Director of Curatorial Services

Website National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The Dubuque County Historical Society and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Mathias Ham Historic Site are committed to embracing diversity, practicing equity, and ensuring accessibility and inclusion. We continually strive to achieve a welcoming environment in all our spaces, where our staff and community feel reflected and valued for their unique perspectives and backgrounds. DEAI values guide and impact all the decisions the museum makes, both internal and external.

Key Responsibilities

The Director of Curatorial Services leads the Curatorial Services department and collections-focused initiatives for the artifact, library, and archives collections. This position plans, organizes, and directs the development, care, exhibition, interpretation, and management of the Dubuque County Historical Society’s (DCHS) historical collections and serves as a primary advocate for the historical components of the organization’s mission. The Director of Curatorial Services serves on the DCHS leadership team and leads the development of history-based exhibitions.

This is a full time, permanent position. Salary range is $47,000-$65,000. Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include vacation time, sick time, paid holidays, medical, dental, flex plan, and 403b retirement plan.

Collections Management and Care:

Establish priorities and strategic planning for collection care, research, documentation, and access;
Care of the history collections (artifacts and archival material) belonging to or under the care of Society in accordance with the board-approved collections management policy, professional standards, and best practices;
Ensure safety of collections including physical and environmental conditions and security while in storage, transit, installation, or exhibition;
Along with the Collections Manager/Registrar, oversee the collection management database and other tools for collections access
Lead the creation of a written collections plan; maintain and update the collections plan; implement the acquisition strategies outlined in the collections plan;
Administer the Society’s collection development efforts, recommendations for acquisitions and deaccessions;
Conduct research on collections; write research-based interpretive content  for public audiences;
Serve as staff liaison for the Collections Committee;
Collaborate on the writing and administration of grants for collections and exhibition related projects;
Adhere to and recommend revisions to policies and procedures related to collections and curatorial areas of the Society;
Supervise the Registrar/Collections Manager and other curatorial services staff.


Lead the conception, development, creation, and installation of historical exhibitions, temporary and permanent, in collaboration with cross departmental teams;
Create and maintain proposed exhibit schedules for historical exhibitions in alignment with the institution’s strategic plan and short- and long-term goals;
Write clear and engaging informative exhibition content, including exhibit scripts;
Procure exhibit photographs, images, and illustrations and copyrights;
Work with scholars, lending institutions, and partners on exhibit content development;
Coordinate the graphic design and fabrication process for exhibit panels, labels, interactive components, and other didactics;
Collaborate with the DCHS Education Team by sharing information and resources that will aid in development of programmatic opportunities that correlate with historical exhibits.

Historic Sites/Historic Preservation:

Provide oversight of appropriate preservation and restoration of all historic properties of Society, incorporating and promoting Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties;
Coordinate with local, state, and national officials and consultants on historic preservation efforts for all DCHS properties and structures.

Other Skills and Responsibilities:

Develop and manage the annual operating budget for the Curatorial Services department;
Build relationships with existing and potential donors;
Collaborate with leadership team members to cultivate partnerships related to local history, river history, and other areas of the DCHS mission;
Have substantive knowledge of history related to the DCHS mission;
Provide tours of exhibitions and/or collections storage areas when needed;
Incorporate the core values of DCHS into daily work, with particular commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion efforts.
Commitment to ongoing professional development to stay abreast of industry trends, news, and developments; a passion for continual learning.


Master’s degree or Master’s certificate in Museum Studies, Public History, or a related field strongly preferred;
7+ years of relevant work experience;
Strong supervisory, mentoring, and coaching skills;
Ability to manage multiple projects and priorities simultaneously;
Excellent understanding of professional museum standards, particularly in the areas of collections management and exhibitions.
Ability to work independently but with a team-focused mentality and a strong commitment to collaboration.
Must have experience with collections management systems (Currently use PastPerfect).
Must be physically capable of extended periods of standing, walking, kneeling, bending, climbing, and heavy lifting up to 40 lbs.

How To Apply:

To learn more, visit Apply by emailing your cover letter and resume to by January 16, 2022. Final candidates will be subject to a reference and background check.

Research suggests that women and individuals from underrepresented backgrounds often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We recognize that it is highly unlikely that any applicant is able to meet all of the qualifications for a given role. Therefore, if you are drawn to this position and feel your strengths would be an asset to the organization, we highly encourage you to apply.

To apply for this job email your details to