Curatorial Assistant


Date Posted



Miscellaneous July 20, 2015 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art San Francisco, CA, USA

Please note that this job has expired and is for reference only. See our active listings for jobs.

Art transforms lives. It provokes us to think, to express, to explore our own creativity, to envision new possibilities. SFMOMA is expanding the museum to provide a better experience for our visitors and a better home for our expanding collections, including the SFMOMA collection and the Fisher Collection, one of the finest collections of contemporary art in the world. The new SFMOMA, designed in collaboration with the architecture firm Snøhetta, is scheduled to open in 2016. With this project, we are transforming not just the museum’s physical presence, but also our contributions to the community, enhancing SFMOMA’s role as a place for learning, inspiration, and interaction for visitors from the Bay Area and beyond. We are making SFMOMA a magnet for contemporary art and for the audiences who will engage with it.

The Curatorial Assistant works closely with SFMOMA’s permanent collection of Architecture + Design, providing research, administration and public information and engagement, under the direction of the A+D Head of the Department. To this end, the Curatorial Assistant will have a large role in the Architecture + Design Accessions program, collection analysis, the A+D Artist Initiative, Team A+D, and collection visibility.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Under the direction of the Curator, conduct research on new accessions and work in the permanent collection and prepare written summaries, as assigned.
  • Develop and maintain a robust understanding of the content and strengths of the permanent collection.
  • Assist with collection scholarship, including but not limited to research, catalogue preparation, exhibition and catalogue bibliography, overseeing copyright permissions, accuracy of object information, wall label copy and installation.
  • Assists A+D curatorial staff in all areas of their responsibilities, including administrative work in the context of curatorial functions, accessions, research for exhibitions and publications, departmental committees and general curatorial inquiries.
  • Update and maintain data on the A+D permanent collection for annual analysis.
  • Be familiar with A+D exhibition goals in the context of the permanent collection and assist in identifying potential accessions, as assigned.
  • With the Department Assistant, maintain the A+D collection archives.
  • Work with CIA, Registration, and Accessions (Maria Naula) to create new accessions records, gift records, and loans records using EmbARK (the museum’s collection database), and employing the A+D department style guide for object information consistency.
  • Refine and update Accessions records as needed.
  • Generate and oversee paperwork related to accessions, gifts, and loans using EmbARK.
  • Working with CIA, Registration and Curators, oversee photography of collection.
  • Research and catalog the A+D collection and archives under department curator supervision and answer related inquiries from the public and scholars with regard to such information.
  • Assist with scholar visits, as needed.
  • Assist in generating and refining exhibition checklists using EmbARK.
  • Works with department interns as assigned.
  • Keeps informed of current activity in the area of departmental interests through gallery and museum visits, publications, websites, etc., and conveys observations at department meetings.
  • Collaborate with Conservation and Registration in the proper care, movement and storage of A+D objects.
  • Contribute to public programs in support of A+D initiatives through public and high level donor walk-throughs, talks and programs


Education and Training: Master’s degree in Architecture/Design/Art History, Museum Studies, or closely related field is preferred. Must have a proven understanding of seminal design movements of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Work Experience: Minimum of one year related professional experience.

Skills required: Strong organizational and time management skills and attention to detail. Capacity to meet deadlines with minimal supervision. Stellar research skills that include but are not limited to, navigating special collections, libraries, internet, and in-person interviews. Ability to effectively communicate a variety of information through clear, articulate, and critical written and verbal skills. Ability to problem solve, work collaboratively, and maintain a professional demeanor. Ability to appropriately handle confidential information. Discretion and judgment regarding information about designers, the museum’s collection, staff and supporters, loans and proposals.



Physical Demands: Must be able to visually inspect work.

Special Environmental Factors:  Open office setting

Must regularly travel between SFMOMA offices and the Collection Center.
This is a union position subject to the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

POSITION:                     Curatorial Assistant

DEPARTMENT:              Architecture and Design

SUPERVISOR:               Curator Head of Department, Architecture and Design

SCHEDULE:                   Full time: 35 hours/week

PAY RATE:                    $22.33/hour (starting rate)

$26.81/hour (position rate)


SFMOMA encourages people of color, residents of SOMA and other San Francisco residents to apply. An equal opportunity employer, we are committed to diversity.

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