Assistant Curator of Photography
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art seeks an innovative Assistant Curator of Photography for a three-year, grant funded position, with the possibility of extension. The Assistant Curator of Photography will be a shared position between the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (MBMA)and the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM), and will focus on the preservation, interpretation, and exhibition of the Hooks Brothers Photography Studio Collection. Founded in 1907, the Hooks Brothers Photography Studio became the second oldest continuously operating Black-owned business in Memphis until its closure in 1979. The studio produced formal portraits of nearly every important African American person to come through Memphis – from Blues legends like W.C. Handy and B.B. King to early civil rights leaders like Booker T. Washington. Additionally, the Hooks Brothers produced family portraits, graduation photos, and took their cameras out into the city to document daily life and major events in Memphis’ history.
The Assistant Curator of Photography will be situated within the curatorial team at the MBMA, and will report to the MBMA’s Chief Curator. The Assistant Curator of Photography joins the museum’s curatorial staff at a pivotal moment for the museum. MBMA is currently building a new facility on the banks of the Mississippi River designed by Pritzker Prize-winning firm Herzog & de Meuron at the center of a newly revitalized Downtown Memphis. The Assistant Curator will have the opportunity, in collaboration with MBMA’s Curatorial team, to plan the reinstallation of MBMA’s collection in the museum’s new facility. The new facility will be a fifteen-minute walk or four-minute drive from the NCRM. The MBMA has recently established a new partnership with NCRM to strengthen ties between the museums and facilitate the formation of a cultural complex in downtown Memphis.
Working closely with the curatorial team at the MBMA and the Education team at the NCRM, the Assistant Curator of Photography will work to develop an exhibition and catalogue documenting highlights of the collection. Different aspects of the exhibition will run concurrently at NCRM and MBMA. MBMA intends for the exhibition to tour nationally after closing in Memphis. The Assistant Curator of Photography will collaborate with museum education staff in their efforts to develop an outreach curriculum to engage Memphians in the interpretation of the collection.
The successful candidate will be an exemplary collaborator, possess deep knowledge in photography and the historical context for the Hooks Brothers’ studio, and have a proven record of work underpinned by a sincere interest in creating a more equitable museum.
- Generate and facilitate co-current Hooks Brothers Photography Studio exhibitions at MBMA and NCRM.
- Serve as project lead for the development of a catalog for the Hooks Brothers Photography Studio exhibition.
- Work closely with a shared Collection Manager position dedicated to the Hooks Brothers Photography Studio project.
- Collaborate with MBMA and NCRM museum education and marketing teams in support of the project.
- Lead and participate in Hooks Brothers Photography Studio-related public programs and events as needed.
- Serve as the primary liaison between MBMA, NCRM, and their community partners in support of the Hooks Brothers Photography Studio archive project.
- Contribute to the curatorial vision and planning for the museum’s new facility Downtown.
- Train and mentor interns, volunteers, and docents.
- Build and maintain relationships with curators, community stakeholders, academic institutions, directors, dealers, collectors, donors, critics, and art writers.
- Ensure that diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are primary considerations across all work.
- MA in Art History or related field, Ph.D. preferred, with a special emphasis in photography.
- Demonstrable knowledge of and involvement in the field of photography and related media, including historical and contemporary material.
- Minimum 1 year of museum experience or other arts non-profit in relevant capacity.
- Knowledge of collections management software, TMS preferred.
- Openness and willingness to engage with a variety of stakeholders and community members.
- Record of work showing interest in creating a more equitable museum and/or interest in social justice and knowledge of critical theories including but not limited to race, class, ability, gender, and sexuality.
- Excellent planning, scheduling, and organizational skills, with the ability to prioritize and meet multiple deadlines.
- The ability to work collaboratively across departments.
- Ability and willingness to attend out-of-hours functions as necessary.
Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Recent studies show that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria, yet women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds.
Qualified candidates are invited to apply by emailing a letter and a CV to Rosamund.Garrett@brooksmuseum.org with “Assistant Curator of Photography” in the subject line. Candidates from historically underrepresented groups in the museum field are especially encouraged to apply.
Benefits: (i) A cafeteria plan that includes optional health, dental, vision, additional life insurance and supplemental policies, and a flexible spending account. The museum contributes toward the employee portion of premiums related to your choice of benefit options. (ii) A403(b) retirement plan. The museum matches up to 4% of your salary annually. (iii)Employment category, combined with years of service to the museum, determines the amount of time off (OPTO) that each employee receives in addition to regular paid holidays.
Founded in 1916 and located in historic Overton Park, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the oldest and largest art museum in Tennessee and a cultural anchor for the tri-State area that includes Arkansas and Mississippi. The museum holds over 10,000 works spanning 5,000 years of global human history with strengths in European, American, African diaspora, and global contemporary art, and with a particular strength in photography. The MBMA enriches the lives of our diverse community through the museum's expanding collection, dynamic exhibitions, and enriching programs that reflect the art of world cultures from antiquity to the present.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or marital or veteran status. We actively encourage minority candidates to apply for open positions.