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Director of Museum Affairs & Chief Curator

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Posted: 05/07/2017

The Preservation Society of Newport County
Museum Affairs

The Preservation Society of Newport County is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1945 to preserve and protect the architectural heritage of Newport County, Rhode Island. The Preservation Society’s collection of historic houses together with their landscapes, fine and decorative arts constitutes a unique cultural museum spanning the colonial period through the Gilded Age. Each house museum plays a significant role in the effort to preserve and interpret the evolution of Newport’s artistic, social, and cultural past, which reflects developments on the national level. The Preservation Society is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a designation achieved by only six percent of American museums. The Preservation Society of Newport County is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve, and present an exceptional collection of house museums and landscapes in one of the most historically intact cities in America. We hold in public trust the Newport Mansions, which are an integral part of the living fabric of Newport, Rhode Island. These sites exemplify three centuries of the finest achievements in American architecture, decorative arts, and landscape design spanning the Colonial era to the Gilded Age. Through our historic properties, educational programs, and related activities, we engage the public in the story of America’s vibrant cultural heritage. We seek to inspire and promote an appreciation of the value of preservation to enrich the lives of people everywhere.

Director of Museum Affairs & Chief Curator
Professional Opportunity
Newport, RI

The Preservation Society of Newport County, one of New Englands largest cultural organizations, seeks a Director of Museum Affairs & Chief Curator responsible for curatorial, conservation, academic and educational initiatives at its 11 historic properties.  The Director will oversee the care, display, research and interpretation of approximately 55,000 objects in the collections of the eleven historic houses, encompassing the fine and decorative arts, historic costume and textiles, photographs, books, letters, coaches, and carriages. Establish the major initiatives that focus staff efforts and financial resources on key projects in curatorial, exhibitions, collections management, conservation, public and youth programs, research, publications and site interpretation. Direct a staff of 10 full-time professionals and a $1.8 million budget.

Oversee curatorial, exhibition and collections management activities ensuring the sound stewardship and presentation of the Preservation Societys properties.

Work with volunteer advisory committees for Collections, Symposium and individual houses to ensure policies for acquisition, management and treatment of collections are adhered to.

Facilitate and help establish priorities for conservation treatment projects for individual collections objects and historic architectural elements.


Oversee the ongoing initiative to digitize collections records for Collections Management database and for public access. 

Direct the development and implementation of a wide range of programs for diverse audiences from scholars to the visiting public, The Newport Symposium, study days and the seasonal lecture series.

Administer the post-graduate Research Fellows program, including annual revisions to application guidelines and application review, and serve as primary academic advisor to the fellows.

Provide content to Communications Department for the website, social media and publications, as well as appear in promotional and educational segments radio and television.

Oversee content development and interpretation strategies for guided and audio tours, public and school programs, and publications.


Work with members of the staff to integrate the work of the Museum Affairs department with the larger mission of the organization.

Represent the Preservation Society at major professional conferences, public lectures, and community roundtables.


Serve as a liaison to external stakeholders in the museum, preservation and academic communities, fostering collaboration on projects for students and professional audiences. May include participation at symposia, professional forums, public programs and accredited academic courses at the college or university level and media appearances.


Exhibit high standards of written work and public speaking skills from the scholarly to popular level in order to effectively represent the Preservation Society's mission to a broad range of audiences.


Participate with major fundraising endeavors from grant writing to the donor cultivation.


Qualified candidates will possess an M.A. (Ph.D. preferred) in Material Culture, Decorative Arts, American Studies, Architectural history, Art History or a related field, the ability to foster a collaborative intellectual environment among a professional staff, diplomacy and tact, and a strong presence in public speaking.  Ten years of scholarly and museum or historic site management experience is preferred.

OPen until

How to apply
Send resume along with cover letter and professional references to MCorey@newportmansions.org, Humanresources@newportmansions.org or mail to The Preservation Society of Newport County, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 Attention: Maria Corey
Maria Corey
Phone: 401-847-1000
Fax: 401-847-1361
424 Bellevue Ave

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