It is an exciting time at Hancock Shaker Village, and we seek a highly motivated professional to advance a curatorial vision for a vibrant living history museum with a deep and historic commitment to the Shakers. The curator must work well in a fast-paced environment to organize innovative exhibitions; undertake research; preserve and highlight the collection in interesting ways, and be a critical part of a team that is creating proper collection storage and display. If you are mission-driven, love history and the arts, are intellectually curious, with a passion for the Shakers, and take pride in working hard with a dedicated team, we would love to hear from you.
This is a full-time position with excellent benefits. The ideal candidate has an advanced degree in art history, decorative arts, public history, or a related field, at least four years of relevant curatorial experience, including exhibition development, proven success with research, writing, and public speaking, and an enthusiastic, engaged commitment to both one’s community and the cultural world. Demonstrated knowledge of best practices in object care and building preservation desired, and experience with the complex requirements of object care in historic buildings and a large outdoor venue are desirable. Ability to convey curatorial objectives effectively, passion to care for objects and buildings to the highest standards, and an understanding of how to creatively connect audiences with the Shakers desired.
To be considered for this position, please submit a cover letter describing your interest and experience along with your resume, and three professional references to: email@example.com. Hancock Shaker Village is an equal opportunity employer.
- Creating and implementing compelling exhibitions, and coordinating all loans of objects and travelling exhibitions.
- Being a key player in the interpretive build-out of a new collections storage center that allows the museum to better preserve the artifacts and tell the story of what they represent
- Disseminating scholarship about the Hancock Shakers and the Shaker movement in general through study of objects and archival records, assuring the accuracy of representations to the public of interpretation of objects and archival material, and serving as a resource to the staff on curatorial matters. The Curator works closely with the Director of Education to incorporate current research and collections into an exciting interpretive plan, and produces interpretive material (including but not limited to exhibition catalogues, brochures, guides, the website, etc.).
- Working closely with the Director of Farm and Facilities overseeing and planning for the maintenance and preservation of the village’s historic buildings.
- Ensuring that Hancock Shaker Village’s collection is cared for properly by continuing research of the care and documentation of Hancock Shaker Village’s collection, historic buildings, and archival material in concert with current standards in the field.
- Maintaining collections database and updating records in past-perfect for accurate online hosting and scholarship.
- Supervising part-time staff and volunteers, including a librarian and collections assistant.
About Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum on 750 tranquil acres in the heart of the Berkshires. A National Historic Landmark, the property includes 20 historic Shaker buildings, including the 1826 Round Barn and 1830 Brick Dwelling, and a working farm with livestock and heirloom gardens. The museum is home to more than 22,000 artifacts including furniture, textiles, hymnals, and everyday goods, making it one of the premier Shaker collections in the world. There’s as much reverence in pulling an onion as there is in singing hallelujah, said one Shaker, and Hancock Shaker Village does a bit of both.
The significance of Hancock Shaker Village’s collections is evidenced by the variety of constituents who visit each year. The broad nature of our collection provides a source of information for those interested in decorative arts, 19th-century technologies, and the community of the Shakers, including their life, architecture, music, and religion. The collection includes:
- Furniture: 1,000 documented examples of the Shakers’ distinctive form of design
- Tools and Equipment: 3,200 artifacts associated with the Shakers’ community and commercial enterprises
- Household Objects: 3,400 examples of ceramics, glassware, woodenware, tinware, ironware, and basketry, produced by/or used by the Shakers
- Art: 100 objects, including graphics of Shaker buildings and sites, and the second-largest collection (25 examples) of “gift” or “spirit” drawings, which rank at the forefront of American folk art
- Textiles: 1,200 examples of Shaker costume, domestic textiles, and specialty products made and used by the Shakers or sold to outsiders and other Shaker communities
- Commercial Graphics: 1,300 artifacts, including labeled seed packages and boxes
- Archival: 2,000 imprints, 10,000 photographs, plus letters and manuscripts.
The Shakers settled this land in the Berkshires in 1780, building a vast village that extended over the towns of Hancock, Pittsfield, and Richmond in Western Massachusetts. They called their village the City of Peace and created a value-driven communal society that nurtured goals as far-ranging as gender and racial equality, social reform, sustainability, innovation, and pacifism. Their buildings, furniture, and artifacts emphasized Shaker attitudes toward honesty, utility, and design, and remain a lasting legacy for us today and into the future. The Shakers’ influence on American history, thought, design, and music extended far beyond their relatively small numbers. This influence lives on at Hancock Shaker Village, and is made manifest in the buildings and artifacts they left behind, the exhibitions we present, and our programs that tell a story rooted in the fertile soil of history, imagination, dedication, and beauty. Simply stated, Hancock Shaker Village exists to provide an historic context to the Shaker story, to preserve the site and all it contains for future generations, and to bring this narrative to life in compelling ways.