Job Opening – Assistant Registrar (02/2010)

2010 February 22

Smart Museum of Art
Chicago, IL

General Summary

The Assistant Registrar assists with all aspects of the Museums registration responsibilities, including collections management as well as temporary exhibitions. The Assistant Registrar directly manages many aspects of the permanent collection (including inventories, permanent collection rotations, class use, image requests, rights and reproduction issues, and acquisitions processing); coordinates incoming, outgoing, and campus loans; and manages Bernstein Gallery exhibitions.

Essential Functions

25% Assist with managing the museums permanent collection. Conduct regular inventories. Clean up backlog of incompletely processed or unprocessed acquisitions. Manage permanent collection rotations. Manage University class use of the permanent collection. Assist in developing and implementing conservation plans. Assist with data entry and management of object records (digital and paper).

15% Manage incoming and outgoing loans. Arrange packing, shipping, and conservation (if needed). Produce incoming and outgoing receipts, condition reports, and other paperwork. Serve as courier as needed.

15% Manage the Museums photographic materials, including overseeing digital asset standards and management. Process incoming and outgoing reproduction requests. Label and file new photographic materials, correspond with and send invoices to requestors, arrange for the production of photographic materials, and collect fee payment and file copies of publications. Monitor copyright status of objects and coordinate use paperwork.

10% Process new acquisitions to the collection. Arrange packing and shipping for gifts and purchases. Produce incoming receipts and condition reports, assign and apply accession numbers, and create object records (digital and paper).

10% Assist with maintaining galleries and art storage areas. Manage environmental monitoring and Integrated Pest Management. Assist with maintaining Certified Cargo Screening Facility status.

10% Assist with major exhibitions (Gray Gallery; at the Museum and traveling) and manage registration aspects of small exhibitions (Bernstein Gallery). Serve as courier for traveling exhibitions as needed.

8% Assist the Registrar with other registration and office functions. Assist with the hiring, supervision, and evaluation of student interns and volunteers. Help manage art handling training standards and implementation. Assist with budget planning and management.

5% Manage the ‘Art To Live With’ program and campus loans. Review placement locations, process paperwork, complete condition report, coordinate installation and deinstallation, conduct periodic inventories, and maintain object records (digital and paper).

2% Stay current in the field. Cross-train as needed to ensure that overall registration functions of the museum operate well.


  • Bachelors degree required, preferably in art history or closely related subject. Masters degree preferred in museum studies, art history, or other related subject.
  • Previous experience required in a museum registration office or related field.
  • Knowledge of museum standards regarding the care and handling of art required.
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical issues surrounding a museum art collection required.
  • Strong computer skills and familiarity with databases, especially TMS, required.
  • Ability to travel and occasionally work outside regular business hours required.
  • Ability to represent the Museum in a professional manner to donors, professional colleagues, and all university constituencies required.
  • Ability to pass a background check and security screening.

Mental Demands

  • Applicant must be detail-oriented and sensitive to the necessity of accurate record-keeping.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Excellent written, oral, and auditory communication skills.
  • Ability to see projects through to completion and ability to work well both with others and under own direction.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and prioritize workflow, both for self and for staff.

Physical Demands

  • Ability to see, handle, lift, push, pull, and carry objects.
  • Ability to crouch, climb, balance, and stand for long periods of time.
  • Ability to participate in transportation of artworks and withstand various outdoor temperatures.

Salary is competitive, depending upon qualifications, with comprehensive University of Chicago benefits. Review of applications begins immediately and position stays open until filled. To apply, submit application electronically at, job requisition number 084115.


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities associated with it.

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