Saturday, January 17, 2009

Position Open: Curator of Musical Instruments--Africa

The following is copied over from an announcement forwarded to me from a member of the MIM staff:

Position Available: Curator of Musical Instruments – Africa

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will celebrate the similarities and differences of the world’s cultures as expressed through music – a language common to us all. With musical instruments from every country in the world, MIM will pay homage to the history and diversity of instruments and introduce museum guests to their varied and unique sounds. MIM will be an engaging, entertaining, and informative experience, in which the uninitiated and the knowledgeable, the young and the old will feel welcome. MIM is an approximately $125 million project, with a 190,000 square foot building that is currently under construction in Phoenix, Arizona and is scheduled to open in 2010. Further information on MIM may be found at

In partnership with the President and Director, the Board, the Curatorial Department, and other MIM departments, the Curator will help build, interpret, and care for the MIM collection of African musical instruments. Specific duties will include:

• Building the collection by working independently and with the MIM team to identify, evaluate, document, and acquire appropriate instruments for exhibit, educational, or reference purposes.
• Developing content for exhibits including instruments, video, audio, and contextual elements.
• Preparing and presenting acquisition recommendations to the Acquisitions Committee.
• Identifying potential sources for long-term loans and donations of musical instruments and working with MIM staff and Board to secure these loans and gifts.
• Building relationships with scholars, collectors, other museum curators and professional societies.
• Contributing information for label copy and writing articles and catalogs relating to the collection and ongoing research.

The ideal candidate must bring high energy, vision, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness to this important position. MIM has an aggressive timeline for opening, so an ability to act quickly and with good judgment is paramount. Exceptional organizational, negotiation, problem-solving, and communication skills are required. Essential qualifications include:

• Advanced degree in Ethnomusicology with a focus on Africa, or advanced degree in Anthropology with a focus on African music or musical instruments. Broad trans-regional knowledge of African musical cultures is highly desirable.
• Extensive knowledge of and interest in musical instruments. Organology coursework is a plus.
• Some museum and collection management experience is desirable.
• Demonstrated success in building relationships with diverse people, such as research consultants, collectors, other museum curators, and musicians.
• Ability to problem-solve, work both independently and collaboratively, and excel in a high-performance team culture.

• This is a full-time position that is located in Phoenix, AZ; relocation assistance available.
• Salary is commensurate with education and experience.
• The ideal candidate will be available to start work within 1-2 months from date of hire.
• As the museum evolves, some of the duties of this position may change.
• Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Qualified candidates should submit a letter of interest directly addressing the qualifications detailed above, resume or CV, and three professional references to:

Curator of Musical Instruments – Africa
Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)
8550 S. Priest Drive
Tempe, AZ 85284

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