Chief of Collections Care – A New Senior Management Team Position
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s celebrated international museum and houses important collections of art, culture and nature. ROM is the largest and most attended museum in Canada, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors per year. It has a membership of over 24,000 households and an annual budget of $80 million CAD and is a world leader in communicating its research and collections to the public. A globally recognized field-research institute, home to more than 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, ROM features 40 galleries and exhibition spaces in its original heritage building and its 2007 Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind.
Evolving for the 21st Century
ROM’s vision is to become a distinctly 21st-century museum, one that is globally known for expanding the boundaries of knowledge, innovation in presenting that knowledge, and public relevance within the intersecting worlds of art, culture, and nature.
To realize this vision, ROM has embarked on a new strategic direction that builds on its strengths and capabilities while evolving in step with a rapidly changing world. The Museum is becoming an ever more outward-facing institution, focused on playing a central role in community and cultural life, while increasing impact – artistic, cultural, and scientific – nationally and internationally.
Situated in the most diverse major city in the world, within a province and country known for pluralism, openness and global perspectives, ROM is well positioned for the future and for an even greater role on the world stage. By leveraging ROM’s strengths and capabilities, and applying them in fresh and far-reaching ways, by investing to create greater engagement through inclusion, transdisciplinary thinking, digital practices and innovation, ROM is charting a new and bold way forward as it pursues its goal to become one of the world’s foremost museums. Learn more about ROM’s Strategic Direction.
Overview of Collections Care
ROM is seeking an experienced and strategic leader gifted at communication and building collaborative relationships, with broad collections-management experience in natural history, arts and culture. The new Chief of Collections Care (CCC) will oversee the direct management of ROM’s permanent collections, including 13 million objects and specimens in 27 different disciplines spanning the arts and sciences. A member of the Senior Management Team and key partner in institutional long-range planning, the CCC reports to the Deputy Director, Collections & Research and Chief Innovation Officer (DD C&R). The CCC manages, coaches, and mentors staff in areas of registration, conservation, collections management, and data management to develop short- and long-term strategies to advance the preservation, care, and quality of the collections.
ROM Registrars manage acquisitions, accessions, deaccessions, cultural property applications, collections insurance, intellectual property, and related contracts. The department also handles incoming and outgoing loans and exhibitions, condition and facility reports, and associated collections movement.
Conservators at ROM use technical and analytical methods to confirm fabrication materials and techniques, assess provenance, authenticity, and the condition of materials. They guide storage and exhibition conditions including climate and IPM, and mitigate threats to object safety. Conservators, including inorganic, organic, preventative, paper, painting and textiles specialists, treat objects and perform research. Conservators work collaboratively with curatorial and exhibitions staff and provide curriculum-based internships for conservation students at the graduate level.
The CCC oversees the use of TMS Collections, ROM’s collections management system, and collections management implementation across all collections departments.
Within the Division of Collections and Research, the CCC partners with the Co-Chief Curators to establish and update best practices in collections storage, handling and care to promote a strong culture of collections stewardship. The CCC, in partnership with the DD C&R, leads the vision, planning, staffing and strategy for developing the future of ROM’s multiple onsite and offsite storage facilities.
The Chief of Collections Care is an emotionally mature and strategic leader with experience in organizational cultural change in a large organization. Candidates will be passionate about the care of all of ROM’s collections and have exceptional people skills. They will be strategic thinkers and have museum acumen that produces results through informed decision making and knowledge gained through experience. Candidates will feel comfortable in complex environments and thrive on solving problems. The CCC joins ROM at a time of focused hiring of Indigenous staff, renewed cultural support for Indigenous staff, and very engaged work with Indigenous partners, including repatriation and reinterpretation of collections.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- The Chief of Collections Care will oversee efficient and collaborative Registration, Conservation, and Collections Management functions including access, loans and acquisitions, deaccessions, specimen preparation standards, collections storage, and the collections side of exhibitions and research.
- With the Deputy Director, Collections & Research, develop overarching vision for integration and management of multiple offsite and onsite collections storage facilities and spaces, including gradual shift to materials-based organization as appropriate.
- Direct staffing and resource allocation at offsite storage facilities.
