Curatorial Assistant

  • Posted on:
    Sep 9, 2022
    Employment Type:
    Full Time


  • Position Overview:

    Position: 2-year Curatorial Assistant

    The Museum of Danish America, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), seeks a Curatorial Assistant for a 2-year position. This position will be responsible for the movement of collections items from one storage space to another, reinstallation of these pieces, and the cataloguing and interpretation of a large, future acquisition.

    Job Summary:

    This temporary position will play a major role in the reorganization and revitalization of the museum’s visual storage space, an effort that will coincide with the museum’s 40th anniversary celebration. There are two main parts to this position. Under the direction of the registrar, the first involves packing and moving all collections items in visual storage to another storage location so that shelving may be added and reorganized. This will involve light cleaning of objects and careful record keeping to ensure object locations remain accurate throughout the move. Working with the curator and registrar, the curatorial assistant will also move pieces back in to visual storage in a new organization once the shelves have been adjusted. This part of the project will be completed by the museum’s 40th anniversary celebration in the summer of 2023.

    The second main task for this position involves working with an anticipated large acquisition of ceramic objects in the second half of 2023. This acquisition may also be spread into multiple donations. The Curatorial Assistant will be responsible for cataloguing these pieces and assisting with arranging the majority of them in visual storage. They will also assist the curator with interpretive projects and exhibitions related to this acquisition, including the development of a major Danish ceramics exhibition to open in November 2024. There will also be opportunities for research, writing, and publication related to the existing collection and anticipated acquisition. Other duties in the curatorial and collections departments may be assigned as needed.

    About the Museum:

    Established in 1983, the Museum of Danish America (formerly known as The Danish Immigrant Museum) is located midway between Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE on 35 acres of recreated prairie in the heart of the largest rural settlement of Danes in the United States. The museum’s mission is to “explore the Danish-American experience, the historic and modern influences of Denmark on the United States, and the continuing story of how a nation of immigrants shape American identity.” It is the only accredited national museum dedicated to collecting and interpreting the Danish-American experience. The museum has a collection of nearly 25,000 artifacts, an active traveling exhibit program, and a membership of over 3,000 from across the United States, Denmark and seven other countries. Guidance is provided by a twenty-five-member Board of Directors from across the United States and Denmark. It has a staff of twelve full-time employees, five part-time employees and an active internship program hosting Danish and American graduate students annually.

    About the Collection:

    Of the museum’s nearly 25,000 artifacts, about 8,700 are currently located in visual storage, a large room surrounded by glass on three sides which allows visitors to get a better sense of the breadth of our collection and our storage practices. The objects in visual storage range from art glass and silverware, to tools, medals, ribbons, and other culturally and historically significant objects. Many of these objects fit into the categories of Danish or Danish-American art, craft, and design. We plan to expand our offerings in this area through the anticipated acquisition of a world-class collection of Danish ceramics, creating the best collection of Danish ceramics outside of Denmark. The curatorial assistant will have the chance to work with and research these objects throughout the process of reorganizing the space to highlight the themes of the Danish immigrant experience, the Danish-American experience, and Danish design and decorative arts.


    • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, with preference given to a Master’s degree, in Museum Studies or a related field;
    • Experience in collections and/or registration preferred;
    • Experience with ceramics or decorative arts is preferred, but not required;
    • Excellent writing, project management, attention to detail, interpersonal and team building skills are essential;
    • Ability to handle large workloads and meet deadlines;
    • Ability to perform the physical requirements of the position including standing for long period of time and lifting heavy objects;
    • Strong computer skills required for research and administrative skills and experience in PastPerfect is helpful.

    Position Details and Benefits:

    Duration/Hours: 2 years, 40 hours per week

    Salary: $35,000/year

    Benefits: Benefits package includes paid health insurance, paid short/long term disability insurance, paid vacation, and paid sick leave

    Start Date: January 2023

    Interested individuals may learn more about the Museum of Danish America by visiting our website:

    Applications will be accepted through October 21, 2022. To apply, submit a cover letter, resume and three references via email to Julia Jessen, Registrar: Questions are welcome.

    The Museum of Danish America is committed to creating a diverse environment and is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or vetera