Request for Quote: Curatorial Assistant for Asian American Art

Request for Quote: Curatorial Assistant for Asian American Art

This Request for Quote (RFQ) is issued by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) of the Smithsonian Institution (SI), for technical professional, non-personal services to provide research and curatorial services in accordance with the Statement of Work (SOW). 


To submit your quote, please email Tanairy Ortiz ( to receive the full Request for Quote (RFQ) packet. Candidates must submit their quote and related material via email by 11:59pm EST Monday, August 29, 2022 to be considered.

If you have questions about the RFQ or the quote submission process, please contact Virginia Mecklenburg ( by 5:00pm EST Monday, August 15, 2022. Answers to queries submitted by that date will be shared with all interested bidders. No questions will be fielded after that date.  


The Smithsonian American Art Museum requires professional, technical, non-personal services of a Curatorial Assistant for Asian American Art to support research and assessment of the museum’s collection of work by Asian American artists; enhancement of Asian American art collection records; development of a collecting plan for art by Asian American and Pacific Islander artists; research of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists under consideration for acquisition; and research and logistical support for exhibitions and permanent collection displays related to Asian American art and other areas of American art as directed by the supervising curator. The contractor will also provide expertise and produce interpretive material in support of the representation of Asian Pacific American experience, perspectives, and artistic accomplishment in the reinstallation of the museum’s collection. The contract will last for one year and may be extended to additional years based on available funding and performance.  


The SI plans to award based on best value to the SI considering the following factors. The SI plans to award without discussions but reserves the right to conduct discussions if later determined by the Contracting Officer to be necessary.  

Evaluation factors are:

A.  Relevant Experience/Past Performance (40%)

1. Submit a Statement of Relevant Experience, providing information on your past performance of services similar to that described in the SOW. Relevant experience includes:

  • Knowledge of Asian American art and history. Has taken undergraduate or graduate classes in Asian American art or history. Has written a paper or article on a topic in Asian American art or history. Has given a lecture or contributed to an exhibition or public program related to Asian American art or history. Has taught classes in Asian American art or history.
  • Ability to conduct art historical research. At least 2 years of experience doing graduate-level research on American art, artworks and artists using primary and secondary sources. Has graduate degree in art history or a related field.
  • Experience in and knowledge of museum processes. Has worked with a museum collection database system. Has performed research, managed checklists or provided logistical support as part of a museum curatorial team. Has experience establishing contact in formal calls or emails with artists, estates, archives, museums, collectors, galleries, and other professionals. Has written interpretive texts or given gallery talks for a museum audience.
  • Skills in written and verbal communication. Has experience writing for both scholarly and general audiences. Has experience presenting lectures or gallery talks.

2.  Past Performance should be indicated by a list of at least two (2) current or previous references (providing names and their current telephone numbers and email addresses) who can answer specific questions on quality of work like that described in the SOW. Provide dates of periods of performance/employment and brief descriptions of the work performed with each reference.

B. Résumé (40%)

Submit a résumé outlining your experience as it relates to Asian American art, art historical research, museum work, and the following competencies or qualifications:

1. Academic coursework leading to an MA or Ph.D. in Asian American art history or related field

2. Knowledge of Asian American art and history

3. Knowledge of broader field of US art and history and its relationship to Asian American art.

4. Excellent research skills

5. Excellent organizational skills

6. Experience working in a museum, or related educational context

7. Experience with Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel

8. Familiarity with TMS (preferred, but not required)

C. Price (20%)

Submit your hourly rate which should include all direct and indirect costs necessary to complete the requirements as outlined in the SOW. The annual budget for this position shall not exceed $84,500.

NOTE: This is a contractual position and not a staff appointment. The selected contractor will be responsible for paying their own federal and local taxes, health care, and transportation expenses. Applicants are encouraged to consider cost of living rates in the Washington D.C. area when composing their quote.


Prospective contractors are required to have commercial general liability coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence for liabilities arising out of the contractor's activities pertaining to this contract.  This policy shall provide coverage for bodily injury, property damage, contractual liability, products and completed operations, and person and advertising injury.  Smithsonian shall be listed as an "additional insured" under this policy. 

Contractor may enroll in the commercial general liability policy for Smithsonian contractors at an estimated cost of $240 for the first year.  Insurance coverage is only for the duration of this contract and covers the contractor only for work performed for the Smithsonian Institution.


It is a requirement that current and prospective recipients of contracts and purchase orders awarded by the SI must have an active SAM registration to be eligible for awards, and maintain an active record in SAM throughout the period of time the SI award will be in effect. The SAM requires a one-time business registration, with annual updates, and allows vendors to control the accuracy of the business information they enter.  The financial data you enter, which includes the electronic funds transfer (EFT) data collected by SAM will assist the SI with correctly directing payments on your invoices and complying with the Federal Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. 

Within thirty (30) calendar days after your SAM registration is activated you must mail a notarized letter to SAM. You will receive guidance on this procedure throughout the SAM registration process and again after your SAM registration is activated. Federal agencies, including SI, have been assured that once an entity’s SAM registration is activated, agencies may engage that entity.  Notarized letters from registered entities will need to contain specific language. OCon&PPM has provided the preferred language for letters with our form memo OCon 120 – Mandatory Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) that accompanies this RFQ.

