Department of Photography – Curatorial Assistant or Associate

George Eastman Museum
March 13, 2023
900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY, NY
Job Type
Annual Base Salary
$18.46 - $21.55 per hour
Location Type
Work from home


George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY


Job Title:                     Department of Photography - Curatorial Assistant or Associate

Department:             Department of Photography

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

Status:                          Full time (37.5 hours per week), Non-Exempt

Pay Rate:                    $18.46 - $20.00 per hour - Curatorial Assistant level experience

$19.50 - $21.55 per hour - Curatorial Associate level experience


As part of the Department of Photography (DOP) curatorial team, support fellow staff in the development, management, and execution of curatorial projects. The Department of Photography undertakes diverse activities, so projects may address a number of areas, including exhibitions, acquisitions, special rights and reproduction requests, traveling exhibitions, donor development, grant writing, special events, publications, education, and docent training.


  • Assist with exhibitions: Assist DOP curatorial team with the exhibition process, including managing and creating checklists; compiling research; preparing exhibition labels and texts; managing budgets; corresponding with artists, donors, galleries and estates to notify them of inclusion of works in exhibitions; and record keeping.
  • Organize exhibitions: Position may have the option to organize occasional collection installations—either independently or in collaboration with another DOP staff member—for the Selections from the Collection Gallery.
  • Assist in maintaining intellectual and physical control of collection: Catalog objects, constituents, and exhibitions using The Museum System (TMS), the museum’s collection management software. Apply cataloging guidelines outlined in DOP’s Cataloging Manual. Conduct object-based and provenance research that may require working with other museum staff to obtain relevant information. Assist with collection inventory, as assigned; this includes working with staff from DOP and the Registrar’s Office to verify and document objects held in the DOP collection.
  • Facilitate acquisition process: Assist DOP staff—both curatorial and collection management—by facilitating the acquisition process, including communicating with donors and vendors; working with registrar’s office to coordinate the shipment of proposed acquisitions; working with DOP collection management team to coordinate cataloging and digitization; working with conservation department to coordinate unpacking and condition reporting; occasionally providing access to this material for interested parties (including staff, board members, students, and appraisers); compiling quarterly acquisition reports for Collection Committee; writing acquisition justifications for proposed acquisitions; participating in Collection Committee meetings; and recording and distributing minutes of Collection Committee meetings.
  • Provide support: Provide administrative and clerical support for the DOP, including management of department and acquisition budgets; correspondence; filing; record keeping; taking minutes; and proofreading.
  • Provide research assistance: Support DOP curatorial team with academic research and writing for exhibitions, publications, and social media initiatives, including supplying this content for exhibitions you are curating and other special projects as assigned.
  • Assist external researchers: Assist DOP staff with internal and external requests for information about the collection and past exhibitions and projects. Facilitate access to information about the collection for staff, students, interns, volunteers and researchers.
  • Develop relationships: Develop relationships with donors and trustees, artists/photographers, gallerists, and peer professionals. Coordinate the department’s efforts to contact photographers and donors when collection objects will be on display. Occasionally attend conferences or portfolio reviews to promote the museum and foster alliances/collaboration in the field.
  • Provide education: Provide docent and guided tours as needed. Assist with visiting lecturers and artists, as needed. Occasionally present lectures about photography collection materials and/or their care to a variety of audiences, including scholars, special guests, high school and university classes, members of the public, and museum staff and volunteers. These may occasionally fall outside of regular business hours.
  • Assist with traveling exhibitions and loan requests: Compile insurance values for collection objects for traveling exhibitions and loans. Assist DOP curatorial team with the traveling exhibitions by drafting cover letters to prospective venues, organizing and mailing exhibition packets, and tracking responses.
  • Manage departmental Rights and Reproduction requests: Assist Digital Asset Coordinator with special rights and reproduction requests by gathering responses from the DOP team.
  • Perform additional responsibilities/projects as assigned by supervisor.
  • The duties of this position may require standing, walking, sitting, lifting/carrying (40lbs), pushing/pulling (40lbs), balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, reaching, speaking, hearing, seeing, depth perception, color vision, and repetitive motion.
  • Work takes place in an office environment with moderate to light noise but Collection duties may require work in high, precarious places with exposure to extreme heat/cold conditions due to climate requirements for the collection.


Education Requirements:

  • Required: Bachelor’s degree in art history, visual culture, collections management, museum studies, or a related field, with a demonstrated knowledge and interest in the history of photography.
  • Preferred: Master’s degree in art history, visual culture, collections management, museum studies, or a related field, with a demonstrated knowledge and interest in the history of photography.

Experience Requirements:

  • 2+ years of related experience (curatorial assistant); 5+ years of related experience (curatorial associate).
  • Knowledge of the history of photography.
  • Experience with conducting research and writing about historical and/or contemporary photographs.
  • Experience with current preservation protocols and proper handling of all photographic materials, both historical and contemporary.
  • Knowledge of current museum standards, best practices, and ethical guidelines.
  • Museum experience a plus.
  • Reading and speaking knowledge of a foreign language a plus but not required.

Skills and Competencies Requirements:

  • Willingness to work in a collaborative, team-based environment.
  • Ability to work both independently and with others.
  • Other required assets:
    • Strong research and writing abilities
    • Attention to detail
    • Highly organized
    • Critical and analytical thinking
    • Ability to work independently or in a group
    • Flexibility
    • Problem solving skills
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Good command of the English language, both written and spoken
    • Clerical skills
    • Commitment to high ethical standards and confidentiality

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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