Job Opening: Curator of Asian Art, MFA Houston

(reposted from Japan Art History Forum)
Title: Curator, Asian Art
Reports To: Director of MFAH
Pay Type: Full-Time, Regular, Exempt, 35 hrs/week
Work Schedule: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Work Location: Law Building, a non-smoking facility

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is looking to hire a Curator of Asian Art.

Description of Position
Reporting to the Director of MFAH, the Curator of Asian Art is responsible for the care, research, and interpretation of the museum’s collection of Asian Art, including objects from China, Korea, Japan, India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. The Curator will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Asian Art Department, and will be a key collaborative agent within the museum who will actively foster interdepartmental, project-based relationships. As a specialist, s/he will manage the Asian collections, developing research and conservation assessments, and contributing to the field by generating MFAH-based exhibitions, publications, and public programs. Enhancement of the Asian Art collection will be a major role of the Curator. S/he will play an important role in the cultivation of donors, building relationships with art collectors, and recommending significant objects for acquisition through thoroughly researched proposals based on quality and provenance of objects.

The Curator will also play a key role in transforming Asian Art at MFAH into a 21st-century institutional program with global resonances. The Curator must be a recognized scholar and skilled communicator, who will serve as the Museum’s chief ambassador for Asian Art to specialist and general audiences. S/he must have a record of experience with the development and implementation of original, major exhibitions that can travel to peer institutions across the world.

Key Responsibilities
Collection, Asian Art
*Oversight and care of the Asian Art Collection
*Scholarly research and publication of the permanent collection
*Development of surveys and assessments aimed at identifying the strengths and lacunae in the collection
*Collaboration with Registrar to maintain accurate records of the collection
*Advise museum Library on acquiring research materials on Asian art

Exhibitions and Interpretation
*Development of a strategic acquisition and exhibition plan, including identification of
potential long-term loans to augment gallery presentation of the permanent collection
*Development of temporary special exhibitions and regular in-gallery rotations of the
permanent collection
*Oversight of the installation of the collection, coordinating with the conservation, design
and preparations departments
*Preparation of information and materials relating to Asian art programs for other museum
departments including public information, publications, and development
*Consultation with Director and Trustees to define the focus, outlook and collection policies
of the museum’s Asian art holdings
*Collaboration with Education department to expand and enhance Asian art programming

Management, Administration, and Outreach
*Supervision of the Asian Art Department
*Serves as staff liaision on the Asian Art Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees.
*Collaboration and outreach with peer institutions and colleagues in Texas, across the
USA, and internationally, aimed at making MFAH a hub for Asian Art and eliciting interest
in the Museum’s activities and collection
*Develop an active Asian arts and culture outreach strategy for local Houston community
*Outreach to the Houston community, potential collectors, and museum marketing
department to generate local interest in Asian art

Donor Cultivation
*Work with the Development Office to cultivate financial support of the Asian Art
Department and MFAH
*Solicitation of gifts of important examples of Asian art to the museum
*Development of a strategic plan for the future of the FAA (Friends of Asian Art)

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities
*In-depth knowledge of Asian art
*Record of established relationships with the broader Asian art community
*Demonstrated ability to write and lecture on Asian art to a wide array of audiences
*Strong communication, presentation, and administrative skills
*Knowledge and experience in museum best practices
*Collegiality and teamsmanship

Education and Experience
*PhD or equivalent in Art History with specialization in one or more area(s) of Asian art
*Proficiency in one or more Asian language(s)
*Five or more years experience as a museum curator
*Established record of acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications

How to Apply:
Send resume to Human Resources, Job 17-015CUR, P.O. Box 6826, Houston TX 77265-6826;
Fax 713-639-7597 or email: or apply at

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is dedicated to serving all people by pursuing excellence in art through collection, exhibition, and education. The museum’s permanent collection of more than 62,000 works ranks as the largest and most outstanding in the Southwest, including over 1000 works of Asian art. The museum has a strong commitment to public service and programming that provides the visitor opportunities to enjoy and appreciate art. The museum’s goal is to interpret works of art from perspectives that explore the uniqueness of specific cultures while underscoring the common bonds of humanity.

About Travis

I am a scholar of Japanese & Okinawan history with a particular interest in the history of arts and culture, and inter-Asia interactions, in the early modern period. I have been fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to live in Okinawa for six months in 2016-17, and in mainland Japan on multiple occasions, including from Sept 2019 to now.
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