Job Vacancy: Processing Archivist/Collections Manager, Joseph Cornell Study Center

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is seeking a Processing Archivist/Collections Manager to process the Joseph Cornell Study Center “archives.” This is a temporary, privately-funded position, not to exceed three years. All work will take place in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Research & Scholars offices, located in Washington, D.C.


The Joseph Cornell Study Center is comprised of approximately 320 linear feet of the artist’s source materials and studio effects, dating from the 18th to the 20th century (approximately 226 record carton boxes). Included are handwritten and typed manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, postcards, prints, theater playbills, stamps; and assorted dime store trinkets and other found objects, such as bird’s nests, ceramic figurines, clay pipes, cordial glasses, costume jewelry, marbles, shells, children’s toys and board games. The collection also includes the artist’s personal library (over 3,000 titles ranging from rare eighteenth century French texts to Little Golden Books from the 1950s) and hundreds of record albums.

Duties and responsibilities of the position

The incumbent will be chiefly responsible for:

  • Processing – survey, organize, arrange and describe the collection according to archival and/or museum standards and best practices
  • Cataloging – create inventories and detailed DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)-compliant finding aid and encode that finding aid according to EAD (Encoded Archival Description) standard for electronic finding aids, using Archivists’ Toolkit or ArchivesSpace software
  • Preservation – follow best practices for the handling and storage of fragile materials, identify items within the collection that may require additional professional conservation work
  • Reference – may help respond to incoming queries for information about the collection

Top Candidates will have:

  • Knowledge of art history, especially American, 20th century art
  • Education or experience in Library Science or Archives Management
  • At least 3 years’ experience processing archival or special collections
  • Knowledge of archival best practices and standards, such as EAD and DACS
  • Familiarity with Archivists’ Toolkit or ArchivesSpace
  • Ability to communicate orally and in writing in a clear, objective and efficient manner

Preference will be given to prospective candidates with prior experience processing artists’ papers and a knowledge of art history, especially American or 20th century art.

Salary & Benefits

This is a temporary position, not to exceed 3 years. Salary starting at $54,972 per year. Benefits include health insurance, holidays and leave accrual.

How to Apply

Send cover letter and resume detailing relevant experience to: Christine Hennessey, Chief, Research & Scholars Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Send by email to: with subject line: Cornell Study Center
Or Fax application to: 202-633-8373.
Review of applications begins March 1, 2017. Position open until filled
The Smithsonian is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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