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Museum Collections Manager and Registrar

Position Title: Museum Collections Manager and Registrar

Department: Museum

Supervisor: Museum Director

Grade: 56, exempt

Hours: Full-time, 35 hours per week (9 am to 5 pm), Monday to Friday



Dumbarton Oaks is a research institute, museum, and historic garden affiliated with Harvard University and located in Georgetown, Washington, DC.

The Dumbarton Oaks Museum has world-class collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, as well as Western medieval and Renaissance art and furniture in the Music Room. The Pre-Columbian collection is displayed in a modernist pavilion designed by Philip Johnson. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays-Sundays. The museum team delivers 2-3 innovative exhibitions per year informed by cutting-edge research, and including both the permanent collections and loans. Exhibitions may involve collaborations with the Garden or other departments such as the Rare Book Collection and the research study programs in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Reporting to the Museum Director, the Registrar and Collections Manager will work collaboratively with the Museum team and other departments to steward the collections and support the public mission of Dumbarton Oaks, including the provision of digital open access to the collections.

 Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Negotiates loans and prepares loan letters and agreement forms
  • Handles relevant loan arrangements (insurance, logistics of packing and shipping, condition reports, transportation, courier arrangements, indemnity requirements, customs/immunity from seizure) in communication with internal and external stakeholders. Acts as courier when needed
  • Handles communications and paperwork for new acquisitions, including gifts and purchases
  • Monitors environmental conditions and liaises with Facilities and Security; measures gallery light levels as needed; implements an Integrated Pest Management system
  • Creates, maintains, and updates Collection Management System (CMS) records; leads CMS upgrades/implementation
  • Organizes, catalogs, houses, and tracks the movements of all objects in the collection, including acquisitions, loans, object storage, etc.
  • Performs object location audits for the collections and participates in security audits
  • Corresponds with the appropriate offices at Harvard University for risk management, legal counsel, and insurance; compiles insurance data and reports
  • Processes object study request forms, supports the study of the collections by fellows and scholarly programs at Dumbarton Oaks
  • Receives and distributes gallery attendant reports
  • Creates object binder materials for new installations, for use by gallery attendants
  • Assists the Director with preparation and tracking of the museum budget, invoices, and financial record keeping
  • Participates actively and collaboratively on exhibition teams and assists with planning, scheduling, staffing, and installation/deinstallation
  • Collaborates with the Exhibition Manager and stakeholders from other departments to facilitate budget preparation for interdepartmental exhibition projects
  • Advises staff in other departments on registration/collection management issues, processes, and best practices
  • Handles general Museum correspondence
  • Oversees contractors
  • Other duties as assigned



  • Bachelor’s degree in art history or specialty area
  • Minimum 3 years of relevant experience in a museum setting, with responsibility for loans and collections management


  • Master’s degree in museum studies, collection management, art history, or similar
  • 5+ years of relevant experience in a museum setting with demonstrated experience in handling international loans, assisting with budget, participating in exhibition installations/deinstallations, and/or overseeing a collections management system
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility, discretion, and tact

Physical Demands:

Moderate physical activity. Requires handling of average-weight objects up to 25 pounds and/or standing and/or walking an average of four (4) hours per day.

To Apply

The position remains open until filled. Please forward résumé and cover letter detailing relevant qualifications by clicking the link below.

 Dumbarton Oaks is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).