Curator of Interpretation

  • 04 May 2021 3:16 PM
    Message # 10441806

    POSITION: Curator of Interpretation

    REPORTS TO: Deputy Director, Art and Programs

    STATUS: Full-time, Exempt

    Job Summary

    The Mississippi Museum of Art is seeking a Curator of Interpretation to spearhead the development, implementation, and evaluation of all aspects of in-gallery interpretation.  The Curator of Interpretation is the link and liaison between the Chief Curator and the Director of Academic Affairs, conducting research on planned exhibitions and working with educators, fellows, interns, and academic partners to bring them to life in the galleries and beyond the museum walls. Promoting holistic engagement with visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, the department is organized into three teams—school programs, public programs, and family and studio programs– and enriches visitors’ experiences by meeting the changing needs of the museum and our communities.  The Curator of Inter­­­­pretation will create engaging interpretive content that will invite visitors to make relevant connections between the MMA’s exhibitions and collections and their own lived experiences. This position works closely with the Deputy Director, Public Programs and Education team, as well as with the Director of Academic Affairs, to shape and implement a vision for the department aligned with the Museum’s mission, values, and goals. In addition, they will engage colleagues in carrying out strategic institutional priorities as well as mentor colleagues and support professional growth. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a commitment to fostering socially, intellectually, and physically accessible and inclusive visitor experiences.

    Essential Functions

    Role #1: Leadership, Management, and Accountability

    ·         Developing a strategic plan for education and interpretation, in coherence with the institutional strategic plan, to advance the Museum as a visitor-centered learning destination.

    ·         Overseeing and planning a public programming agenda that attracts engagement with the audiences specified in the strategic plan and that deepens visitor engagement with museum exhibitions.

    ·         Overseeing the Teaching Fellows Program, including curriculum planning and instruction.

    ·         Overseeing an object-based studio program that incorporates exhibitions and the collection into creative practice and art therapy programs.

    ·         Identifying, hiring, and managing outside consultants and/or contractors including outside vendors, videographers, transcribers, and fabricators to support interpretive projects.

    ·         Establishes productive and collaborative working relationships with colleagues; sustains and strengthens a culture of innovation, trust, communication, teamwork, and integrity.

    ·         Supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, equitable, and antiracist institution; treats colleagues and visitors fairly and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives to our organization.

    Role # 2: Interpretation

    ·         Leading the interpretive planning process for major exhibitions and renovations.

    ·         Acts as the Program Director for the Center for Art and Public Exchange (CAPE) working closely with the Artistic Director and Managing Director of CAPE to create a series of public programs exploring art and art making through the lens of race and equity.

    Role #3: In-gallery experience and visitor experience

    ·         Overseeing and implementing in-gallery programs and hands-on interpretive materials, including the volunteer program and gallery guides.

    ·         Overseeing the development, implementation, and evaluation of audio tours, mobile phone guides, the Museum app, and other in-gallery technology, as required.

    Role # 4: Audience research/evaluation

    ·         Keeping up to date on scholarship related to the visitor experience and museum pedagogy and sharing information with staff colleagues on a regular basis to advocate for the optimum visitor experience in all departments of the museum

    Role # 5: Community engagement

    ·         Acts as a museum representative through lectures, interviews, tours, and conferences; enthusiastically assumes an active role in the Mississippi community to promote visibility and recognition; forges sustainable partnerships with JPS and other schools, community organizations and businesses, and nonprofits and government entities.

    Role # 6: Program/audience documentation and data-keeping

    ·         Assesses current and proposed new programs based on impact, cost, funding, and mission alignment; supports the museum’s goals to offer a broad range of inclusive learning opportunities; and institutes pedagogical, structural, and operational changes to increase equitable access and meaningful engagement for visitors.

    ·         Collaborates with curators to develop meaningful and progressive approaches to exhibition content, permanent collection experiences, and public programming;


    ·         Works closely with development colleagues on fundraising initiatives and to implement responsible program plans and cost controls; identifies potential sources of program funding through relationships with private, foundation, school and government funders.

