Museum Info

Learning and Interpretation
Learning and Interpretation

Assistant, Associate, or Full Curator

Wednesday, October 12, 2016



Assistant, Associate, or Full Curator

The Arts of Asia and the Islamic World




Full-time, Exempt

Salary Commensurate with experience





The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has been collecting the arts of Japan, China, Korea, Tibet, South and Southeast Asia, as well as Islamic and Ancient Near Eastern cultures, since the late nineteenth century. Each of these disparate collections boasts some of the finest objects that date from antiquity to the present. A few highlights of the collection include a 12th-century Nepalese Manuscript of the Perfection of Wisdom written on palm leaf; a famous late 13th-century Chinese portrait of Sakyamuni Emerging from the Mountains from the Yuan dynasty; an 8th-century Korean iron cast Head of a Buddha; a 15th-century Persian Qur’anic manuscript from the Timurid dynasty inscribed with gold letters; a Japanese Noh Robe (Karaori type) from the 18th century; and a Chinese painting depicting the Entertainments of the Four Seasons in Kyoto (1733­–95) from the Edo period. Since 2010, the DIA has not only acquired additional masterpieces but also opened a new suite of galleries for Islamic art and a dedicated space for Ancient Middle Eastern arts. The museum is currently in the midst of reinstalling additional permanent galleries for the arts of East, South, and Southeast Asia.


Position Summary

The DIA seeks a full-time Assistant, Associate, or Full Curator for its Arts of Asia and the Islamic World department. The search committee will consider candidates specializing in all relevant subfields of Asian art but is particularly interested in candidates with specializations in Chinese and/or Korean art. The new hire will co-lead a cross-disciplinary team to implement the museum’s planned reinstallation of Asian art in new galleries. The candidate must be a dynamic and actively social person who will closely engage with communities in Detroit and its tri-county (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb) area. In addition, s/he will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with major players within the Asian and Islamic art community in Detroit, as well as nationally and internationally. The Curator reports to the Co-Chief Curators.




  • The ideal candidate must be a high performer who is able to engage a broad audience through exhibitions, lectures, and related public programs about the arts from Asian and Islamic cultures;
  • Oversee and manage the art collections from Asian and Islamic cultures, which include works of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern origin;
  • Create and implement a long-term vision for the museum that uses the collection and related programs to engage diverse audiences;
  • Conduct research on the museum’s collection and produce scholarly publications;
  • Develop collection strategies, and research and propose acquisitions;
  • Propose and develop exhibitions, as well as related publications;
  • Manage the permanent collection and galleries, work with the Collections Management staff to install artworks, and consult with the Conservation Department to regularly assess the conservation needs of the collection;
  • Maintain collection records in accordance with DIA data and archival standards;
  • Strong interpersonal skills; the ability to work successfully with cross-disciplinary teams; strong written and verbal communications skills; and strong organizational skills, including the ability to multitask in a fast-paced work environment, are essential;
  • Work collaboratively with the Learning and Audience Engagement staff to develop strategies and materials for exhibitions and permanent gallery projects, as well as conduct training for gallery teachers and docents;
  • Foster and maintain good working relationships with existing and potential patrons, trustees, and museum colleagues, as well as with the academic community, art dealers, and collectors;
  • Engage donors, sponsors, and foundations in support of the museum’s initiatives;
  • Act as staff liaison to the Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures (FAAC) auxiliary support group and engage the relevant communities within Detroit’s tri-county area;
  • Conduct training and develop presentations, lectures, and tours for enrichments to support museum activities and community outreach; and
  • Perform other duties as assigned.



  • M.A. is required but Ph.D. in Art History is preferred. Candidate must be a specialist in at least one Asian culture and also demonstrate a general knowledge of the arts of Asian and Islamic cultures
  • Must possess a reading or writing proficiency in one or more Asian languages
  • Five years of curatorial experience
  • Evidence of, and commitment to, original scholarship, with an outstanding record of research, publications, exhibitions, and acquisitions
  • Experience with patron cultivation and management
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent working relationships with collectors, artists, galleries, and scholars
  • Excellent working relationships with diverse communities
  • Exceptional writing skills and public-speaking ability



If you are interested in applying for this position, please do so HERE. Please submit a full resume, a one-page letter describing your interest and experience as it relates to this position, and the name of three references in a single PDF or Word document. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


The Detroit Institute of Arts is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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