Telfair Museums Chief Registrar Job Description

  • 17 Sep 2021 3:22 PM
    Message # 11097554

    Employment Opportunity:

    Chief Registrar, Telfair Museums


    Reporting to the Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs, the Chief Registrar plays a key role in overseeing Telfair Museum’s 7,000+ object collection and art-related operations in its three sites. In addition, the position oversees the policies and procedures for the permanent collection and loans and is charged with the care, preservation, and risk management of the Museum’s collections, ensuring that the collections are available for current and future visitors.

    The Chief Registrar oversees the installation schedule relating to art movements and staffing related to exhibitions and installations. This position oversees the Registrars and works in close collaboration with the Preparators, organizing the work schedule for the team. The installation and work schedules are coordinated with the overall Exhibition Schedule and budget, overseen by the Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs. This position will work closely with the Chief Curator on forward planning, forecasting, and management of resources.

    The Chief Registrar works in close collaboration with the Chief Curator and Curatorial staff to realize exhibitions and installations of works from the collection, as well as loan and touring exhibitions, including the securing of loans and the coordination of venues and tours. This position serves as the principal contact for internal and external colleagues on loan procedures, insurance, and government indemnities, contracts, and lender negotiations. The Chief Registrar also serves as a visible and public-facing representative of the Museum to external constituencies. 


    Management-staff, resources, budgets

    • Has primary oversight and care for the collection of Telfair Museums.
    • Oversees, supervises, mentors, and trains Registrar staff.
    • Working in close collaboration with Chief Curator and Preparators, the Chief Registrar plans, coordinates, and schedules collection rotations, installations, and exhibitions.
    • Prepares the master installation schedule relating to art movements and shipping for exhibitions.
    • Prepares exhibitions and collections related budgets, working in close collaboration with Chief Curator.
    • Monitors the ordering and purchasing of supplies for storage and conservation of permanent collection.

    Collection Care

    • Oversees the management, preservation, and storage of the collection(s), as well as accessioning of acquisitions, including gift documents, IRS forms, and appraisals from donors. Supervises accessioning process, including recording object information, photographing objects, proper housing for objects, and conducting annual inventories. 
    • Negotiates and arranges fine arts insurance policies for the permanent collection and long-term loans; processes claims, and supervises risk management for all museum buildings.
    • Oversees long-term loan partnerships (incoming and outgoing loans); conducts annual condition reporting and processes loan renewal documentation.
    • Evaluates works in need of conservation treatment, recommends and initiates opportunities for remedy.
    • Supervises the management of the collections database (TMS) and works with staff to ensure data standardization.
    • Sets institutional strategies for digital asset management, ensuring best practices and the implementation of current technologies.  
    • Prepares list of acquisitions for annual report and registrar’s report of acquisitions for auditors.

    Exhibition Planning

    • Works with Chief Curator and Curator(s) to plan, develop, and manage loan exhibitions from the conceptual stage to execution, including contracts, loans, insurance, transport, installation, condition reporting, tours, insurance, and storage, as needed.
    • Collaborates with Curator and Preparators in the planning, scheduling, and production of exhibitions, including crew management, assembly of materials, construction, and installations.
    • In close coordination with Chief Curator and exhibition curator(s), develops initial exhibition budget for planning purposes. Regularly updates, forecasts, and monitors expenses, ensuring performance to budget.
    • In close coordination with Chief Curator and exhibition curator(s), drafts and reviews contractual agreements with lenders and participating institutions. Negotiates terms of the contracts and monitors compliance of agreements and payment schedules. 
    • Assesses lender requirements and fees for loans and negotiates terms in the best interest of the Museum in consultation with appropriate staff. Communicates terms and special requirements of loans to appropriate staff and staff of participating institutions and monitors compliance with such terms and conditions.
    • Responsible for securing U.S. Government Indemnity or other insurance for the Museum and its partners or lenders.

    Other Responsibilities


    • Supervises Associate Registrar, Rights and Reproduction Assistant Registrar, Preparators, Curatorial Intern, and curatorial contract workers. 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 and conducting annual performance reviews of direct reports; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems. Requires skills in diplomacy, negotiation and communication with staff and external parties (lenders, donors, etc).


    • Superior communication and presentation skills.
    • Superior writing skills on a scholarly and academic level.
    • Demonstrated knowledge and application of best practices and procedures for art handling, installation, storage, condition reporting, preservation, and basic conservation.
    • Demonstrated ability to perform long-range planning while retaining nimbleness; flexibility within a fast-paced and changing environment; effective work under pressure amidst shifting priorities; problem-solving and analytical thinking.
    • Demonstrated ability to work as a team leader and as part of a team while supervising staff and coordinating with peers; ability to set and accomplish goals and to meet deadlines by effectively prioritizing; ability to work independently and collaboratively in a team-oriented environment.
    • A collegial, collaborative disposition, and ease of inter-personal communication.
    • Practical writing skills; proficiency in collections management database software, email, word processing and spreadsheet software, Microsoft Office, Outlook, Word and Excel.
    • Familiarity with NAGPRA, AAMD guidelines, and archiving methods and practices


    • B. A. or M.A. in art history, museum studies, or related discipline.
    • Eight to ten years of experience in museum registration, collections, and exhibition management.


    • 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.


    • Indicate “Chief Registrar” on the subject line of the email or in the body of the cover letter
    • Applications in electronic format preferred, and accepted at
    • Mailed applications: Telfair Museums, Attn: HR, PO Box 10081, Savannah, GA 31412
    • Application review will begin on October 8, 2021.


    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 7,000 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 ( welcomes approximately 225,000 visitors each year.

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