The International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina seeks a dynamic and effective museum professional to serve as Chief Curator. Located on Gadsden’s Wharf, the museum is scheduled to open in early 2022.

The ideal candidate for this position is a collaborative and forward-thinking leader with at least seven to ten years of progressive experience in a museum curatorial department; broad experience as an administrator and manager; and experience with strategic planning and team building.

This is a full-time, permanent position. All inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed to [email protected].  Applications will not be accepted unless submitted in compliance with the guidelines in this position description. For more information about the International African American Museum, please visit

The Position

The Chief Curator will provide leadership and strategic direction for the intellectual and interpretive strategies of the museum’s curatorial program including the research, design, and implementation of innovative exhibition strategies; care, management, and development of artifact, archival, and digital collections; development and production of dynamic educational and public programs, and facilitating access to genealogical resources; and oversight and guidance for the Center for Family History.

The successful candidate is a gifted leader, compelling communicator—both in writing and spoken word—an outstanding researcher, and able administrator, and a strong advocate for the museum. She or he will infuse energy into innovative and creative initiatives, and leverage collections, resources, and partnerships. It is essential that they be equally comfortable organizing major exhibitions, and/or using the platform to address timely and provocative topics such as racial identity or issues of social justice. A member of the Museum’s senior leadership team, the Chief Curator reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer.

The Chief Curator will oversee these critical aspects of Museum operations:


• In partnership with the Museum’s CEO and senior leadership team, the Chief Curator guides and will manage the installation of the Museum’s opening exhibitions. This will include shaping messaging, implementing final object and graphic selection, media and film development, script writing/editing, and scholarly reviews. This includes collaborating with and managing all exhibition consultants.

• The Chief Curator will develop and implement a long-term vision for the Museum’s exhibition program that utilizes a collaborative and integrated approach that significantly enhances the quality of the visitor experience, attracts positive press, and earns respect from the general public and community of historians.

• The Chief Curator will also conduct and/or supervise the development of in-house produced exhibitions including research, artifact and image selection, digital/media production, and script writing.

• The Chief Curator will work in collaboration with the Education and Engagement department to support audience assessment, community engagement, and curricula development.

Collections Management

• The Chief Curator will develop a multidisciplinary, long-term collections strategy providing stewardship and accountability for the museum’s collections including artifacts, works of art, archival and digital resources.

• The Chief Curator oversees and coordinates all aspects of collections management activities including acquisitions, loans, storage, security, documentation, conservation, inventory, installation/deinstallation, and digitization.

• The Chief Curator will also develop, implement, and maintain collections management systems and databases including applicable training, policy, protocols, and procedures.


• The Chief Curator conducts, directs, and encourages original, independent scholarly research on African American history and culture. The curator defines topics of genuine significance and ensure alignment with the museum’s strategic goals and priorities. The Chief Curator determines the feasibility of the topic for exhibition, publication, and/or public programming for both general and specialized audiences.

• The Chief Curator initiates, reviews, and/or evaluates proposals for new research projects or major shifts in existing research or curatorial initiatives. The curator will also render decisions on proposals and provide leadership and guidance on their improvement and/or implementation.


  • The Chief Curator recruits, trains, and supervises the museum’s curatorial department staff and consultants.
  • The Chief Curator has oversight of the Center for Family History.

Application Requirements

Applications should be submitted to [email protected]. Applications will only be accepted via email electronically. A complete application will include a resume detailing relevant educational and work experience, and a cover letter describing the applicant’s interest in the position and three professional references. The position will remain open until filled.


• At minimum, a Master’s degree in African American history or related field; knowledge of South Carolina history and a working understanding of African American genealogy is preferred but not required.

• A recognized expert in the field with at least three years senior management experience; minimum five years applied and progressive museum curatorial experience.

• Evidence of and commitment to original scholarship with a proven record of initiating, curating, and delivering well received exhibitions, publications, and, to a lesser degree, public programs.

• An understanding of visitor-centered approaches to content development.

• Senior-level management and leadership experience with a track record of success in managing people, operations, policies, and budgets.

• Highly developed research, writing, and oral communication skills; the presence and credibility to serve as an effective museum spokesperson with visitors, outside communities, supporters and donors, the public, and the media.

• A positive, proactive, and collegial work ethic