Job Title: Curator of Photography
Classification/Status: Exempt, Regular Full-Time
Reports To: Chief Curator and Associate Director of Library Collections
Founded in 1919, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution open to the public, housing world-class library, art, and botanical collections. Its mission is to support research and promote education in the arts, humanities, and botanical science and to display and interpret its extraordinary resources for diverse audiences.
Here we are committed to the highest of standards in all that we do – from preserving and protecting the collections, to exhibitions, educational and scholarly programming, visitor and reader services, and beyond. Achieving excellence across these pursuits requires a diversity of perspectives, expertise, experience, and methodologies.
We are better together. We believe an explicit commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion directly impacts and improves staff and audience engagement and experience.
The Huntington Library seeks a creative and collaborative professional to develop and interpret its exceptional collection of over 800,000 photographic images, dating from the 1840s to the present. The incumbent will be responsible for the stewardship of these materials and for building and maintaining a vibrant collections profile that serves the needs of advanced researchers and contributes to the cultural enrichment of the public.
The Huntington is one of the world’s leading libraries for advanced research in the humanities. Its photography collections include outstanding examples of a wide variety of print and negative processes and formats, from the earliest photographically illustrated volume, The Pencil of Nature, to 21st-century archival inkjet prints. The Library is one of the great repositories for photography of the American West, with distinguished holdings of the work of John Hillers, William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan, and Carleton Watkins. Further notable resources include the Frederick Monsen and Carl Moon collections, documenting Southwestern Native American communities, and the archives of C.C. Pierce and “Dick” Whittington, recording the development of Los Angeles. The archive of architectural photographer Maynard L Parker and the Southern California Outdoor Advertising Collection document the region in the mid-20th century. Other strengths include the American Civil War, with George Barnard, Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Andrew Russell all represented in depth. For further information and links to digital resources, see https://www.huntington.org/collections/photography
The Curator of Photography is part of the Library’s unified Curatorial Department staff and supervises the Assistant Curator of Architecture and Photography. He/she reports directly to the Avery Chief Curator & Associate Director of Library Collections and works closely with other curators with intersecting collection areas, including those in the Huntington’s Art Museum.
The successful applicant will demonstrate an understanding of the role of visual resources in contemporary scholarship, as well as an aptitude for the focused acquisition of photographic materials and their imaginative interpretation through public exhibitions for diverse audiences.
- Develops the Library’s rare and special collections in photography through gift and purchase, as well as the supporting general reference collections in this area.
- Provides research and reference assistance for the collection to scholarly users (in person and electronically) and participates in the review of Huntington fellowship applications for appropriateness to the photography collections.
- Interprets collections to scholarly users and the wider public through talks, exhibitions, tours, seminars, conferences, publications, digital initiatives, and outreach activities.
- Advises the ACMe (Acquisitions, Cataloging & Metadata) team responsible for the creation of access tools on collection priorities and the appropriate level of description for catalog records and finding aids, based upon an understanding of the materials and scholarly and research needs.
- Establishes priorities and initiates projects for the preservation and conservation of photographs and related media, in collaboration with the Head of Preservation, Preservation staff, and the Avery Chief Curator.
- Keeps current with relevant historiographical concerns, issues, developments, and trends in professional communities and contributes to appropriate professional organizations.
- Contributes to departmental, division, and institution-wide activities and initiatives.
- Works with Advancement staff and the Avery Chief Curator to steward donors and to identify, win, and implement grants useful to the collections and the institution.
- Supervises the Assistant Curator of Architecture and Photography and oversees the work of library assistants and interns, as available.
- Advanced degree in a relevant discipline (Photography, Art History, History, American Studies, Anthropology, etc.).
- Specific subject knowledge of the histories of photography and photographic processes, usually obtained through a graduate degree and/or equivalent training and experience.
- Knowledge of the market for rare photographic materials.
- Familiarity with standard library and archival procedures and photography copyright.
- Excellent organizational, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
- Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with a diverse group of colleagues, researchers, donors, and other individuals and communities.
- The ability to prioritize competing tasks effectively in a busy and engaging research setting.
- Demonstrated collegiality and a record of collaboration and professional contributions.
- Understanding of photography and visual media preservation issues.
- Record of relevant publication.
- A minimum of 2 years of professional work experience with photographic materials in a special collections research library, museum, and/or commercial gallery/trade.
- Experience in acquiring rare photographic materials.
- Experience with digitization and digital humanities projects preferred.
- Supervisory experience preferred.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of employees in this job
Normal office environment and library stacks area. Some weekend (usually Saturdays) and evening work may be occasionally required.
The Application Process
Visit us at https://www.huntington.org/employment to apply directly!
Applications received by March 31 will be given first consideration; position open until filled.
Please include a letter of interest and a CV including the names of three references as a single PDF attachment along with your online application. You will have the opportunity to “upload” documents during the “My Experience” step of the application process. If document uploading issues arise, please contact the HR department at email@example.com