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Senior Curator of History and Culture

Date Posted:  Jul 2, 2024
Requisition ID:  446116

Indianapolis, IN, US, 46204


Work for Indiana

Grow your career with the State of Indiana! With more than 50 executive branch agencies, the State of Indiana is a diverse workforce offering employees stimulating and challenging projects across a broad scope of career opportunities. As a State of Indiana employee, you impact the well-being of Indiana’s communities every day.


At the State of Indiana, we don’t just talk about diversity and inclusion - Our goal is to create a welcoming, accessible, and equitable workplace, with a workforce that is representative of the State of Indiana population. As a proud equal opportunity employer, reasonable accommodations may be available to enable individuals with disabilities to complete the application and interview process, as well as perform the essential functions of a role.


Next Level benefits at the State of Indiana are here! Be sure to review our expanded benefit package offerings below.


About the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites:

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites (ISMHS) is a museum system with 12 locations across the state, including the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis and 11 historic sites across the state.  The ISMHS is a forward-thinking, unparalleled resource for learning about and appreciating Indiana and its role in the world. We discover, collect, preserve, interpret, and present artifacts and exhibits that showcase the stories of Indiana's natural and cultural history, art, and science. 

Salary Statement:   


The salary for this position traditionally starts at $70,000.00 but may be commensurate with education or work experience.

Role Overview


The Senior Curator helps to advance the museum's mission to be a catalyst for informal lifelong learning that connects the stories of real people, places, and things. The Senior Curator of History and Culture plays a key role within the ISMHS museum system, serving as curator across a broad range of subjects, including popular culture, sports, military history, communications technology, music, performing and literary arts as well as providing curatorial support for historic sites. 


You will oversee collection development, research, and interpretation to ensure that activities reflect the institutional mission and move the ISMHS forward. You will be an advisor for exhibition development, educational programs, and historic site preservation and content. You will also ensure adherence to industry standards for stewardship of the museum's artifact collections and historic structures. 


The Senior Curator of History and Culture is part of the Curatorial, Collections, and Research division, reporting to the Chief Curator and Research Officer. The position is based in Indianapolis and involves work across Indiana. For more information about ISMHS, please visit 

A Day in the Life:


  • Provide leadership, stewardship, and accessibility of collections.
  • Ensure that section activities are well-integrated across the 12-location ISMHS system.
  • Develop curatorial and collections plans.
  • Support exhibit programming by contributing ideas, serving on project teams, and supervising curator work.
  • Provide support to historic sites and serve as curatorial support in areas of expertise.
  • Recommend collection strategies and acquire artifacts, including contemporary and responsive collecting.
  • Encourage and facilitate the use of ISMHS collections by external researchers.
  • Participate in strategic planning related to the museum's curatorial, collections, research, and interpretive directions.
  • Work closely with Development to support donor cultivation, proposals, and grants.
  • Develop subject matter expertise.
  • Write scholarly articles and present lectures.
  • Build and cultivate relationships and partnerships between the museum system, community groups, and individuals.
  • Develop relationships with colleagues at peer institutions to share resources and exchange information.
  • Supervise staff and volunteers, assigning duties, developing goals, refining collections and conservation strategies, and directing daily operations.
  • Work with the Chief Curator to develop and monitor the section budget, including longer-term resource needs and opportunities. Prepare and oversee project budgets as needed.
  • Research to determine the authenticity, history, and relevance to Indiana's history of items within the collection, including documenting and cataloging.


The job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Other duties, responsibilities, and activities may change or be assigned at any time.

What You'll Need for Success:


Professional Credentials:

  • Master's degree in history, American studies, public history, or a related field with knowledge of, and experience working with, the material culture of the United States. Knowledge of Indiana history is a plus.
  • Seven to ten years of full-time, relevant curatorial or equivalent experience, and significant supervisory and management experience.


A combination of education and relevant experience that provides the needed knowledge and skills will also be considered.



  • Passion for museums and the impact they can have in their communities.
  • Adherence to professional standards and ethics as set by the American Alliance of Museums, including handling and display of artifacts and specimens.
  • Excellent and effective oral and written communication skills
  • Effective public speaking skills and ability to engage with a diverse range of audiences.
  • Ability to work on cross-departmental teams, collaborate with colleagues with different perspectives and backgrounds, and facilitate team decisions.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize numerous projects and assignments to maintain workflow and meet deadlines.
  • Experience with digital humanities is a plus.

Supervisory Responsibilities/Direct Reports:

This role may be utilized in a supervisory capacity based on agency needs.


Benefits of Employment with the State of Indiana:


The State of Indiana offers a comprehensive benefits package for full-time employees which includes: 

  • Three (3) medical plan options (including RX coverage) as well as vision and dental plans
  • Wellness Rewards Program: Complete wellness activities to earn gift card rewards
  • Health savings account, which includes bi-weekly state contribution
  • Flexible work scheduling options, including the potential for hybrid remote work for employees whose work may be performed outside state facilities
  • Deferred compensation 457B account (similar to 401k plan) with employer match
  • Two (2) fully-funded pension plan options
  • A robust, comprehensive program of leave policies covering a variety of employee needs, including but not limited to:
    • 150 hours of paid new parent leave
    • Up to 15 hours of paid community service leave
    • Combined 180 hours of paid vacation, personal, and sick leave time off
    • 12 paid holidays, 14 on election years
  • Education Reimbursement Program
  • Group life insurance
  • Referral Bonus program
  • Employee assistance program that allows for covered behavioral health visits
  • Qualified employer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Free Parking for most positions
  • Free LinkedIn Learning access


Equal Employment Opportunity:


The State of Indiana is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruit, select, develop, and promote employees based on individual ability and job performance. Our policy is to provide equal employment opportunity to all people in all aspects of employer-employee relations without discrimination because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or veteran status. We will comply with the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable state and federal laws. 


If you are a qualified individual with a disability and require reasonable accommodation in completing this application, you can request assistance by contacting the Indiana State Personnel Department at [email protected].


The State of Indiana has established a culture that welcomes equity, inclusion, and opportunity for all employees and applicants. We encourage you to apply if you feel you have the transferrable skills to be successful in this position and we look forward to reviewing your application.

Current Employee? Click here to apply.

Nearest Major Market: Indianapolis