Collections Manager

About Weeksville Heritage Center

Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC) is a historic site and cultural center in Central Brooklyn that uses education, arts, and a social justice lens to preserve, document and inspire engagement with the history of Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America, and the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. Founded in 1838, Weeksville was the second largest of approximately 100 independent African-American communities established before the Civil War.

When a group of community activists rediscovered three remaining original homes 1968, they purchased, rehabilitated, and restored the Hunterfly Road Houses, re-opening their doors as the Weeksville Heritage Center in 1973. In 2014, WHC opened its new Cultural Arts and Education Center and campus, including a visual arts gallery, performance space, resource center, and administrative offices. WHC is now poised for a bright new era, with the resources and vision in place to fully activate our history and expand our education, preservation, and public programming.

Recently announced as New York City’s newest Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) member, the first since 1998, WHC is one of New York City’s cultural treasures, dedicated to preserving and celebrating the story of the 19th century African-American community of Weeksville, a nationally significant, exceptionally well-documented and rare extant example of an independent African-American community organized by Black entrepreneurs and land investors to promote economic, social, and political rights.

The Opportunity

The Collections Manager is responsible for the physical and intellectual aspects of the Weeksville Heritage Center’s historic homes,collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, textiles, and other objects. The Collections Manager ensures that the historic homes and objects are properly cared for, manages storage, conservation and record-keeping associated with objects. The incumbent will develop policies and standards for acquiring and disposing of objects, develop a master plan for maintenance, preservation, and conservation of the historic Hunterfly Houses.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the onsite and offsite collection of WHC including the objects, textiles, documents, buildings both in person and digitally.
  • Oversees, manages, and advocates for resources required for the proper storage of art, artifacts, and other objects in the WHC collection, including consulting with conservators regarding the conditions necessary to store objects safely.
  • Acquires, stores and exhibits collections, select the theme of exhibits and develop and set up exhibit materials including returning of borrowed materials as needed.
  • Manages and oversees the preservation, conservation, and maintenance of the historic Hunterfly Houses in collaboration with contractual caretakers, site coordinators, other contractors and facilities staff.
  • Establishes new and strengthen existing collaborative relationships with local community leaders, organizations and residents to optimize historic and cultural resources.
  • Reviews and updates the museum’s existing conditions report, master plan, specifications, drawings and bid requirements for all restoration repairs of the historic homes.
  • Manages the following tasks to ensure that objects on display and in storage are being properly maintained:
    • conduct regular walk-throughs;
    • respond to notifications of problems in exhibition/storage spaces;
    • maintain data loggers in exhibition spaces and storage;
    • ensure all objects are cleaned with the appropriate solutions
    • conduct periodic checks for pests and request the appropriate pest control technicians when necessary.
  • Collaborates with the Director of Operations on the budget for the team.
  • Serves as the administrator of WHC’s collections online system, including PastPerfect and Archive Space, to:
    • create and maintaining administrative and user documentation for the software
    • manage user access
    • input data, and training relevant staff and interns on the use of the system. 
  • Plans and conducts special research projects for Weeksville Heritage Center.
  • Collaborates with staff members across the organization in preparation of fundraising opportunities.
  • Designs Emergency Procedures and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery plans for the collection.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Required Skills, Knowledge, and Qualifications

  • Degree or background in any of the following: Historic Preservation, African American History/Studies, Africana Studies, Fine Art or Art History, Museum or Heritage studies, Archaeology, Cultural Studies and/or Anthropology.
  • Minimum 5 years curatorial experience in a cultural institution, museum, or heritage site or experience working in a library, archives or museum environment performing archival-related tasks.
  • Understanding of housing best practice for a broad range of visual materials, preferred.
  • Knowledge of national and local descriptive standards best practices preferred.
  • Excellent project and time management skills.
  • Strong skills in critical thinking, communications, negotiations, and conflict resolution.
  • Ability to research, write, analyze, and communicate complex documents with technical details to senior leaders and management as required.
  • Understanding or desire to learn archaeological and preservation standards.

Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time exempt position with a salary range of $72,000 – $76,000 annually. Weeksville Heritage Center offers a benefits package that is competitive with the market, including medical, dental, and vision insurance; a retirement plan that employees can contribute to after the eligibility period, and paid vacation, paid sick leave, and personal days with the option for a hybrid work schedule.

How to Apply

Submit a resume and cover letter to: inquiries@weeksvillesociety.org. Please include Collections Manager in the subject line and include where you found this job posting in the body of your email. Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. Thank you for your interest in the position.

Weeksville Heritage Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All candidates for employment are considered without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, physical disability, military or veteran status, genetic information or any other basis protected by applicable federal, state or local law.