Associate Registrar, Collections

San Francisco, CA
Registration /
Full-Time /
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States and a thriving cultural center for the Bay Area. We cannot imagine life without art; it inspires and connects us every day. Now more than ever, these connections matter and are aligned with our values.

Inclusive: We strive to be a museum of many voices in dialogue.  

Passionate: We believe working with art is more than a job or trusteeship - it's a way of life.  

Brave: We are committed to approaching our work with courage and a sense of adventure.  

Empathic: We aim to act like a person, not an institution. 

SFMOMA is a place for the infinitely curious to explore, support, and experience the art of our time. We believe that modern and contemporary art can influence the way we think, view the world, and embrace the many voices and perspectives around us. We aspire to foster an environment that elicits joy, nurtures a sense of belonging and purpose—where difference is seen as a strength, and every one is appreciated for their whole self.

Schedule: Full Time, 35 hours/week

The Associate Registrar, Collections has a central role in advancing registration methods, policies, and procedures for the museum’s collections and exhibition programs, in ways that are aligned with the museum’s strategic priorities and the goals of the Registration department and the Collections, Exhibitions and Design (CED) division. They are responsible for successfully planning, managing, and documenting registration activities for assigned projects related to the museum’s accessions/deaccessions, collections care, outgoing/incoming loans, rotations and exhibitions programs, including the Fisher Collection. The Associate Registrar, Collections has the breadth of experience and expertise to manage assigned registration activities for the fullest range of modern and contemporary artwork types and exhibition complexities, including temporary exhibitions.
The position is an opportunity to establish leadership skills in advancing the museum’s dynamic collecting, loans out, and exhibition programs.

Reporting to the Registrar, Collections the Associate Registrar, Collections is the lead registrar on assigned projects and works collaboratively with colleagues in CED, Curatorial, Facilities, Operations, Security, Visitor Experience, and other museum departments in realizing integrated collections stewardship, collaborative collections research, and engaging and inspiring public programming. The Associate Registrar, Collections works with and represents the museum’s interests to members of the arts communities, such as artists, studios, fabricators, estates, donors, vendors, galleries, and other museums.

Responsibilities & Duties

    • Team Participation
    • Encourage and contribute to an inclusive, rewarding, and inspiring workplace, where innovation, discovery, and constant learning cultivate a deep sense of belonging and shared responsibility within the Registration team.  
    • Share in fostering a culture of safety, inclusivity, and equity. 
    • Work in a healthy and flexible style, and models empathy and understanding. 
    • Participate in nurturing collaboration and partnership across teams with fluid communication and respect for diverse expertise essential to an art museum. 
    • Demonstrate a commitment to the museum’s strategic focus of making programming that engages visitors and inspires individuals to return and recommend the museum to their family and friends. 
    • Represent the museum at the local, national, and international levels. 
    • Participate in professional networks, workshops, and programs to stay current with relevant practices, methods, and technologies, as well adding new skills to share with the department. 

    • Accessions and Deaccessions 
    • Oversee arrangements for acquisitions to the collection.
    • Coordinate safe packing, shipping, handling of artworks.
    • Communicate with lenders, donors, packers, vendors, forwarding agents and shippers.
    • Examine artworks and produce condition reports, documenting the condition and characteristics of artworks, so that changes in condition can be well managed. 
    • Coordinate matting and framing of artworks.
    • Oversee preparation and installation/deinstallation of works for Accessions Committee meetings. 
    • Arrange for return of works not accessioned.
    • Coordinate examinations and treatments with Conservation.
    • Work with Collections Management to facilitate storage of accessioned objects.
    • Participate in producing and/or reviewing co-ownership, purchase, and other art agreements.
    • Manage museum’s adherence to agreed-upon terms related to registration activities in co-ownership, purchase, and other art agreements.
    • Manage numbering systems for accessioned works, their accessories, and certificates of authenticity.
    • Oversee arrangements for deaccessions from the collection.

    • Outgoing/Incoming Loans, Rotations, and Exhibitions 
    • Review, negotiate, and sign loan agreements on behalf of the museum, as well as manage agreed-upon terms related to registration activities.  
    • Lead object review and object de/installation meetings with cross-departmental teams.  
    • Advise on access and security measures. 
    • Oversee preparation and installation/deinstallation of works in staging areas or galleries, and, as needed, through virtual oversight or in-person travel. 
    • Coordinate safe packing, shipping, handling of artworks.
    • Communicate with lenders, donors, packers, vendors, forwarding agents, and shippers.
    • Generate certificates of insurance.
    • Examine artworks and produce condition report, documenting the condition and characteristics of artworks, so that changes in condition can be well managed.
    • Make periodic checks of the galleries and work across departments to address potential risks to works on view.
    • Track insurance needs as projects progress.
    • Arrange for return of borrowed works.

