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Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials to Tenley directly at tbank@koyapartners.com.

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. 

Job Description:

Date Posted: March 22, 2021
Classification: Full-Time/Exempt
Reports to:  Executive Director/CEO 

Scope of Position:

The Director of Curatorial Affairs/Chief Curator is a member of the museum’s senior management team and oversees all programmatic aspects of the museum including collections, exhibitions, and education at all three Telfair sites. The Director of Curatorial Affairs/Chief Curator, working closely with the Executive Director/CEO, is responsible for formulating a cohesive, creative vision for the museum’s year-round schedule of exhibitions and educational programming that will allow it to achieve the museum’s mission and the goals articulated in Telfair’s Strategic Plan.

The Director of Curatorial Affairs/Chief Curator partners closely with the Executive Director/CEO in advancing the public brand of the museum and serves as an ambassador for its collections, exhibitions and programs. The position will also work closely with the Executive Director/CEO and senior staff to develop the next institutional Strategic Plan, including helping to create a compelling vision for the future of Telfair Academy and the entire Telfair Campus.

Responsibilities include integrated long-range planning of exhibitions and collections; direction of the curatorial and education staff; and the traveling exhibition program. The Director of Curatorial Affairs/Chief Curator also works closely with all other departments on museum-wide initiatives and planning, including the development and execution of fundraising strategies, marketing plans, and programming highlighting temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead the curatorial, collections, and education staff, working closely with senior leadership to attract, develop, and retain talent. Direct reports include Senior Curator of Education, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Curator of Historical Collections and Programs, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Assistant Curators, and any curatorial interns.
  • Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.
  • Craft an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions and permanent collection displays for the museum’s three sites that builds upon Telfair’s historic strengths and achieves the museum’s vision for the future. Provide leadership and oversight for all exhibitions, including overseeing the process of proposing, conceiving, scheduling, implementing, and evaluating exhibitions.
  • Curate exhibitions; create exhibition budgets, contracts, and checklists; write exhibition wall text and labels; collaborate with Education staff on interpretive components; and work closely with the Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Preparators on installation.
  • Conduct ongoing research of works in the collection and generate new scholarship related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions. Utilize these findings to produce scholarly articles and publications and seek opportunities to publish and present these writings.
  • Foster collaborative, interdepartmental relationships and communications with the goal of creating an integrated institutional approach to the planning of exhibitions, collections development, interpretation, and programming.
  • Implement and expedite on a continuous basis the goals of the Scope of Collections and Collections Plan, managing and growing the collection in accordance with the priorities established in the Plan. Create and prioritize a list of acquisition goals and propose acquisitions through gifts and purchases. Identify deaccession candidates and oversee the Director of Collections and Exhibitions’ management of the deaccessioning process in accordance with the highest standards of ethical practice and with the museum’s Collections Management Policy.
  • Provide oversight to the Senior Curator of Education and assist in the development of education programs, interpretive materials, and outreach activities, aligning these activities with Telfair’s mission and goals.
  • Work closely with the Development department to craft fundraising strategies and secure contributions for individual exhibitions/projects and annual operating support.
  • Act as the liaison of the Gari Melchers Collectors’ Society, a member engagement group focused on raising funds for the collection. Strengthen engagement with current members and solicit new ones to meet the museum’s fundraising and collecting goals.
  • Oversee Telfair’s publishing program, including all publications related to the collections and exhibitions.
  • Represent Telfair at significant art industry events and professional conferences.

Skills and Attributes

  • Superior communication and presentation skills.
  • Superior writing skills on a scholarly and academic level.
  • Able to work a flexible schedule including, evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Able to present information on sensitive issues.
  • Interest and experience in ongoing and in-depth study of 18th- and 19th-century American history and
    African American culture.


Strong candidates for the Director of Curatorial Affairs/Chief Curator of Telfair Museums will bring at least seven to ten years of progressively responsible curatorial and art museum management experience, as well as an MA in art history (PhD or equivalent experience preferred), supported by significant scholarship in the field, including exhibitions, publications, and acquisitions.

