Chief Curator | Oklahoma City, OK

Posted By: Brittany Petrilli Classified Job Listing,



Title: Chief Curator

Status: Exempt (45+hours)

Reports to: President & CEO

Direct Reports: 7 Direct, 6 Indirect

Position Start Date: January 3, 2022

Salary: $90,000


About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Home to one of the nation’s foremost collections dedicated to historic and contemporary Western and American Indian art and material culture, the Museum has served the public since its opening in 1965. The Museum Campus is situated on nearly 37 acres atop the Persimmon Hill District in rapidly growing and affordable Oklahoma City, the state’s capital and largest city. It includes the main 228,000 square foot building housing multiple galleries and interpretive areas, the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Library and Archive, and the Sam Noble Special Event Center, in addition to sculpture gardens, event grounds, and ample parking. This iconic cultural and educational institution has seen nearly 12 million visitors from across the nation and globe over its first half-century of operation and remains one of Oklahoma’s and the region’s primary tourist destinations. Entering its next half-century, the Museum now embarks upon an ambitious multi-year plan to establish itself as the preeminent cultural and educational institution dedicated to the American West and its place within the broader national identity and culture. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum mission is to preserves and interprets the evolving history and cultures of the American West for the education & enrichment of its diverse audiences of both adults and children.

About the Position

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum seeks a Chief Curator to oversee and create compelling exhibitions that positions the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and will be a vital voice in shaping the museum’s vision and mission. The Chief Curator leads strategic initiatives for exhibitions, public programs, and collections with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

The Chief Curator is a key member of the Museum’s executive leadership team and reports directly to the President & CEO. He/She directs the activities of the curatorial department while working collaboratively and cross-departmentally. This position leads the effort to build, present, care for and conserve the Museum’s collections and is responsible for the support and content of the exhibitions and related efforts. The Chief Curator manages the Curatorial Department working in a collegial manner to build trust and respect within the department and throughout the Museum.

Essential Responsibilities:

Responsible for shaping the Museum’s curatorial vision, the Chief Curator collaborates and consults with Executive Team colleagues, members of the Collection Committee of the Board, collectors, volunteers, and the community to expand the Museum’s audience by creating exhibitions, programs and publications that capture and engage a diverse audience.

Will be an innovative thinker and an operative in the museum field, will bring a high degree of curiosity to the position, and an eagerness to initiate collaborations and cultivate partnerships with other museums, cultural institutions, and universities, as well as foster a network of historians, artists, and cultural experts.

Will be a respected and seasoned leader with a record of achievement in curatorial work and museum management, and a high degree of financial acumen.

Develops, directs, and monitors short and long-range program plans involving all aspects of curatorial affairs operations, including scholarly research and publications, collections management and exhibitions. Makes major policy recommendations concerning curatorial activities, including matters of budget, staffing and organization.

Conducts and/or supervises exhibition development including research, artifact and image selection, digital/media production and writing interpretive text.

Capable of managing a strong group of diverse personalities, with the ability to build and perfect them into a team.

Develops multidisciplinary, long-term collections strategy providing stewardship and accountability for the collections including works of art, artifacts, archival and digital assets.

Works collaboratively with curators, educators, and IT specialists to develop a multifaceted digital strategy that provides meaningful opportunities for visor engagement. Embraces technology to create digital offerings (exhibitions, tours, games, curricula) that reach new and diverse audiences, and extend the presence of the Museum beyond the physical visitor experience. Actively contributes to the Museum’s expanding web and social media initiatives.

Education / Experience Requirements:

• Minimum of 5 years management-level museum experience with multiple direct reports plus at least 10 years applied curatorial experience

• A strong professional track record in museum administration, strategic planning, projects, program budgets and building collaborative relationship.

• MA in art history, American Western history/culture or related field required; emphasis on 20th Century art or American Western History/culture (PhD preferred).

• Applied knowledge of professional museum principles, practices and procedures

• Knowledge of research tools and methodology

• Self-directed and motivated

• Very flexible and helpful; occasional evening and weekend hours required

• Must have mastery English language, both written and verbal

To Apply:

Email Resume, Cover Letter, and salary expectations to by November 10th, 2021.