    • Program Partnerships
    • Work with Collections Management to maintain safe conditions for works in storage.  
    • Work with Conservation and Collections Management to coordinate artwork treatments, housing, and storage projects. 
    • Work with Conservation and consultant(s) in operationalizing workflows for the intake, storage, and long-term accessibility of media-, web-, and software-based works. 
    • Work with Project Management and Photo Studio to facilitate photography of artworks.
    • Work with Collections Management to conduct and reconcile inventories and audits. 

    • Administration
    • Oversee completeness and maintenance of records and files for assigned projects by adding documentation, data, and digital assets to relevant museum systems.
    • Participate in maintaining collection insurance records and files.
    • Generate and distribute reports related to accessions, deaccessions, and displays.
    • Produce and monitor budgets for registration activities; process invoices.
    • Mitigate risks to artworks and to relationships with people and organizations. 
    • Set an example of standards for performance and professional behavior with colleagues.
    • Develop and enhance professional standards; serve as a communicator of departmental and institutional goals and professional standards internally and externally.  
    • Mentor Assistant Registrars and Registration Assistants and participate in their training.  
    • In collaboration with Registrar, Collections delegate tasks to Assistant Registrars, Registration Assistants, and on-call staff.  
    • Model highly collaborative modes of working with cross-functional teams to proactively provide museum guests of all backgrounds with a world-class museum experience. 
    • Perform other related duties as required. 

Qualifications & Skills

    • Bachelor's Degree in Art History, Museum Studies, or closely related field. 
    • Minimum four (4) year’s extensive registration experience in an art museum or similar institution, with collections and exhibitions experience required. 
    • Experience and expertise in current and innovative registration methods and practices, relevant to modern and contemporary art and knowledge of museum legal and ethical issues.  
    • Must have significant experience with packing, crating, and shipping artworks at the local, national, and international levels. 
    • Strong critical thinking skills 
    • Ability to assess and make independent decisions about competing priorities. 
    • Ability to manage multiple projects while establishing and meeting deadlines. 
    • Excellent organizational skills and proficiency in project management software, such as Asana. 
    • Strong initiative and follow-through skills, and an ability to operate under pressure of time and multiple demands 
    • Ability to work independently, as well as in partnership with colleagues. 
    • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with museum colleagues, volunteers, and interns, and effectively represent the museum to outside professionals, lenders, donors, and members of the artistic community. 
    • Creative and flexible problem-solving skills. 
    • Sound judgment and strong professional presence.  
    • Working knowledge of twentieth century art history. 
    • Familiarity with basic conservation concepts, procedures, and terms.  
    • Proficiency with Microsoft applications (Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).  
    • Expertise with collections management systems and experience with digital asset management systems.  
    • Proficiency with Asana or other project management software.  
    • Ability and willingness to maintain a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. 
    • Ability to communicate effectively in person, in video conferencing, on the telephone, and in writing to artists, galleries, donors, borrowers, trustees, colleagues, and the public is essential. 
    • Ability to work effectively on a wide variety of projects concurrently, with concern for the tasks assigned and the goals of the Registration Department. 
    • Successful candidates will have a strong commitment to access and sustainability, will collaborate well, and will demonstrate timeliness and effectiveness in a complex environment.    
    • Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability in the arts sector. 

Working Conditions

    • Ability to work on a computer for extended periods.
    • Must be able to visually inspect work.
    • Ability to lift 20 lbs. 

    • The position’s workspace is divided between the museum’s Third Street location and its Collection Center in South San Francisco dependent on assigned projects
$33.15 - $39.78 an hour
$33.15/hour (starting); $39.78/hour (position)

This is a union position subject to the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Job posting open date: 10/24/23

All jobs posted will remain open for at least five business days. 

We encourage both internal and external candidates to apply within the initial open posting period as the application close date may or may not be extended beyond that initial period. 

Location: San Francisco, 151 3rd Street. 

COVID-19 Environmental Factors: In keeping with city, county, and state regulations regarding large gatherings, and to contain the spread of coronavirus, the museum is following the city of San Francisco guidelines. As a part of our commitment to health and safety, COVID-19 vaccination is required for all current and newly hired employees and contractors. 

Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. 

SFMOMA is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. No person shall be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, age, genetic information, ancestry/national origin, marital status, disability, medical condition, HIV status, sexual orientation, veteran/military status, and any other category protected by federal of state law.

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