  • Ability to galvanize internal and external collaborators and partners around a creative vision for the Telfair Museums’ programming across all three sites.
  • Big-picture thinker who can frame thinking across the three Telfair sites, while also leading strategic implementation to accomplish goals as set forth in Telfair’s Strategic Plan.
    Departmental Management
  • Collegial team player who leads with trust and respect; the next Director of Curatorial Affairs will embrace a culture of collaboration and “wearing many hats” alongside colleagues in the interest of institutional goals.
  • Active listener who cultivates input from across the Museums.
  • Approachable leader who brings wisdom and a sense of camaraderie to the role.
  • Superior communicator and presenter who is effective with a range of audiences, including volunteers, staff, business and community leaders, the media, and the general public, whether impromptu or with prepared remarks.
  • Excellent writer on a scholarly and academic level.
  • Individual with high emotional intelligence who is comfortable serving as a senior representative of the museum at internal and external meetings, events, and public speaking opportunities.
  • Thoughtful and professional leader adept at creating a positive image for the museum among supporters and the general public.
  • Diplomatic relationship-builder who maintains strong departmental relations with trustees, collectors, donors, artists, the media, and the public.


  • Ability to perform various functions such as standing, sitting, walking across uneven surfaces, climbing stairs, lifting, seeing in varying light conditions, and participating in some physical activities.


  • Telfair Museums offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits.

Please provide the following as part of your application

  • Complete resume, references and including salary expectations.
  • A cover letter addressing both your interest in Telfair Museums and your qualifications for this position.


Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials to Tenley directly at tbank@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Telfair Museums offers compelling expressions of visual culture — embracing three unique buildings and three distinct collections that bridge three centuries of art and architecture. The museum develops awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the arts and serves as a dynamic cultural center connecting people of all ages and backgrounds.

Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South, founded in 1883 through the bequest of prominent local philanthropist Mary Telfair, who left her home and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum. Today, Telfair Museums consists of three unique buildings: Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, two National Historic Landmark sites built in the early 19th century, and the contemporary Jepson Center for the Arts.

Designed in the Regency style by English architect William Jay, the Telfair Academy houses 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. Highlights include fine examples of American Impressionism and Ashcan School Realism, with major paintings by Childe Hassam, Frederick Frieseke, Gari Melchers, Robert Henri, George Bellows, and George Luks. The Telfair Academy is also home to Sylvia Shaw Judson’s iconic Bird Girl statue, made famous in the Jack Leigh photograph on the dust jacket of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters is considered one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in the country. In addition to the historic house museum and decorative art ranging from the late 18th to the early 19th century, the site includes rare intact urban slave quarters and a lovely parterre garden. The site underwent an award-winning reinterpretation in 2018, providing audiences with a broader understanding of how slavery impacted urban life in and beyond the home.

The Jepson Center, designed by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, is devoted to temporary exhibitions and today’s art and home to the Telfair’s Kirk Varnedoe Collection, a cornerstone of the museum’s contemporary holdings. The collection features works on paper by some of the most pivotal artists of the past 50 years, including Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Richard Avedon. Other contemporary artists include Carrie Mae Weems, Helen Levitt, Sam Gilliam, James Brooks, and many notable Georgia artists.

Telfair Museums’ permanent collection of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, and decorative arts contains over 4,500 objects from America, Europe, and Asia, dating primarily from the 18th to 20th centuries. Telfair provides a range of educational initiatives, including youth and family programming, school tour programs, preplanned field trips for Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools fourth and eighth graders, youth classes, and summer camps. Telfair offers adults a variety of virtual and onground classes and workshops, ranging from drawing and painting classes with established local artists to workshops related to current exhibitions and exhibition opening lectures. Telfair (www.telfair.org) welcomes approximately 225,000 visitors each year.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

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Telfair Museums
PO Box 10081
Savannah, GA 31412
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