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Curator of Fine Arts

Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America Req #433
Monday, September 7, 2020

Carnegie Museum of Art creates experiences that connect people to art, ideas, and one another. We believe creativity is a defining human characteristic to which everyone should have access. CMOA collects, preserves, and presents artworks from around the world to inspire, sustain, and provoke discussion, and to engage and reflect multiple audiences.

Carnegie Museum of Art is arguably the first museum of contemporary art in the United States, collecting the "Old Masters of tomorrow" since the inception of the Carnegie International in 1896. Today, the museum is one of the most dynamic major art institutions in America. Our collection of more than 30,000 objects features a broad spectrum of visual arts, including painting and sculpture; prints and drawings; photographs; architectural casts, renderings, and models; decorative arts and design; and film, video, and digital imagery. Through our programming, exhibitions, and publications, we frequently explore the role of art and artists in confronting key social issues of our time, combining and juxtaposing local and global perspectives.  With our unique history and resources, we strive to become a leader in defining the role of art museums for the 21st century. 

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is interested in candidates who, through their experience and collaborations, will contribute to diversity and excellence of the Carnegie Museums community. 


PRIMARY FUNCTION: The Curator is a motivated, intellectually curious, and highly collaborative professional who oversees the presentation, loan, and development of CMOA’s Fine Arts collection, comprising over 9,000 objects with notable strengths in 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century American and European art. An essential member of the museum’s curatorial team, the Curator provides programmatic vision, long-range planning for the collection, staff management, and artistic leadership to advance the museum’s strategic goals. They organize/co-organize original collection- and loan-based exhibitions; identify and coordinate borrowed exhibitions for presentation at CMOA; oversee gallery rotations of the permanent collection; conduct research and interpret artworks; shape the collection through gifts and purchases; and evaluate and assess holdings as part of an overall collections plan, including deaccessioning. The Curator cultivates and maintains strategic relationships with regional, national, and international museum colleagues, CMOA Advisory Board members, prospective donors, and affinity groups. They nurture relationships and partnerships with local organizations to increase awareness of CMOA and expand its base of supporters; actively participate in fundraising and audience development efforts; and represent the museum through lectures, juries, events, and publications, locally, nationally, and internationally.

KNOWLEDGE,SKILLS, ABILITIES: The position requires strong organizational, interpersonal, and problem-solving capabilities—including the ability to be an effective leader, motivator, and team member—as well as exceptional oral and written communication skills. The Curator must be a creative thinker, innovative exhibition maker, and enthusiastic advocate for the evolution of art museums in the 21st century. The ability to read, and ideally speak, languages other than English that are relevant to the collection is preferred; experience with provenance research is advantageous. Proficiency with Microsoft Office, standard business software, and basic office equipment is required. The Curator will be expected to gain familiarity with KE EMu, CMOA’s collection’s management system, and project management applications such as Asana. 

EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE: The position requires a master’s degree in art history, curatorial studies, or a related field and at least five years of progressively responsible curatorial experience in a museum setting; an equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered. The Curator must have a proven track record of curatorial achievement, including art acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications in American and European art. Area(s) of specialization should be relevant to CMOA’s collection. The Curator’s record of experience must also reveal deep knowledge of and commitment to the latest developments in critical curatorial practice and theory as well as focused engagement in key social issues facing museums art today. 

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Work is primarily sedentary in nature and no special demands are required.


·       Builds CMOA’s world-class collection of art by recommending acquisitions through gift and/or purchase; develops and maintains department-based collection plan.
·       Conceives and oversees rotations of the permanent collection galleries; collaborates with curatorial colleagues on collection-based presentations, research initiatives, and reinstallations.
·       Conducts and shares scholarly research to inform provenance documentation, conservation strategy, deaccession prospects, and other collection functions.
·       Organizes collection- and loan-based exhibitions; identifies and oversees borrowed exhibitions for presentation at the museum.
·       Collaborates with staff to ensure that curatorial projects are realized in a timely manner and on budget.
·       Vets and negotiates outgoing loans from the collection to other institutions; liaises with borrowers as needed.
·       Interprets works of art for the museum’s audiences through lectures, brochures, publications, labels, wall texts, digital media, and other forms.
·       Cultivates advantageous relationships with the professional community, CMOA Advisory Board, prospective donors and affinity groups, as well as with local community organizations to increase awareness of the museum and expand its base of supporters.
·       Actively participates in fundraising and audience development initiatives as needed.
·       Travels to pursue acquisitions, scholarly research, relationships, and beneficial contacts on behalf of the museum.
·       Represents the museum nationally and internationally at art fairs, conferences, openings, and other art world events; assists with the planning of donor cultivation trips as needed.
·       Performs other duties, including contributing to museum-wide planning efforts and initiatives, as assigned.

The following PA Act 153 clearances, or proof of application of clearances, are required beginning employment and as a condition of continued employment:

  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
  • FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check

Obtaining the required clearances is completed as part of the new hire process.

Carnegie Museums is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Females / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity

The above job description reflects the essential functions and qualifications for the position identified, and shall not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the position. The job description does not constitute an employment contract and does not alter the at-will relationship between CMP and the employee.



The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to consider and accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities.  An individual is qualified if he or she can perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodation. An essential job function is any task that is a fundamental part of the job.  When considering essentiality, one must focus upon whether the function is essential to this particular job and not to the department as a whole. Some additional guidance on essential functions follows below.  Please note that the following guidelines are non-exhaustive.  If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact Human Resources.

A. Is the function required to be performed on a regular basis? If the function is rarely performed, it may not be essential.

B. Is the function highly specialized? Is the incumbent hired for his/her expertise or ability to perform the function?  The need for special expertise is an indication of an essential function.

C. Does the position exist, at least in part, to perform the function?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential.

D. How much time is spent performing the function and how often?  Note that even functions performed 10% of the time could be essential if they are required on a regular basis.

E. Would elimination of the function fundamentally alter the job?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential.

F. What are the consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function? If they are significant, the function is more likely to be essential. 

G. Are there a limited number of employees among whom the performance of the function could be distributed if the incumbent could not perform it?  If so, it is more likely to be essential.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America