- Work in close collaboration with Co-Chief Curator of Art & Culture, and Co-Chief Curator of Natural History to ensure collections best practices in all areas.
- Collaborate with Co-Chief Curators and Senior Manager of Conservation to ensure laboratory spaces and practices are maintained at optimal safety, efficiency, and ethical standards.
- Propose, track, and manage the annual collections budget.
- Oversee effective and consistent creation and management of data associated with collections in partnership with Information Technology Services.
- Ensure a high degree of communication from and between all collections departments.
- Implement strategic collections care improvements.
- Foster a culture of communication and collaboration with other departments including exhibitions, programs, security, facilities, digital, development, and marketing.
- A master’s degree in Museum Studies, Museum Administration, Collections Stewardship or a related field; or in Science, Art, or History is required. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be accepted.
- Five years’ collections-management experience in a senior leadership role, and 15 years in the field desired.
- Broad knowledge of best practices and professional museum standards for collections management, policies and procedures, encompassing the care and display of object and specimens, as well as database management, integrated pest management (IPM), and issues related to provenance.
- Excellent supervisory skills and an inclusive management style. Demonstrated leadership abilities with experience in leading cultural change and actively supporting a team’s professional development.
- Ability to manage multiple complex projects with strict deadlines.
- Proficiency with collections management systems, preferably TMS Collections, with knowledge of current best practices and trends in collections-management technology.
- Familiarity with domestic and international art shipping, indemnity, and risk management. Experience in fine arts insurance, CITES, and international protection, import and export regulations.
- Knowledgeable in issues of repatriation and restitution.
- Knowledge of challenges and solutions in large collections storage facilities.
- Highly organized and team-oriented with positive outlook; skilled leader, clear communicator and writer, and active listener.
- Ability to work well with staff, Board members, donors, volunteers, contractors, and the public. Excited to manage people and create an effective team; ability to coach, mentor, and performance manage toward goals.
- Knowledge of museum ethical standards.
- Familiarity with data and metadata standards
- Experience at an interdisciplinary museum, particularly in both Science and Art or History
- Experience with substantial collections moves is a plus
- Evidence of or experience as an organizational change agent
- Indigenous and people of color strongly encouraged to apply
Desired Personal Characteristics
- High emotional intelligence, resiliency, and self-awareness.
- Intellectually curious with an appetite for working and growing professionally.
- A leader with the skill to help others see the necessities and benefits of change while building and supporting effective teams.
- A strong communicator who proactively fosters collaborative participation among internal staff and departments.
- A champion of large capital and expansion projects, with the tenacity to see them to completion.
- Aspirational to achieve best practices in collections care, but patient and flexible, able to set incremental goals.
- Sensitive to cultural heritage and aware of the complex societal pressures present in this work.
- High integrity and credibility.
- Salary range is $190,000 - $224,000 CAD.
- Generous Benefits include:
- Medical and dental plan, life insurance, long-term disability insurance
- Health Spending Account and fitness facility discounts
- Pension plan
- 3 weeks of vacation entitlement; and personal days
- Employee Assistance Program
This is not a remote position.
Apply in confidence: Email 1) cover letter expressing interest in this particular position, giving brief examples of past experiences and salary requirement; 2) resumé or curriculum vitae; and 3) names and contact information of at least three references and your professional relationship, by May 12, 2023, to: Ida Tomlin, Senior Search Consultant, Museum Search & Reference at: SearchandRef@museum-search.com. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant. For additional information, visit: http://museum-search.com/open-searches/.
Nominations are welcome.
Short-listed candidates subsequently will be asked to provide publication samples.
Diversity Statement: At ROM, equity, diversity, and inclusivity are foundational to institutional success. ROM seeks to foster a workplace that reflects the full breadth of the communities served and welcomes applications from women, racialized persons/BIPOC, Indigenous/Aboriginal People of North America, 2SLGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.
Accessibility Statement: ROM is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. Upon request, suitable accommodations are available under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to applicants invited to an interview.
COVID Statement: The Museum recognizes its heightened duty to protect employees from health and safety risks during the current pandemic. As such, an offer of employment shall be conditional on proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination with a vaccine series approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization.
ROM is an agency of the Government of Ontario | ontario.ca.
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