collectors with the goal of fostering donations to the collection.
  • Develop relationships with gallerists with the goal of having preferred access to desirable objects and advancing relationships with artists/photographers and collectors.
  • Lead or participate in collector and donor tours of art fairs, galleries, or artists’ studios.
  • Engage with other Eastman Museum curators and the museum director in relationship development efforts.
  • Develop productive relationships with peer professionals and institutions.
  • Collaborate with external curators and scholars on public programs, exhibitions, and books.
  • Attend conferences and events to promote the museum and foster alliances and collaborations.


  • Write and contribute to the writing of grant proposals related to exhibitions, books, collection research, and purchases for the collection.
  • Collaborate with the Development Department to support creation and implementation of strategies to solicit and apply for funding from individuals, foundations, and other grant makers for exhibitions, publications, collection research, and other Department of Photography projects and priorities.
  • Collaborate with Development Department in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting prospective donors for charitable donations in support of the Department of Photography.
  • Maintain open and constructive communication with Vice President of Development regarding prospect contacts and opportunities for collaborative strategy development.


  • Participate in the Eastman Museum’s efforts to establish a museum venue in Los Angeles County, as requested by the museum director or Head of the Department of Photography.
  • Perform other duties/tasks, as assigned by the Head of the Department of Photography and the museum director.

Physical Demands and Work Environment:

The duties of this position will regularly require to sit, walk, and stand; reach; lift/carry and push/pull carts of collection materials (up to 40 pounds); balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch; speak and hear both in person and by telephone; and use hands to handle or feel objects, tools, or controls. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, depth perception, color vision, and ability to adjust focus. The employee will be required to travel independently, domestically and internationally, and in communities served. The position occasionally will require speaking for an extended period.

Work will be performed in an office environment, but work within the collection spaces will require work in high places and exposure to unusually cold conditions because of the climate requirements for the photograph collection. Overnight travel will be required. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be exposed to weather conditions at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

Education and Curatorial Position Requirements:

  • For Curator: Ph.D. with a minimum of nine years’ curatorial experience in photography or Master’s degree with a minimum of fifteen years’ curatorial experience in photography.
  • For Associate Curator: Ph.D. with a minimum of six years’ curatorial experience in photography or Master’s degree with a minimum of ten years’ curatorial experience in photography.
  • For Assistant Curator: Ph.D. with a minimum of three years’ curatorial experience in photography or Master’s degree with a minimum of five years’ curatorial experience in photography.

With respect to the above, curatorial experience includes experience in curatorial fellowships and/or as a curatorial assistant or associate. Work experience at a photography gallery or other art gallery will be considered.

Professional Knowledge and Experience Requirements:

  • Substantial working knowledge in the intellectual discourse, history, and practice of photography.
  • Understanding of professional museum principles, practices, and procedures.
  • Knowledge of research tools and methodology.
  • Experience in building relationships with living photographers.
  • Experience in developing relationships with collectors, museum donors, and galleries.

Skills and Abilities Requirements:

  • Possess a valid driver’s license and valid passport.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Experience with The Museum System (TMS) collection database software (strongly preferred).
  • Proficiency in foreign language(s) (preferred).
  • Team player.
  • Collegiality, diplomacy, and constructive interpersonal approach.
  • Self-directed and highly motivated.
  • Flexible in taking on changing responsibilities.
  • Ability to think rigorously and to communicate clearly and professionally; Well-developed public speaking skills.
  • Exemplary writing, speaking, and listening skills in English.
  • Ability to present and interpret photographs in a manner relevant to the general public.
  • Demonstrated ability to complete projects within deadlines.
  • Diligence in maintaining highest levels of confidentiality and discretion.
  • Understanding and upholding highest ethical standards.

The Eastman Museum is committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility at our institution and in our society. The Eastman Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Application Instructions

To be considered for this position, please email a cover letter, a current CV or resume, and a short writing sample to the attention of Jamie M. Allen, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Curator and Interim Head, Department of Photography at dopemployment@eastman.org.

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