If yours is the acceptable price quote and you are selected for award, your organization's active registration with SAM must be verifiable by SI staff managing this procurement prior to contract or purchase order award being executed, and at the time any modifications or amendments to awards might be required.

You may complete or update your SAM registration information anytime online at  Questions regarding the process may be directed to the Federal Service Desk online at or via toll free call to 1-888-606-8220.  There is no charge for registering in SAM.


A UEI number is a unique twelve-digit alpha-numeric identifier that will be assigned to you when your SAM registration is completed. A UEI is available for each physical location of your business (see Section V. of this RFQ). You will need to maintain your assigned UEI(s) in a safe location where they may be easily accessed. Your UEI will be required whenever you need to annually update your SAM registration or make changes to your SAM registration information at any time. 


A.  Service Contract Act of 1965, as amended

If services to be performed are covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA), as amended, the SCA shall apply to all work performed under the contract, purchase order, or GSA schedule task order to be issued.  Individuals and companies submitting quotes are encouraged to verify the wages and fringe benefits determined by the U.S. Department of Labor to be payable for the Labor Category and in within the location that work performance will occur as cited in the Statement of Work.  The SCA wages and fringe benefits payable shall be part of the order award. 

Individuals and companies awarded a contract, purchase order or GSA schedule contract task order for SCA covered services are responsible, and required by law, to deliver to its employee(s) or post a notice of the required compensation in a prominent place at the worksite.  The SCA provides authority to contracting agencies to withhold contract funds to reimburse underpaid employees, terminate the contract, hold the contractor liable for associated costs to the government, and debar from future government contracts for a period of three (3) years any persons or firms who have violated the SCA.  The contracting officer awarding this order, or the Smithsonian Inspector General, may periodically require contractors to provide information that verifies compliance with the SCA for services provided under the awarded contracts, purchase orders or GSA schedule contract task orders.

B.  E-Verify

If at award, or anytime during contract performance, the dollar amount of the contract award exceeds $150,000 or $5,000,000 under GSA Schedule, with a period of performance over 120 days, the successful bidder is required to register in the E-Verify System and verify that all individuals to be hired under the contract award are eligible for employment within the U.S.  This requirement is not applicable to work that will be performed outside the U.S. or for Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) items. 

E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  It allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees, regardless of citizenship.  For more information on e-verify and when, why and how to register and use the system please go to the USCIS site on the World Wide Web at:

Executive Order 13465 and Homeland Security Policy Directive 12 (HSPD-12)


C.  Background Investigations

If a contractor employee assigned to the SI under this contract will have an association with SI that will be greater than thirty (30) days, determined either at time of contract award or anytime during contract performance, and will need access to staff-only areas of SI controlled facilities and leased spaces, the employee shall be required to receive an SI Credential. Contractor employees who require an SI Credential shall be required to undergo and pass an appropriate background investigation and complete security awareness training before an SI Credential is issued.  Employees whose associations with the SI will be less than 30 days shall not receive a background investigation or SI Credential, however, they must be escorted by Credentialed personnel at all times when in staff-only areas of SI facilities.  If relevant to this RFQ, a form OCon 520, Background Investigations and Credentials for Contractors’ Personnel, is included.  The following actions shall be required to be completed by the SI Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) and successful vendor:

  1. The COTR shall provide an OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment form, for each of the Contractor’s employees who will be assigned to the SI for 30 days or longer. The OF-306 forms must be completed by each person and returned by the Contractor to the COTR, or other designated SI employee, within ten (10) workdays from receipt of the forms by the Contractor.
  2. For contractors to SI organizations outside the Washington DC and New York City areas, forms SF-87, Fingerprint Cards, shall be provided to the Contractor by the COTR or other designated SI employee.  Each form SF-87 must be returned to the COTR, or other designated SI employee, within ten (10) workdays from receipt of the forms by the Contractor When necessary, the forms SF-87 shall be submitted by the Contractor with the OF-306.

Homeland Security Policy Directive 12 (HSPD-12)


Quotes submitted must include the following information to be deemed responsive to this Request for Quote and accepted by the SI:

A. Documentation of your current active SAM registration with the date it will expire.

B. The Project Title (Curatorial Assistant for Asian American Art).

C. Your business name, address, telephone number, and UEI number.

D. Your business point of contact name, telephone number and email address.

E, Pricing.  Ensure that base year and option year pricing is included.

F. Statement of Relevant Experience, as outlined in Section III.

G. Résumé, as outlined in Section III.

H. Past Performance information in the form of a list of at least two current or previous references, as outlined in Section III.

I. Certificates or other documentation confirming appropriate types and levels of insurance required are in effect, and other certificates and documentation requested.

J. If services are subject to the requirements of the Service Contract Act, provide with your quote:

  1. U.S. Department of Labor wage determination hourly rate payable within the location of work performance

  2. Health and Welfare hourly rate payable within the location of work performance

  3. IFF hourly rate payable within the location of work performance

  4. G & A hourly rate payable (e.g., markup, overhead, etc.) within the location of work performance

  5. Vacation hourly rate payable within the location of work performance

  6. Holiday hourly rate payable within the location of work performance

K.  When prices quoted are in accordance with the terms of a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule contract, provide the following information: your GSA contract number, SIN, goods and/or services pricing. 

L. Indicate any discounts to your GSA schedule contract pricing that is being extended to the SI by your price quote(s).

M. Cite the date through which pricing submitted is valid.