    Supervisory Responsibility

    ·   Supervises the Education Department and the Assistant Curator for Public Programs


    ·         MA in art history desired, design, museum education, or a related field or professional experience equivalent

    ·         5-7 years creating interpretive materials for a range of audiences

    Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

    ·         Knowledge of education best practices and an understanding of diverse pedagogical approaches to education, art education, art history, and social issues

    ·         Familiarity with learning styles and developmental stages

    ·         Facility and comfort with both digital and face-to-face educational experiences

    ·         Proven managerial, problem-solving, and planning capabilities

    ·         Demonstrated ability to forge mutually respectful and effective relationships with curators, scholars, performers, and artists

    ·         Outstanding oral and written communication skills

    ·         An open-minded and collaborative approach to working and communicating with colleagues across the museum

    ·         Ability to work cohesively with a team and to produce quality results

    ·         Excellent project management and collaboration skills

    ·         Highly detailed organizational skills

    ·         High level of professionalism, integrity, and good judgment

    ·         Strong familiarity with current research and practice on emerging technologies in museum and exhibition environments.

    ·         Excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication skills


    Some travel may be required.

    Physical Demands and Work Environment

    The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    ·         Some duties may require long periods of standing and walking as well as frequent reaching and kneeling, pushing, pulling, carrying, lifting and moving objects 5 pounds or more. Work my be performed both indoors and outdoor throughout the facility and grounds.

    About the Mississippi Museum of Art

    The Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to creating a diverse environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The Museum is a private not-for-profit and is not a department or agency of the state or federal government.

    The Mississippi Museum of Art is more than an art museum in Jackson, Mississippi. It is a museum of Mississippi – a museum that connects Mississippians to our culture, our history, our communities, and to each other. It is a museum informed by the legacy of our past and emboldened by a vision of a future without division.

    We believe it our responsibility to the community to explore and examine every facet of the Mississippi story. The Mississippi Museum of Art is committed to curating a shared space for every Mississippian – a brave space where we can all find wonder, peace and a voice. 

    We pride ourselves in being a visitor and community-focused art museum and garden in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. The Museum employs a collaborative staff that works to ensure the exhibitions, programs, operations, and community outreach fulfill the mission, vision, and core values of the institution. We are committed to building a culture of inclusivity that includes continued professional development opportunities at all levels of the Museum.


    The Mississippi Museum of Art connects Mississippi to the world, and the power of art to the power of community.


    Committed to honesty, equity, and inclusion, the Mississippi Museum of Art is a leader in engaging art, artists, and participants in the critical work of reckoning with the past, connecting with each other in the present, and envisioning a future without division.

    Core Values

    ·         Warm Welcome + Inclusion. The Museum will model open hospitality for all people and will demonstrate inclusiveness at all levels of its operations and programs.

    ·         Honesty + Diversity. Honoring diverse viewpoints, histories, and lived experiences, the Museum will be a place for honest conversations that respect difference in the service of increased understanding and empathy.

    ·         Local Relevance + National Distinction. The Museum pursues deep investigations into Mississippi’s cultural history and produces programs of high quality and relevance that attract new national partners seeking to explore the relationship between Mississippi and the world. 

    ·         Artworks + Artists. Museum programs will honor the primacy of artistic objects as sources of meaning and will include, when possible, meaningful opportunities for participants to have personal experiences with visual artists.

    ·         Excellence + Equity. Museum programs, exhibitions, and collections will place artistic value as critical, while simultaneously dismantling traditional hierarchies of genre and style.

    ·         Trust + Authority. The Museum values academic scholarship and accuracy; and, at the same time, it trusts the voices of people who have lived experiences that deepen the meaning of its exhibitions.

    To apply for an opportunity to be a part of our dynamic team, please send your cover letter and résumé to