A great opportunity to join the Abbe Museum Team

  • January 16, 2018

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Director of Collections and Research 

Bar Harbor, Maine 

Type: Full Time, Experienced 

Required Degree: MA 

Salary: $40,000 - $60,000 with benefits 

With the mission to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit, the Abbe Museum is a decolonizing museum, offering changing exhibitions and a robust programming schedule for all ages, welcoming 30,000 visitors each year on Mount Desert Island, Maine, home of Acadia National Park. Wabanaki people are engaged in all aspects of the Museum, from curatorial roles to policy-making. 

The Abbe is an active member of the International Coalition for the Sites of Conscience and an involved community anchor. Annually, we hire over 30 Native artists and demonstrators to lead programs for schools and public audiences, serve on advisory committees and as content specialists, and we represent over 80 Native artists in our shops, making us an economic engine for tribal communities. In 2013, the Abbe became the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine. 

Guided by an exciting strategic plan, the Abbe Museum has the organizational mandate to develop decolonizing museum practices, the first of its kind in non-tribal museums. Through collaborative practice, privileging of Indigenous voice and perspective, and a commitment to telling the full truths of history, the Abbe Museum is breaking ground in 21st-century museum practice but more importantly, we’re actively promoting inclusion and power-sharing in service to Wabanaki communities. It is our hope and intention that this significant work ultimately leads to healing and reconciliation for Native people and museum spaces. The Director of Collections and Research is instrumental to this work. 

Description: The Director of Collections and Research is a highly visible position at the Abbe Museum, a fast-paced museum environment, with three areas of focus—collections management and care, exhibitions, and research. 

Collections Management and Care: Primary responsibility for the Wellman Archaeology Research Laboratory and Collections Storage and for the documentation, management, and care of the Museum’s collections, seeking to make them accessible to internal and external audiences and to make sure the Museum maintains a high level of accuracy. 

  • Answers inquiries from the public and the media and manages all incoming and outgoing loans and any image use requests. 
  • Responsible for the development and testing of the Museum’s emergency preparedness and response plan and is a key member of the recovery team. 
  • Primary responsibility for the facilities and the collections care environments they provide. 
  • Serves as a content provider and liaison for museum-tribal partnerships and collaborations. 

Exhibitions: Manages the Abbe’s interpretive content, as guided by the interpretive framework and leads the exhibits team to plan, organize, and implement exhibits and frequently serves as project manager and content specialist. 

  • Develops exhibit plans and works collaboratively with Wabanaki advisors to create temporary exhibits. 
  • Leads content and material culture changes and updates for the permanent exhibit, People of the First Light. 
  • Manages the long-range exhibit schedule. 
  • Coordinates all loan requests, completes condition reports, and has primary responsibility for all collections handling. 
  • Works closely with exhibit designers and graphic artists to realize the curatorial vision. 

Research: Researches projects within well-defined guidelines; keeps abreast of current publications relative to methods, techniques, and developments within the area of research; summarizes and disseminates findings; acts as a content specialist to the Museum board and staff members. 

  • Plans, organizes, and conducts research in scientific, cultural, historical, or artistic fields for use in the Abbe’s work. Develops plans for project or studies guidelines for project prepared by professional staff members to outline research procedures to be followed. 
  • Serves as staff lead for the Archaeology Advisory Committee. 
  • Plans schedule according to a variety of methods to be used, availability and quantity of resources, and a number of subordinate personnel assigned to participate in projects. 
  • Conducts research, utilizing institutional library, archives, and collections, and other sources of information, to collect, record, analyze, and evaluate facts. 
  • Discusses findings with other personnel to evaluate the validity of findings. 
  • Prepares reports of completed projects for publication in scholarly journals, for presentation to the agency requesting a project, or for use in further applied or theoretical research activities. 

The Director communicates the Museum's vision and mission and carries out policies and procedures established by the President/CEO and the Trustees. The Director may be assigned to other duties as required by the small museum environment, including fundraising support, guest services support, etc. 

Organizational Relationships: This is a full-time, salaried position reporting to the President/CEO. The Director of Collections and Research participates as part of the museum leadership team which includes the President/CEO, Curator of Education, and the Director of Advancement. In addition, this Director leads the Exhibits Team, the Collections Committee, and other teams and 

work groups as assigned. The Director of Collections and Research manages collections volunteers and occasional contractors, including collections-focused interns 

Skills: The Director of Collections and Research is skilled in cataloging and registrations techniques, artifact research, planning, fabrication of exhibit and storage supports, and is versed in environmental requirements as dictated by the Abbe’s collections policy. Independent judgment, decision-making authority, and common sense are essential prerequisites of the job. The Director of Collections and Research must also have the highest standards of integrity, be outgoing, self-starting, well-organized, tactful, detail-oriented, innovative, and capable of working under pressure and meeting deadlines. 

Institutional Expectations: Every employee participates as a team member. Every employee is cognizant of our fundraising needs and is involved in the process. 

Requirements: An advanced degree in museum work and a background in Native American studies, anthropology, and/or archaeology, plus at least five years of experience in a museum setting. Leadership and project management experience preferred. Thorough familiarity with computers and collections management software is a must. Current knowledge of decolonizing museum practices, museum best practices, Native concerns, and archaeological fieldwork techniques is required. Experience in working with Wabanaki tribes is a plus. 

We will be accepting applications now through February 16, 2018. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume or CV, and contact information for three references to: 

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko 


Abbe Museum 


No phone calls, please. 



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Cinnamon Caitlin-Legutko

26 Mt Desert St
Bar Harbor   ME  04609 

(207) 288-3519