Samek Art Museum Fellowship Opportunity

Fellowship Overview

 The Museum Fellowship is offered for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a museum career. The fellowship offers professional training in curating, collection development, and arts administration and is designed to help fellows support their academic and career goals through supervised work experiences. Under the supervision of the Samek Art Museum director and chief curator, the fellow will have the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the Museum’s programs and operations. This is a 12-month (July 2015-June 2016) fellowship for one year with the possibility of a second year. This fellowship is a commitment of an average of 20 hours/week. The fellowship offers an annual $12,000 stipend for living expenses.

Department Overview

The Museum a program of Bucknell University that creates meaningful encounters between artists, students, scholars, the public and works of art. The Museum presents original, travelling, and collection exhibitions and public programs that cover the range of art history with an emphasis on contemporary art. The Museum maintains an active museum collection of over 5,400 objects, including 450 works installed across the campus. The encyclopedic collection includes objects from pre-history to contemporary video art with strengths in photography and prints. The Museum programs and/or manages 3 spaces – the Samek Gallery on campus (including offices, work-room, and collection study room), Downtown Gallery, and off-site collections storage – totaling 3,600 square feet of exhibition and program space plus 2,000 of storage and workspace. The Galleries produce, on average, 12 exhibitions, 75 public programs, and 36 campus events annually. For more information, see


Special Opportunities


The Museum is currently exploring actively collecting and preserving born-digital art in addition to traditional art forms, offering a unique opportunity for the next Fellow who will be an integral part of this research and early collection development. Museum director, Richard Rinehart, recently published “Re-Collection: Art, New Media, & Social Memory” and working together with campus IT, the Museum is well positioned to undertake this project.


In addition to their other responsibilities and opportunities, the Fellow will be offered the opportunity to curate an exhibition drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection at the end of their first year and, should the fellow remain a second year, they will be offered the chance to curate a special exhibition for the Museum’s Downtown Gallery.


Fellowship Learning Goals


For the fellow, the purpose of the fellowship is:

  • To learn to function as a professional within his/her institution as well as the broader community of museums, and to understand current museum issues.
  • To learn to function within the organizational structure of a museum and to develop a knowledge of governance and administrative operations.
  • To develop knowledge and skills related to specific areas of museum work.
  • To develop the ability to identify, assess and solve on-the-job museum problems.
  • To assess individual wishes and needs for professional development.
  • To learn how exhibitions are curated and produced in a professional art gallery/museum environment.
  • To learn how the permanent museum collection of artworks is conserved, documented, and used in teaching and research.
  • To learn how galleries and museums educate the public about art in an informal life-long learning environment.


Fellowship Assignments


The fellow engages in learning opportunities and provides assistance with all aspects relating to the museum collections, interchanging/rotating exhibitions and interpretive programs, including, but not limited to:


  • Curatorial coordination for the “Connections Gallery: Experiments in Community Curating” including coordinating bi-monthly installation and de-installation.
  • Researching artists and the exhibition history of artworks, creating exhibition documentation, corresponding with artists, and other tasks that contribute to developing exhibitions.
  • Conduct research, assist, and advise the Museum in collecting and preserving born-digital artworks.
  • Receiving training in handling original artworks by assisting with installing and de-installing exhibitions and assisting with delivery and pick-up artwork.
  • Documenting art objects, and making the collection available to students and faculty in a learning environment.
  • Curatorial field trips to regional galleries and museums.
  • Accompany director and staff to selected campus arts meetings.
  • Acting as Museum docent.
  • Occasionally opening gallery and assisting with producing events.
  • Practicing public museum writing with regular writing for museum’s blog.
  • Read assigned readings about the history of museums and exhibition practices.
  • Attend regular meeting with museum director to reflect on fellowship experiences, plan individual projects and receive work assignments, discuss readings, and receive career consulting.
  • Attend weekly Museum staff meetings to observe and participate in administrative planning for the Museum’s programs and operations.


Fellowship Requirements


The ideal candidate has a demonstrated interest in curatorial practice. Attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and the ability to multitask and prioritize are essential to the position. Strong research skills are a plus. Background in art history with coursework in modern art preferred.


  • A Master’s degree in art history (preferred, though BA’s in art history or related fields such as art education, curatorial studies, or museum studies will be considered with outstanding ancillary experience and relevant research.)
  • Familiarity with issues around curating, collecting, and preserving born-digital artworks preferred.
  • Dependable, strong work ethic, and good communication skills.
  • Must be proficient with social media tools (WordPress, Facebook, etc.) and familiar with digital AV media (Video files, Images, iMovie, Photoshop, etc.)
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds and work crouched or on ladders.
  • Must have a valid drivers license.
  • Must be able to obtain medical card required to drive 15 foot, 10,000 gross weight box truck.
  • The University is required to conduct several background screens according to state and federal laws and Bucknell policy, including Pennsylvania Criminal History, FBI and Child Abuse clearances.  The Samek Museum Fellowship offer is contingent upon the University’s verification of these credentials.


Application Guidelines


All of the following materials are due by midnight on April 12, 2013, and should be submitted by email


Cover Letter


Include a cover letter that addresses all of the following questions in one to two pages:


  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What makes you a strong candidate for this position? Please tell about your relevant educational background and past experience.
  • What aspects of this position interest you the most? Why?
  • What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?




Please outline ALL of your employment history including art-related and non-art-related work experience. Please also list exhibitions you have worked on, art writing or curating, awards and recognition that you have received, other art-related engagements you’ve participated in, as well as extracurricular activities, etc.


Writing Sample


Please send either:


▪ 2 academic papers you have written about art, or

▪ 1 academic paper and one other writing sample such as an exhibition brochure or art review.




Please provide email and phone contact information for three references; professors, curators, gallery directors, or related professionals who know your work well.


Additional Information


If you have any questions about this position or about the application process then please contact:


Richard Rinehart, Director