Chief Curator

Calgary, AB Full-time

Department: Programming and Experience - Curatorial 

Position Type: Full-Time – Permanent

Expected Start Date: April 22, 2024

Salary: Starts from $71,000

Application Deadline: April 4, 2024

Application Requirements: Resume + Cover Letter

What we offer:

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Comprehensive Benefits package includes Extended Health Care, Dental Benefits, Basic Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, and Employee and Family Assistant Program (EFAP)
  • Employer-matched Pension Plan at 5%
  • Generous paid time off, including Vacation days, Sick Time
  • Working in a beautiful park setting.
  • Free entrance to the Park, including to our many public special events.
  • Employee discounts on food and retail items and free parking.

Who We Are:

Heritage Park is Canada's largest living history museum and offers visitors a chance to experience life in Western Canada from the 1860s to the early 1950s. The Park features historical buildings, costumed interpreters, working antiques, and various exhibits that provide insight into the region's past.

Job Overview:

Under the direction of the Director, Programming & Experiences, the Chief Curator helps to shape the future of Heritage Park’s collections, exhibits and programs which form the basis of our guest experience. The Chief Curator serves as historian and content authority; assuring that exhibits and programs are developed with integrity and sensitivity to multiple perspectives and engaging a diverse community.

Curatorial Operations Management

  • Lead and oversee research efforts for the master plan, focusing on historical components and design elements to develop a comprehensive 20-year plan for the Park's development and growth
  • Lead comprehensive research initiatives, formulate plans, and assess the design and effectiveness of exhibits, enhancements, and restoration projects in line with Heritage Park's strategic vision, fostering close collaboration with the Curator of Exhibits
  • Oversee the development and implementation of exhibition plans, collection management strategies, and preservation initiatives by working closely with the Curator of Exhibits, Curator of Collections, and Assistant Curator
  • Direct the Curator of Collections to ensure the proper maintenance and care of the collection
  • Work with programming and education staff to integrate marginalized narratives, diversify collections, and offer broader perspectives on Western Canadian History through programs and experiences
  • Act as the content authority, overseeing the master calendar for all exhibitions to ensure a balance of scholarly integrity and audience appeal
  • Coordinate the implementation of approved projects, coordinating with Heritage Park staff and external contractors as necessary
  • Research and compose exhibit text, interpretive signage, and other historical content for both print and digital platforms
  • Delegate tasks and projects to the Curator of Exhibits, Curator of Collections, and Assistant Curator based on their areas of expertise and organizational priorities, setting Set clear expectations and deadlines
  • Ensure staff follow guidelines, standards, processes and procedures for alignment with Alberta Museum Association and Canadian Museum Association best practices
  • Review and update Curatorial policies and procedures based on best practices and current guidelines from with Alberta Museum Association and Canadian Museum Association with the Director of Programming & Experience
  • Develop and manage the annual curatorial and collection asset maintenance budget under the supervision of the Director of Programming & Experiences
  • Cultivate and nurture strategic partnerships with community and professional entities, institutions, and key individuals as necessary, emphasizing the importance of relationship-building to enhance departmental capabilities and initiative
  • Develop meaningful relationships with Elders and community advisors, recognizing their invaluable wisdom and insights to enrich our programs and initiatives
  • Develop relationships with Treaty 7 Nations and local Metis community and respecting their protocols and cultural systems when dealing with collections items and building exhibits on Indigenous History
  • Respond to inquiries from staff, fellow museum professionals, and the public regarding Heritage Park's research and collections promptly and professionally
  • Provide expert guidance to organizational leadership on matters related to curatorial collections, exhibitions, and research initiatives
  • Collaborate with facilities management to ensure the accurate restoration and meticulous care of historical buildings
People Leadership

  • Support the Director, Programming and Experience in providing strategic direction to the Curatorial team by implementing initiatives supporting the strategic business plan and ensuring the team understands how the department contributes to the overall success of the organization
  • Ensure consistent alignment with organizational goals by setting departmental objectives based on Heritage Park’s strategic business plan and values
  • Act as a bridge between senior/executive leadership and frontline staff, providing essential support, facilitating clear communication, and offering guidance to ensure a smooth and effective transition during organizational changes
  • Regularly assess and enhance staff performance through ongoing feedback, goal-setting, and professional development initiatives, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and individual growth within the team
  • Support the professional development of staff by assigning relevant training, collaboratively resolving problems, and actively coaching team members
  • Participate in the recruitment, orientation and training of new staff to ensure employees are provided with complete information and resources to perform their responsibilities
Organizational Excellence and Wellbeing

  • Contribute to inspiring and immersive experiences at the Park through your roles and responsibilities by engaging in Heritage Park initiatives that align with the overall mission and vision of the Park
  • Demonstrate commitment to workplace health and safety by complying with Heritage Park's Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS), following safe work practices, reporting work-related incidents, injuries and hazards, participating in employer training, and adhering policies including the Code of Conduct and the Workplace Violence and Harassment policy
  • Actively support a positive work environment through creating an atmosphere of inclusion, engagement and fulfillment in line with Heritage Park values
  • Demonstrate responsible stewardship of our people, collections and financial assets by ensuring that they are handled with integrity, sustainability, and a focus on long-term benefits for the organization and its stakeholders

Required Qualifications:

  • Completion of a Master’s Degree in a related discipline (e.g. Museum Studies, History, Archaeology, Anthropology) is required; PhD in related discipline (e.g. History, Archaeology) is an asset
  • Minimum 5 years’ progressive experience in curatorial roles is required
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience managing a team including delegation, change management, mentorship and performance management
  • Subject matter expertise in Western Canadian History is required; expertise in Canadian History will be considered
  • Experience leading and/or designing architectural restoration 
  • Experience supervising and advising on exhibit installation and design projects
  • Capable of conducting primary source, secondary source, and material culture research
  • Familiarity with Alberta Museum Association and Canadian Museum Association best practices
  • Applied knowledge of professional museum principles, practices and procedures
  • Experience in a not-for-profit or museum environment is preferred
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal and communication skills in a client-faced setting
  • All successful candidates (over the age of 18) will be required to go through Police Information Check as a condition of employment. 

Please visit our careers page to see more job opportunities.

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