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Head of Collections

Company: Washington State Historical Society
Location: Tacoma
Posted on: January 17, 2020

Job Description:

Overview Founded in 1896, the Washington State Historical Society is a trustee agency of the State of Washington. Our mission is to partner with our communities to explore how history connects us all. The collections of the Society are housed in the original 1911 museum building and are comprised of approximately 83,000 artifacts, 600,000 photographs, 65,000 pieces of ephemera, and over 8 million documents. These collections span over 13,000 years of Washington state history and range from Clovis points found in a Wenatchee orchard, to Governor Isaac Stevens' buckskin coat, to pussy hats knitted for the Women's March in 2017. The Head of Collections will provide strategic vision for the department, leadership of the five person departmental team, and collaborative partnership with the Society's volunteers, stakeholders, and customers. A top priority for the Society moving forward is increased public access to its vast collections through digitization, exhibition, publication, and community outreach. The Head of Collections will need to develop strategies for supporting this public access mission. Other opportunities include expanding the diversity of communities represented in the collection, development of an active collecting strategy, and fully transitioning the Society's collections to the digital age. Description The Head of Collections ensures that the artifact, archival and special collections of the WSHS are developed, preserved, catalogued, and made accessible to the public in accordance with AAM and other industry standards. This position is responsible for partnering with other departments, in particular Audience Engagement, to ensure that the Society's collections are accessible and shared to the greatest extent possible with the public, through exhibitions, programs, digital access, or in-person research. The Head of Collections also serves as the site manager for the WSHS Research Center and therefore has responsibility for general oversight of the facility through building upkeep, security, and public safety, with assistance from the Support Services department. As a trustee agency of the state the WSHS holds in trust its collections for future generations, and consequently this position is central to carrying out the mission of the Society. Duties Collections Management Tasks include: Establish, maintain, annually review, and ensure adherence to collections management policies and procedures, in accordance with AAM and industry standards. Establish best practices and efficient workflows for accessioning, cataloguing, and deaccessioning of collections Lead the development and implementation of a plan for the strategic development of the Society's collections, including targeted acquisition and de-accessioning Work with AED staff to integrate collecting needs with existing exhibition development and community outreach. Convene and chair regular meetings of the Acquisitions Committee Supervise and maintain the collections inventory, including management of the quarterly audit exercise. Assess and approve loan requests from other institutions Lead Society efforts to fully catalogue, photograph and digitize the collections with the dual aim of improving the efficiency of collections' management and providing online access to the collections Facilitate the public exhibition of collections by fully supporting the Audience Engagement team in their exhibition planning and design efforts as they relate to the display of artifacts, ephemera, and special collections Create and implement a collections preservation plan; determine appropriate preservation priorities and actions to ensure long-term integrity of and access to the collections Ensure appropriate organization and maintenance of collections storage spaces to meet best practices and AAM standards Serve as the NAGPRA representative for the Society Support the Board Collections Committee by providing reports and facilitating meetings Develop strategy for and participate in cataloguing of collections as time allows Strategic Management Tasks include: Initiate and maintain strategic partnerships and relationships with relevant museums, cultural institutions, community groups, universities and other stakeholders to promote access and use to/of the collections, as well as development of donations/acquisitions. Support relationships and partnerships pertaining to collaborative research and exhibition activities Maintain contacts with peers at museums and cultural institutions regionally and nationally Work with the Philanthropy department to cultivate and steward relationships with donors as required; support Collections-related grant requests Take the lead in developing, communicating and implementing a strategic vision for the collection as a whole Ensure that key strategic goals are reflected and implemented in the day-to-day work of the Collections team Team Management Tasks include: Monitor implementation of work plans and development plans for individual team members, ensuring team members complete assigned tasks within agreed timeframes Ensure staff have the appropriate level of skills, support and training for tasks they are required to undertake Give regular informal feedback to team members and undertake formal performance reviews Establish and implement effective communication strategies within the team, and maintain a positive work environment to ensure that team members are productive and motivated Liaise with the Volunteer Coordinator to ensure appropriate volunteer support for the Collections team Departmental Administration Tasks include: Ensure that all Society policies, procedures and work practices are implemented and adhered to Ensure all organizational reporting requirements are completed accurately and on time Evaluate and manage risk associated with the collections Prepare and manage annual departmental budgets Share relevant information with colleagues and contribute to effective, positive internal communication Seek opportunities to continually improve the delivery of services to internal and external audiences Participate in regular management team meetings and contribute to organizational strategic planning and other initiatives as needed Site Management Tasks include: Ensure preservation and security of the collections by communicating building maintenance needs to Support Services department and establishing appropriate policies and procedures with regard to public and employee access to the collections Coordinate with Support Services regarding capital projects in the Research Center building Monitor the environment of the Research Center and Museum and coordinate with Support Services to solve inadequate environmental controls necessary to protect the collection Ensures the Research Center is secure on a daily basis by establishing and enforcing security protocols YourMembership.Category: Executive, Keywords: General Manager

Keywords: Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma , Head of Collections, Accounting, Auditing , Tacoma, Washington

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