Job Listing: Curator
Gunston Hall - Fairfax, VA
Closes: January 23
Gunston Hall is a small museum with a highly collaborative, energetic staff dedicated to the power of
place, historical objects, and storytelling to create meaningful experiences for visitors of all ages. The
Curator is an important part of this team, playing a significant role in the education and guest
experiences team, where she or he works closely with the archaeologist, horticulturist, public programs
manager, and school and youth programs coordinator. Gunston Hall’s Curator cares for the objects,
archival materials, and rare books in the collection; uses the collection to help advance Gunston Hall’s
educational mission; ensures the preservation of the historic mansion, conducts and disseminates
historical research; leads the acquisitions process for additional items appropriate to the collection; and
serves as one of the public faces of the institution. All of these core responsibilities require a
demonstrated and enthusiastic passion for the distinctive ability of collections to tell stories, teach,
engage, and connect people with history and culture in authentic, personal, and inspirational ways.
The Curator reports to the Director of Education and Guest Experiences.
Primary responsibilities of the Curator include:
● Leading and implementing processes and activities that ensure the stewardship and
management of all collections in compliance with professionally accepted standards and best
practices, and identifying and rectifying areas requiring improvement.
● Creatively considering how collections objects can help tell the stories and ideas of Gunston
● Identifying holes in the collection, based on interpretive needs, and seeking objects,
documents, or rare books to fill those needs. Proposing such acquisitions to the interpretive
department and to the collections committee
● Conducting object and historical research to support the organization’s educational goals.
● Serving as a key member of program and exhibition development teams. Facilitating the use of
collections in programming, web content development, and social media posts. Proposing and
managing collections-related public programs, both in-person and virtual.
● Speaking to internal and external audiences about historical research, objects, architecture, and
● Striving to use the collections, historic area, and digital resources of Gunston Hall to tell the
stories of all people, enslaved and free, who lived at Gunston Hall during our periods of
● Applying historic preservation principles and practices to the mansion, maintaining it for
future generations as the institution’s largest and most significant collections item.
● Serving as a collections liaison to the Board of Regents and applicable committees and task
forces of the Board as outlined in the Collections Policy and otherwise as necessary.
● Developing, implementing, and monitoring collections care and acquisition budgets and
business plans as part of the organization’s strategic and inclusive budgeting process.
● Enabling Gunston Hall to better serve its various communities by collaborating with
organizations and individuals outside of the organization.
● Developing mutually beneficial projects for interns and volunteers; supervising interns and
volunteers; and contributing to intern and volunteer recruitment
● Supervising the part-time collections management technician.
● Identifying conservation needs, recommending strategies for treatment, and ensuring that
appropriate steps are taken to resolve the needs identified.
● Coordinating all incoming and outgoing loans; ensuring that the loans support interpretive
● Leading efforts to digitize collections.
● Leading, coordinating, and implementing all records management and retention activities for
● Identifying items for possible deaccession and pursuing as appropriate
We are seeking an individual with the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
● Demonstrated and successful experience and knowledge of professional standards and
practices relating to collections management, stewardship, and museum curation.
● Demonstrated experience and a commitment to use of collections as a critical component of
engaging, authentic, and impactful educational experiences at museums and historic sites.
● Commitment to interpreting difficult history, including slavery.
● Demonstrated commitment to making museums and historic houses accessible and relevant to
people of diverse backgrounds, ages, interests, and knowledge levels.
● Demonstrated commitment to providing and supporting exemplary guest service.
● Ability developing and achieving goals, managing projects, and implementing budgets and
● Commitment to leading and supporting entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives.
● Exemplary oral and written communication skills and a commitment to fostering effective
communication in a team environment.
● Belief in the value of collaborating with other staff members and people from outside the
● A positive attitude, energetic personality, and creatively open mind.
● A commitment to excellence.
Qualifications for this position include:
● A Bachelor’s degree in history, American studies, decorative arts or material culture studies or
related field is required; a Master’s degree in history, American studies, decorative arts or
material culture studies, museum studies, public history, cultural resource management, or
related field is preferred.
● A minimum of three years progressive experience demonstrating the required competencies.
● An equivalent combination of training and experience demonstrating the required
competencies may be substituted for a degree.
● A passion for the core themes embodied by George Mason and Gunston Hall, history, historic
sites, and storytelling is preferred.
● Knowledge of the 18th century and of material culture will strengthen a candidate’s
Compensation will be based on qualifications. Performance will be evaluated based on the
achievement of collaboratively determined team and personal goals specific to the requirements of the
The mission of Gunston Hall is to utilize fully its physical and scholarly resources to stimulate
continuing public exploration of democratic ideals as first presented by George Mason in the 1776
Virginia Declaration of Rights. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and a National
Historic Landmark, Gunston Hall was built from 1755-1759. The almost 6000 acre plantation was
the home of George and Ann Mason, their children, and hundreds of enslaved people, indentured
servants, wage workers, and tenant farmers. Today, the site strives to tell the stories of these diverse
people and how their stories contribute to our greater American narrative. The physical plant includes
the house called Gunston Hall; five reconstructed outbuildings; a visitor center, museum, event
facility, and museum shop; an on-going restoration of the 18th-century garden, and 550 acres of
diverse landscape situated along the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia. For more
information, please visit www.gunstonhall.org.
To apply please send a cover letter and resume to Rebecca Martin, Director of Education and Guest
Experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than January 23, 2021. Gunston Hall is an
equal opportunity employer.