Collections Manager, Obama Foundation, Chicago IL

  • 27 Jul 2021 3:22 PM
    Message # 10778148

    At the Obama Foundation, we are guided by a core belief: that ordinary people working together can change history. Our mission is to inspire those people to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together than they can alone.

    We were founded by community organizers, so when we seek change, we do it by bringing people together. 

    That approach begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center. The Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home. 

    But that approach extends to all our work, whether it’s holding leadership training sessions in communities throughout the U.S., bringing local leaders together in countries around the world, working to support the global education of girls, or ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.

    As President Obama has said, “we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” So join us. 

    For more information, please visit

    Purpose of the Role

    The Collections Manager will play an essential role in fulfilling the Museum Team’s collections stewardship responsibilities in compliance with the Collections Management Policy. As such, the Collections Manager will participate in and support collections acquisition and documentation workflows, bear primary direct responsibility for the post-accession care and management of collections, and supervise support staff, contractors, and interns. Responsive to and collaborating with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders, the Collections Manager will help establish, support, and sustain the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) Museum as a model collecting, educational, and cultural resource and destination in service of the Foundation’s mission and values. The Collections Manager will also play a critical role in the development, installation, and maintenance of the core inaugural exhibitions and ongoing exhibitions program to support on-time openings while maintaining the safety of collection materials while on display.

    Core Job Responsibilities

    • Supervisory Responsibilities: Recruit, hire, and supervise a diverse Collections Management staff to support Foundation priorities and initiatives; evaluate and mentor Collections Assistants to help them achieve their highest potential; and foster a positive, productive, and inclusive work environment and team dynamic.
    • Collections Management Protocols: Establish, document, promulgate, and maintain collections management procedures pertaining to the storage, long-term preservation, inventory, and use of collection materials to ensure conformance with museum best practices.
    • Collections Development and Acquisitions Processing: Work with other Museum staff to support collections development through donor outreach, artifact assessment, preparing/evaluating acquisition proposals, and helping to train and supervise this work by others. Lead post-accession artifact processing including marking/labeling, documenting, photographing, rehousing, and storage.
    • Collections Storage and Preservation: Coordinate with Foundation staff and vendors to establish and maintain artifact storage, workspaces, and research areas. Work with the Registrar to purchase/deploy supplies and equipment to facilitate collections storage, movement, preservation, and access. Direct collections-related housekeeping and pest management, conduct emergency prevention and response training, and facilitate artifact appraisals to inform annual insurance renewals.
    • Exhibitions and Collections Access and Use: Participate in the planning and execution of exhibitions, rotations, collections-based programming, and short-term artifact displays; coordinate photography, conservation, and movement of the Museum collections; provide exhibition design feedback to ensure compliance with preservation requirements; help install and uninstall collections; assist Registrar with gallery checks and maintenance; facilitate collections access requests.
    • Strategic Planning, Budgeting, and Procurement: Participate in strategic, operational, and project planning and budgeting processes. Procure and direct contracted services to advance priority collections management goals and initiatives.
    • Other Duties as Assigned: Support other initiatives as required.

    Key Deliverables / Outcomes

    • Support the Museum’s collections development activities in a manner that maintains physical and administrative control, facilitates physical access to the collections, and supports the OPC’s exhibitions, programs, and goals.
    • Develop and implement protocols for post-accession processing; collections storage, organization, and access; integrated pest management; disaster prevention and emergency response; and other OPC operations as needed.
    • Help plan and implement the Collections Information Management System; perform quality control to ensure complete, correct, and consistent collections records.
    • Ensure that all collections are stored and managed in a manner that promotes the long-term preservation of collection materials and facilitates their use.
    • Provide collections management support and expertise in planning and executing the OPC’s inaugural exhibits, special exhibitions program, and artifact rotations to ensure their timely and successful completion and ongoing maintenance.
    • Help foster a collaborative, inclusive, respectful, and productive work environment.

    Required Qualifications

    • Substantive museum collections management knowledge and experience including related policies, protocols, and best practices; experience handling, moving, storing, inventorying, documenting, and providing access to a wide variety of material types; hands-on experience creating and maintaining reliable physical and digital records; some knowledge of digital photography and/or experience with artifact photography
    • Substantive experience planning and executing collections storage, organization, preservation, and documentation projects; planning, equipping, and maintaining collections storage and work spaces; and developing and promulgating protocols for pest management, disaster prevention and response, and inventory control
    • Demonstrated project management experience and expertise, including budgeting, scheduling, quality control, procurement of resources and services, and ability to work with others effectively to achieve objectives and meet deadlines; demonstrated experience developing and implementing complex workflows to achieve desired results; some supervisory experience preferred
    • Highly organized; demonstrated ability to prioritize, multi-task, and follow through on short- and long-term assignments with minimal supervision; superior attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture; ability to distinguish between essential and non-essential activities; strong written and verbal communication skills
    • High level of visual acuity (with assistive lenses if necessary), fine- and gross-motor skills, and hand-eye coordination; ability to build storage boxes/mounts, move artifacts safely and efficiently, and work in a variety of environmental conditions; proficiency with basic hand tools, material-handling equipment, ladders, and lifts.

     To apply: 

    Equal Opportunity Employer

    The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please e-mail us at if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete this application.

  • 25 Sep 2021 12:40 AM
    Reply # 11117200 on 10778148
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