Curator, African-American Art (IS-13)

Applications due by July 31, 2023, 11:59 p.m. ET 


Smithsonian Institution 


Smithsonian American Art Museum 

Salary Range: 

$112,015- $145,617 annual 

Series & Grade: 


Open Period: 

June 5-July 31, 2023 

Work Schedule 

Full-time 40 hrs./wk. 

Appointment Tenure: 

Indefinite trust (non-federal) 

Duty Locations: 

1 vacancy – Washington DC 


Yes (<25%) 

Promotion Potential: 




Remote eligibility: 


Telework eligibility: 






Named in honor of the revered Harlem Renaissance sculptor and educator, Augusta Savage, whose work is represented in SAAM’s collection, this position is located in the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Smithsonian Institution (SI). SI is a diverse museum and research complex dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge. SAAM houses a collection of more than 48,000 artworks that represents 250 years of American art and is the basis for an active schedule of exhibitions, publications, research, and educational programming. 

Job Summary: 

This position serves as Curator of African-American Art in the Curatorial department and reports directly to the museum’s Head Curator.  

Major Duties:  


  • - Develops an African-American Art collection strategy to expand its range and significance by purchase and gifts.  

  • - Develops an in-depth understanding of collection objects and their place in American art within a wide context. 

  • - Conducts research on the permanent collection to help establish complete information on works in the collection, including object date and provenance.  

  • - Reviews loan requests, conducts original research on collection objects, proposes topics and implements exhibitions of significance in the field of African-American art. 

  • - Contributes as an integral member of the curatorial team that is conceiving and executing the ongoing museum-wide reinstallation and reinterpretation of SAAM’s collection. 


  • - Works with Head Curator and senior staff to develop exhibition and installation topics.  

  • - Participates in the preparation and staging of exhibitions and exhibition catalogs. 

  • - Ensures completeness and accuracy of all exhibition materials. 

  • - Works in collaboration with colleagues to develop and execute exhibition-related programs 

Public Engagement and Scholarship: 

  • - Uses knowledge of collections and museum exhibitions to locate and organize information for incorporation into scholarly and popular publications, articles, online resources, and SAAM brochures. 

  • - Presents gallery talks and lectures and writes blog posts related to African-American art and other issues in American art and culture. 

  • - Responds to inquiries from the public. 

  • Other: 

  • - Advises Smithsonian fellows and interns working on African-American art.  

  • - Collaborates with colleagues with shared interests and compatible expertise, both within SAAM and across other SI units. 

Key Eligibility Requirements: 

  • - Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation 

  • - Complete a Probationary Period of one year 

  • - Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer 

  • - Schedule flexibility for frequent travel 

Basic Qualification Requirements:  

  • Master's degree (minimum) and/or Ph.D. (preferred) in art history or cultural studies from an accredited college or university AND 3 years minimum of curatorial experience with focus on the work of African-American art. 

  • Education Requirements: 

  • The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria: 

  1. 1. Knowledge of African-American art. The ideal candidate will demonstrate range of knowledge from historical to contemporary art.  

    2. Knowledge of African-American history.  

    3. Ability to assess collections, perform cataloging and work with museum collection database. 

    4. Knowledge of curatorial functions and best practices. 

    5. Written, verbal, and digital communication skills. 


The Smithsonian Institution offers a comprehensive benefits package for trust employees. Please see  for a complete description. 


Required Documents: 

  • Resume - If you want to receive full credit for relevant experience, your resume MUST contain the job title (including the occupational series and grade if it is Federal), duties, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours worked per week, and salary. 

  • Statement of interest/cover letter 

  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study (if applicable) 

  • Academic writing sample 

  • At least 2 professional letters of recommendation, including contact information 

How to Apply: 

Email all required documents with the subject line “Curator, African-American Art” to  no later than WEDNESDAY JULY 5 11:59PM EST. 



Dan Weinwurm, SAAM Personnel Manager