Collections Assistant/Department Manager, South Asian Art

Date Posted
Close Date
Philadelphia, PA
Job Type

Philadelphia Museum of Art

We Are Committed to an Inclusive Workplace

At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we actively seek to employ a diverse group of people who embody our organizational values. We welcome and encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply, especially those from marginalized and underrepresented groups in the museum field, who are inspired by our shared purpose and enjoy working collaboratively with others.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, citizenship or immigration status, color, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other protected status. 

How You Will Contribute

Working under the supervision of the Head of the Department of South Asian Art, the Collections Assistant and Department Manager supports curatorial staff in the research, management, care, utilization, and development of the museum’s holdings of South Asian Art, currently also including works from the Tibetan plateau. This individual will provide the logistical expertise needed to ensure that the South Asian Art Department’s curatorial and administrative programs and projects are effectively coordinated. The position also serves as a bridge between key staff and external stakeholders and plays a lead role as project manager for special curatorial endeavors. The position is critical to the advanced planning, effective coordination, and implementation of exhibition and curatorial programming as well as departmental organization and administration.

Specifically, you will:

  • Work under the direction of the Head of the Department of South Asian Art and in cooperation with other members of the department’s curatorial staff as well as other staff as needed to achieve the mission of the institution and its strategic objectives.
  • Work closely with the museum’s Conservation, Registration, Installation Design, Installations and Packing, Photography, Education, Editorial and Graphic Design, Library and Archives, Security, Facilities, and IIT staff to ensure that the works of art in the department are properly documented, photographed, conserved when treatment is needed, and stored in a safe and accessible manner.
  • Coordinate object moves to and from galleries, storage areas, conservation, and packing. Create expects and change of location paperwork, notify key staff of moves and any related work and updating object locations in TMS when moves are complete.
  • Project manage semi-annual gallery rotations which includes scheduling with Special Exhibitions, coordinating with conservation and preparators, helping with scheduling art handlers, carpenters, painters, contract workers, etc.
  • Maintain digital collection management system (TMS), handling all records and moves Update for the department. Advance the production, accuracy, and detail of digital cataloguing records and other materials related to objects in the collection, recognizing that technology and the digital needs of the collection are evolving.
  • Facilitate incoming gift and purchase considerations and manages accessioning and deaccessioning processes, including creating paper and digital object files, completing condition reports, arranging for conservation review of objects, assisting registrars and legal counsel with details of contracts, warranties, and pledge agreements, and sending out donor and artist questionnaires and working on/for translation of contracts as needed. Assist with appraisals by outside parties and arrange for photography of incoming objects.
  • Support curators, conservators, and registrars in the coordination of loans. This includes facilitating conservation examinations and treatments, providing object-specific information to lenders, assisting curators in establishing insurance values, and completing outgoing and incoming condition reports. 
  • Monitor galleries, identifying and scheduling maintenance and conservation needs. Coordinate lighting, labeling, security, and other logistical details for gallery changes.
  • Generate and assist with social media and website content in collaboration with curators.
  • Assist curators with organizing talks, lectures, scholarly symposium, and study days and related programs as needed
  • Work with the Department Head in the coordination of South Asian Art Committee meetings, including arranging meeting space, sending invoices, tracking acceptances and regrets, handling written and verbal reminders, preparing agenda, placing catering order, taking minutes, circulating draft minutes, and distributing final minutes, agenda, and reports to departmental committee and Executive office.
  • Conduct research on objects in the collection or on related topics in consultation with the Department Head.
  • Draft annual report, departmental budget, and stewardship documents.
  • Maintain and update departmental files and object files, coordinates departmental files for expansion and transfer to the archives, and manage digital assets in the department in collaboration with Library and Archives, IIT, and other staff.
  • Participate in museum-wide committee initiatives as a representative for the South Asian Art department.
  • Manage office administration for the department, including but not limited to responding to general inquiries by phone, mail and email; tracking departmental expenses against budget lines and processing invoices; coordinating travel arrangements when required; providing departmental orientation and assisting in the onboarding of new staff, interns and volunteers; picking up and sorting mail and monitoring and scheduling office maintenance needs such as lighting, cleaning, repairs, and minor computer problems
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Your background and experience include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in some aspect of South Asian art history, area studies or a related field, Master’s degree or relevant equivalent experience preferred.
  • Several years of experience in a comparable office setting with experience in a museum preferred.
  • Knowledge of at least one foreign language relevant to the region preferred, fluent spoken and written Hindi desirable.
  • Prior object handling experience.
  • Excellent English written and verbal communication skills with the ability to connect with varied audiences.
  • High degree of detail orientation.
  • Experience with the museum’s collection database, TMS, a plus.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office suite.
  • Comfort on social media platforms.

Position and Compensation Details

  • The minimum salary for this position is $44,000
  • This position is full-time, non-exempt, and 35 hours per week.
  • This position is part of the AFSCME Local 397 bargaining unit.
  • This position reports to The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, Head of the Department of South Asian Art
  • Physical requirements:
  • Able to remain stationary, for extended periods of time, to utilize computers and other office equipment required of this job, to perform physically administrative duties in a typical interior office environment, gallery, or exhibit space, and to access most public and staff areas of the museum campus
  • Able to move items up to 30 pounds
  • Able to remove/replace items (especially boxes of matted works on paper) from high and low areas, including utilizing tall library ladder
  • Able to access departmental storage area
  • COVID-19 vaccination required.
  • Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

Institutional Requirements

  • Upholds the professional standards of the field, always acts in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the museum, and protects and enhances its reputation and standing within the community of museums.
  • Adheres to the museum’s code of ethics and Employee Handbook and avoids any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
  • Shows respect for co-workers and visitors and an understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of the museum’s staff, volunteers, and audiences.
  • Maintains confidentiality.
  • Adheres to all museum protocols, procedures, rules, and policies.

Application Timeline

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage candidates to apply early as the position will close once we have a robust applicant pool or a candidate has been selected.

What We Offer

Our employees are at the center of the museum. As an employee, you will have access to numerous museum perks including, but not limited to:

  • Free general admission to the museum for you and your immediate family
  • Discounted guest tickets for admission
  • Discounts on gift memberships
  • Special staff tours and presentations from our curatorial and conservation teams
  • Discounts at the museum restaurant, museum cafés, and museum retail and online stores

We offer a comprehensive benefits package for employees* including:

  • Medical, dental, and vision benefits
  • Fully paid short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, and life insurance
  • Health savings or flexible spending account program
  • Retirement savings program with museum match
  • Paid vacation, personal days, sick days, and holidays

*Eligibility for certain benefits is based on a variety of factors including the employee’s regular schedule and tenure.

How to Apply

Please submit an application online at the link below:

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