Curator of Indigenous Art and Culture

Posted on 10/02/2019

Curator of Indigenous Art and Culture
Gilcrease Museum – Application Deadline: Open until filled

At a pivotal point in its history, Gilcrease seeks a Curator of Indigenous Art and Culture to reinterpret the museum’s collection of Native American and Indigenous material, particularly 20th-century and contemporary works.

Thomas Gilcrease, a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, established the Gilcrease Museum in 1949 with a focus on the art, history, and culture of the Americas and including one of the most significant holdings of Native American art and ethnography in the country. The Gilcrease collection includes approximately 200,000 Native American and Indigenous objects, including Plains and Southeastern pre- and post-removal art, archives, and material culture; Native Inuit and Northwest Coast art and material culture; Southwestern art and material culture; Mesoamerican archaeology; art of the Native American Church; and contemporary Native art.

In 2016, the museum received a $65 million appropriation from the City of Tulsa for a major building renovation and expansion, including new spaces for both temporary and permanent exhibitions. The expansion offers a unique opportunity to reimagine the interpretation of the Gilcrease collection.

The Curator of Indigenous Art and Culture will collaborate with curatorial and education departments to shape a new interpretive plan that spans the entire interdisciplinary Gilcrease collection. This position reports to the Senior Curator, and is responsible for researching the collection, developing dynamic permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibitions, identifying and bringing traveling exhibitions to Gilcrease, building community relationships, and advocating for Indigenous art and culture for a variety of audiences and constituents.


  • Curates temporary, permanent, and traveling exhibitions in collaboration with curatorial and education staff; creatively connects contemporary art and culture to history and historical narratives in the Gilcrease collections.
  • Collaborates with curatorial team on interdisciplinary projects featuring the broad spectrum of the Gilcrease collections—including art, anthropology, and archives and library
  • Conducts scholarly research on the Gilcrease collections for exhibitions and publications; publishes and presents at outside museums, conferences, and other professional venues
  • Identifies key strengths in Native American art collection; identifies new acquisitions priorities to augment existing collections; develops collection strategy
  • Identifies traveling exhibitions to bring to Gilcrease Museum to augment and expand upon existing Gilcrease collections
  • Participates in developing museum-wide interpretive plan
  • Participates in educational programming, and contributes to public presentations, symposia, and media programs
  • Builds and maintains relationships with Native American artists and communities
  • Works with Registrars, Collections Managers, and Conservators to monitor physical condition of collections and identify conservation priorities
  • Conducts staff and docent training
  • Facilitates research by visiting scholars and responds to public and professional inquiries
  • Interacts with donors, board members, The University of Tulsa staff, and volunteers; conducts VIP tours as requested
  • Assists in preparing and writing grant applications supporting the care and interpretation of the Native American art collection
  • Performs other duties as assigned

Physical Requirements:
Physical dexterity sufficient to use a keyboard and telephone; carrying, pushing, and pulling up to 50 pounds; may be subject to extended periods of walking, standing, sitting, reaching, balancing, bending, kneeling, handling, climbing, and twisting; must have visual acuity to closely examine small objects, speech and hearing sufficient to perform interact with co-workers and to communicate well with professional and general audiences.

Working Environment:
Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; occasionally working evenings or weekends may be required; occasional travel may be required.

Master’s degree from an accredited university or college in art history, art, anthropology, history, or related field; strong grounding in Native American and Indigenous art and culture; three to five years of experience working in a museum setting, including exhibition development; excellent communication skills: writing, public speaking, and interpretation for both scholarly and general audiences; ability to creatively interpret and present interdisciplinary museum collections; demonstrated ability to collaborate as a team member with staff and volunteers; ability to reach out and work with diverse communities, including communities of cultures associated with Gilcrease art collections, and constituents served by Gilcrease Museum; recognized scholarly ability demonstrated through publications and conference participation; ability to evaluate museum objects as to condition, authenticity, origin, and quality; demonstrated ability to manage concurrent projects and establish priorities; proven grant-writing experience; knowledge of the American Alliance of Museums best practices for the care and maintenance of collections; working knowledge of preventative conservation; ability to evaluate conservation needs of the collections; proficiency in PC or Mac software applications, including Word, Excel, and Outlook

Knowledge of NAGPRA federal laws and procedures for compliance; multilingual a plus; familiarity with Latin American art and artists a plus; experience integrating technology into exhibitions, programs, and research; experience with The Museum Systems (TMS) or other collection database

The University of Tulsa seeks to recruit and retain talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.  The University of Tulsa is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply.  The University does not discriminate on the basis of personal status or group characteristic including, but not limited to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, ancestry, or marital status.

Please submit a cover letter, résumé, and contact information for three references to:  The University of Tulsa, Office of Human Resources, 800 S. Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK  74104 or email to [email protected] or fax to (918) 631-3543.  The review of applications will commence immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

The University of Tulsa is an Equal Opportunity Employer Disabled/ Veteran.