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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellow, Chrysler Museum of Art and the Hampton University Museum (Norfolk & Hampton, VA)

Job Summary

The Chrysler Museum of Art (CMA) and the Hampton University Museum (HUM) are pleased to announce a joint graduate curatorial fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focused on modern African painting and traditional African sculpture. The Curatorial Fellowship is an opportunity to work with two unique collections of African art in two very special museum collections and environments. This three-year pilot fellowship is available to an outstanding recent MA or Ph.D. graduate specializing in historic and/or contemporary African art and interested in a museum career.

Project Background and Goals
The Fellow’s project will focus on conducting research and eventually organizing an exhibition on works of art in the HUM’s Harmon Foundation Collection, and, the CMA’s African collection. The curatorial fellow will be mentored by Dr. Kimberli Gant, (CMA) and Dr. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward (HUM) for the three-year period. The Fellow will be housed at the Hampton University Museum for the first year; the second year at the Chrysler Museum of Art and will select which institution to be based at during the third year.

Job Requirements and Responsibilities

  • Support the program managers in the execution of the three-year pilot project’s mission as well as the mission of both institutions
  • Work in two different museum settings in a professional manner
  • Conduct and update the inventory for the HUM Harmon Foundation African Art Collection
  • Research the Harmon Foundation’s modern African gift to HUM collection to identify 20-30 works to highlight during this project for both conservation, scholarship and exhibition
  • Research CMA’s traditional African collection to identify 20-30 works for exhibition
  • Organize/curate an exhibition project based on the institutions’ collections to be on view at both institutions in third year
  • Create an accompanying catalogue
  • Publish research in HUM’s IRAAA journal, project website, and CMA’s Member Magazine
  • Present virtual public talks to both CMA and HUM patrons and University students
  • Participate in scholarly conferences and seminars to present research in progress
  • Participate in bi-weekly meetings with Dr. Gant and Dr. Thaxton-Ward for project updates
  • Participate in HUM and CMA regularly scheduled dept meetings
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

Degree in African History, Art History, Anthropology, or related field, within the past five years, (MA required, Ph. D. preferred) and at least two years professional museum work experience (this can be a combination of internships and employment).

Required Skills

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills to effectively connect and engage constituents through public speaking and writing
  • Ability to develop and maintain a wide variety of working relationships with many different colleagues at the two sites and including the general public
  • Ability to research historical collections and archives
  • Ability to input information in collections management system TMS (ideal)
  • Ability to proactively manage peaks and flows of workload and complete multiple tasks on time

Additional Details

CMA is located in Norfolk and HUM is located in Hampton, Virginia. The Fellow will receive a stipend of $45,000 per year, with full benefits, including relocation, funding for travel, and memberships. The term is September 2021 to August 2024. Hours will be M-F, 9am-5pm with some evenings and weekends as needed. A background check will be required for this position.

The Chrysler Museum and Hampton University Museum are an Equal Opportunity Employers of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Hampton University Museum
Founded in 1868, the Hampton University Museum is the oldest African American museum in the U.S., and, one of the oldest museums in Virginia. Hampton’s collection consists of 10,000 objects including traditional art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Native America, as well as African American art, such as works by Henry O. Tanner. The Harmon Foundation collection includes African American art, and an extensive collection of modern African art; 200+ paintings, prints and sculpture by more than 40 African artists. The modern African art includes Nigerian artists Ben Enwonwu, Akinola Laskean, and Bruce Onobrakpeya; South African artists Peter Clarke; Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi, and many others.

Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum, founded in 1933, is the largest encyclopedic institution in Hampton Roads. It has over fifty galleries with a growing collection of over 30,000 objects. It acquires, preserves, exhibits, and promotes works of art from ancient Greco-Roman sculpture to contemporary video. The Museum’s African art collection has approximately 100 objects from central and western Africa, predominately from the late nineteenth-to-early twentieth centuries. There is also a budding collection of modern and contemporary art by artists from the African continent.

Application Deadline – July 31, 2021 at 5pm ET.

To Apply

Please email the following to:

Kimberli Gant, McKinnon, Ph.D. Curator of Contemporary Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, – kgant@chrysler.org
Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Ph. D. Director and Chief Curator, Hampton University Museum – vanessa.thaxton-ward@hamptonu.edu

  • Cover letter, not to exceed one-page, explaining the applicant’s interest in the fellowship
  • An abstract, not to exceed two pages, double-spaced, describing the applicant’s area of research
  • A CV of education, employment, honors, awards, and publications
  • Three letters of recommendation (academic and professional)
  • Two writing samples (scholarly article/research paper/catalogue essay, etc.)
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