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Curator of Indigenous Collections

Missouri History Museum
Wellston, Missouri
Closing date
Feb 20, 2024

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The Missouri Historical Society commits to a process of listening attentively to one another and leveraging best practices and resources across our organization to promote a culture of inclusion where individuals from all racial and ethnic identities; ages; nationalities; social and economic statuses; sexual orientations; gender identities/expressions; religious, political, and ideological perspectives; and abilities are able to be engaged, feel valued, and thrive. click here for the full Commitment to Racial Equity

Position Summary:

The Missouri Historical Society seeks a Curator of Indigenous Collections to lead the institution's planning, consultation, repatriation, and other efforts required to meet and exceed NAGPRA compliance. This position will also curate the Native American collections; provide research, writing, and educational programs where appropriate; and interpret relevant topics like the region's Indigenous history and the institution's repatriation efforts. The Curator of Indigenous Collections will collaborate closely with and receive ongoing support from a broader repatriation initiative team that includes the Registrar, Objects Preservation Administrator, Collections Manager, a graduate assistant, and other staff. This is a five-year position with the possibility for extension.

About the collection:

The Missouri Historical Society (MHS) cares for a large Native American collection of more than 12,000 objects, consisting mainly of archaeological material. This collection dates back to as early as 1869 and represents some of the Missouri Historical Society's earliest acquisitions. In 1993, MHS submitted an inventory of Native American human remains and associated funerary objects, as well as a summary of cultural items, to the National NAGPRA Program, and sent letters to Tribal nations. Thirty years later the Missouri Historical Society recognizes the need to comprehensively review the collection with an emphasis on the authority of Tribal nations and Native Hawaiian organizations in the repatriation process and to increase the transparency of collections housed at the Missouri Historical Society.

  • Lead the Missouri Historical Society's repatriation initiatives
  • Serve as point of contact for all NAGPRA inquiries and respond to inquiries from the public, researchers, donors, etc.
  • Help shape a collecting scope and statement for the Native American collection
  • Foster relationships with Tribal nations and other appropriate partners
  • Ensure the Missouri Historical Society understands and implements Tribal best practices in object storage and the stewardship of Native American collections
  • Help write grants to further NAGPRA and Native American collections work
  • Assemble and regularly update plans, records, and reports, including NAGPRA inventories and summaries in consultation with Native American tribes
  • Develop educational talks and resources on NAGPRA and the Native American collections
  • Lead NAGPRA-related outreach and communication efforts
  • Remain current on laws, regulations, and best practices regarding Native American collections
  • When appropriate, write about the collection for MHS member publications, catalogs, books, social media, blogs, etc.
  • Sit on committees that create and maintain policies and procedures
  • Contribute to the interpretation of Native American objects and history in temporary exhibitions and the Museum's permanent signature galleries
  • Participate in networks of institutions that hold Native American collections and build partnerships with other institutions

A competitive candidate will demonstrate:
  • Commitment to understanding and implementing accessibility, decolonization, diversity, and sustainability in curatorial practice
  • Confidence writing in a wide variety of styles, including for social media and blogs, technical writing for reports and grants, exhibition labels, persuasive content, etc.
  • Skill in conducting original research
  • Knowledge of (or willingness to learn) the Native American history of Missouri
  • Ability to balance working with a high level of independence while collaborating with colleagues and community members
  • Successful multitasking and time management for large, long-term projects and small daily tasks
  • Flexibility in adapting to changing departmental needs and institutional priorities

  • Knowledge of North American Indigenous history, oral traditions, practices, etc.
  • Proven understanding of the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and accompanying regulations
  • Bachelor's degree in Indigenous studies, museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, history, public history, etc.
  • Three years of experience working in a curatorial, registration, collections, or historic preservation role

Deadline to Apply: Open until filled.

Please upload cover letter and resume when applying.

*External job boards: Please click this link, to apply.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

Services Provided On A Non-Discriminatory Basis

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