Museum Collection Manager

New York City Fire Museum | New York, New York

Background

The NYC Fire Museum is the official museum of the Fire Department of the City of New York.  Housed in a 1904 Beaux Arts firehouse in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan, the collection is displayed on two floors of the building with a third floor that is used for events.  The museum traces its roots back to 1870 at FDNY Headquarters at 155 Mercer Street, and moved several times before coming to rest in the 278 Spring Street building in 1987.  It is managed under an agreement with the FDNY by a separate non-profit organization that is totally self-sustaining.  Positions are with the non-profit organizations not with the FDNY or City of New York.  Operatinos are managed by a staff of seven.

Job Summary

The Collection Manager is responsible for the overall maintenance of the collection belonging to the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), in compliance with the Concession Agreement.  The NYCFM holds the artifacts and archives of the FDNY and the former H. V. Smith Museum of the Home Insurance Company.  This comprises over 30,000 objects.  Collection Manager is responsible for all aspects of accessioning and maintenance of all items in the collection, both in storage and on display.  In conjunction with the Executive Director, develops and implements temporary and permanent displays.   The Collection Manager is an integral part of the overall management team and participates in many other areas of operations.

Reports To

Executive Director

Responsibilities

  1. Collection Duties
    • Maintain the collection and archive
      • Undertake and/or oversee cataloging and photographing of collection
      • Maintain inventory of collection
      • Preserve artifacts on display and in storage, ensuring proper materials are used for exhibition and storage
      • Take adequate security measures to protect artifacts on display and in storage
      • Maintain collection database, both electronic and/or hardcopies. Ensure integrity of data and of backups.
      • Maintain the cleanliness of all artifacts on display and in storage
    • Maintain “On-Line Catalog” on Museum website and keep current
    • Conduct Grant Research, Application, Management
      • Identify grant funding opportunities relative to collection management, preservation, conservation and/or exhibition
      • Assemble data and documents necessary for grant submissions
      • Complete grant applications
      • Review grant applications with Executive Director and Bookkeeper prior to submission
    • Manage artifact conservation
      • Maintain condition reports on artifacts
      • Identify artifacts in need of conservation
      • Research available resources for specific conservation or preservation needs
        • Conservators
        • Grants
        • Donors
      • Manage conservators under contract
      • Ensure that conservation work done by contractors meets expectations and contractual obligation
      • Perform tasks relative to funding of conservation as described above
    • Oversee internship program
      • Work with educational institutions who have internship programs
      • Maintain relationships with institutions who have provided interns
      • Seek new/additional internship programs and opportunities
      • Supervise interns
      • Comply with requirements of internship programs
      • Evaluate interns per requirements of internship programs
      • Train interns on proper policies and procedures of the NYCFM
    • Provide input for development of annual budget relative to the need for artifact conservation and/or preservation needs within the collection area
  2. Curatorial Duties
    • Conduct Research
      • Research history of artifacts and maintain records in catalog entries
      • Prepare and design informational signage for artifacts on display
      • Respond to requests from researchers for information on artifacts and FDNY history
    • Write report on collection for the Museum’s Annual Report
    • Write column in Museum’s quarterly newsletter on collection and exhibit topics
    • Manage Displays
      • Develop long-term plans to turnover exhibits that have been on display for prolonged periods of time
      • Develop, design, assemble temporary exhibitions
      • Work with vendors for the design, purchase and installation of display material
  3. Registration Duties
    • Working with Executive Director and Collections Committee, accession/deaccession objects and artifacts for the collection
      • Respond to offers of artifact donation
        • Determine if potential donations fit scope of collection
        • Ensure that all documentation of provenance is provided and is accurate
        • Validate authenticity of items being donated
        • Report any questionable items to the Executive Director who will then take proper legal action
        • Build the collection by working with Museum staff and Board to secure grants and gifts
    • Stay abreast of events in NYC and FDNY to identify objects that should be acquired to preserve the history of the event for the FDNY
      • Work with Executive Director and Collections Committee to make formal request to appropriate FDNY unit for acquisition of objects
    • Working with the Executive Director and Collections Committee and working within standard museum ethical practices, legal requirements of the City of New York, the FDNY, the Concession Agreement and any and all legal restrictions, deaccession items according to the Museum’s Deaccession policy
    • Conduct Outreach and Collaboration
      • Work with third parties with regard to the archive and collection
        • Oversee use of artifacts for media productions
      • Incoming/Outgoing loans
        • Perform condition reports on artifacts as they enter/leave the collection
        • Maintain loan agreements/contracts
        • Perform condition site visits as necessary
      • Image Licensing
        • Respond to requests for use, maintain licensing agreements, manage payments and delivery of images
  4. General Staff Expectations
    • Contribute to Museum Development
    • Communicate regularly with Executive Director and keep him/her apprised of activities within areas of responsibility.
    • Participate as directed in Museum activities, including events and projects
    • Attend Board of Trustee meeting(s) when requested
    • Develop ideas for new Museum initiatives relative to the collection and/or Museum activities and events

Generate ideas for improved methods for processes and tasks in area of responsibility or any other area of Museum operations.

Qualifications

Five years experience in museum collection management, acquisition and display.  Two years of proficiency with PastPerfect software.

Compensation

$45,000 per year

Requirements/Other

Master's degree in related field, e.g. Museum Studies, preferred.

How to Apply

Send resume with detailed cover letter to Executive Director, NYC Fire Museum, 278 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013

New York City Fire Museum
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Organization: Nonprofit Organizations