The American Jewish Historical Society, the oldest ethnic and cultural society in the United States, was founded in 1892. AJHS’s mission is to collect, preserve, and make accessible materials that reflect the history of the Jewish presence in the United States from 1654 to the present. AJHS collections total more than 10,000 linear feet of archival materials, 50,000 books, photographs, art and artifacts, and thousands of digital assets.
In 2000, the American Jewish Historical Society joined a collaborative home at the Center for Jewish History, comprised of five in-house partners. The Center for Jewish History is committed to a unique shared services model and supportive infrastructure that enables discovery of all five partner collections through one shared reading room and one shared systems landscape, and that facilitates access and preservation through the provision of digitization, archival processing, conservation, and metadata services to partners.
The American Jewish Historical Society seeks a visionary and proactive Director of Collections to both lead AJHS’s team and shepherd and grow AJHS’s collection. The Director will be committed to collaboratively advancing and innovating the cooperative framework of the Center as a whole and will join a large, internal community of professionals dedicated to maximal access to all collections for the benefit of researchers. The Director reports to the Executive Director of AJHS.
- Oversee a current team of five full-time staff, several part-time staff, as well as interns and volunteers. This includes providing direction and determining priorities for staff; facilitating collaboration among staff; improving efficiencies; and continually evaluating and fine-tuning workflows, often in collaboration with Center staff.
- Set strategic goals for the department with input from the Executive Director and departmental staff, and as appropriate, in alignment with the goals of the larger Center community.
- Participate in AJHS- and Center-led fundraising around collections, including conceptualizing new projects, writing grant proposals, building and controlling project budgets, and reporting on progress.
- Determine and monitor spending in the departmental budget.
- Focus on acquisitions and appraisal; develop and maintain relationships with collection donors; plan for and manage the proper stewardship of incoming collections; and determine updates and shifts in the collecting policy.
- Work with AJHS team and AJHS Academic Advisory Council to advance the interpretation of the collections through programming and exhibitions.
- Works with AJHS team and Center on archival processing, cataloging, on-site and off-site collections storage, disaster preparedness, and provision of specialized reference.
- Set priorities for digitization, archival processing, and preservation of AJHS materials carried out by Center staff, and negotiate paid project work with the Center.
- Participate with the broader Center community in decision-making and policy around access, collection development, preservation environment, digital preservation, disaster preparedness, exhibitions, technology, and security.
- Advocate for the needs of the collections, staff, and researchers, including active outreach efforts, management of statistics on output and impact, and provision of quarterly reports to the AJHS board.
- Represent AJHS and its collections to the general public, scholarly community, and professional community; establish and maintain relationships with other institutions; attend professional meetings when appropriate; and stay current on professional trends.
- American Library Association-accredited graduate degree or graduate degree in another appropriate discipline (e.g., archival science).
- Expertise in American, Jewish or American-Jewish history.
- Minimum of 5-7 years of experience managing staff.
- Minimum of 5-7 years of experience managing projects from planning to completion.
- Strong background in acquisitions and appraisal, and preferably in description, exhibitions, and outreach.
- Familiarity with current standards used in libraries, archives and museums for description, preservation, and digitization, including best practices in fair use.
- Commitment to fostering a collaborative work environment and presenting diplomatic, adaptable, and pragmatic approaches to problem-solving.
- Demonstrated ability to prioritize and meet tight deadlines.
- Excellent communication and writing skills.
- Desired familiarity with at least one language represented in the AJHS collections, such as Yiddish and Hebrew.
Hours are primarily 9 am -5pm Monday through Friday. Must be willing to work additional hours as workload demands or for special events. Salary commensurate with experience. Comprehensive health and dental insurance benefits.
AJHS is committed to diversity and inclusion. Qualified individuals who bring diverse perspectives to the workplace are especially encouraged to apply.
Review of applications will begin immediately. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Send cover letter and resume to Annie Polland, Executive Director, at email@example.com. No phone calls, please.
About the American Jewish Historical Society.
Founded in 1892, the American Jewish Historical Society’s holdings include approximately 20 million documents, 60,000 books, thousands of photographs, paintings and other objects that bear witness to the remarkable contributions of the American Jewish community to American society from the 16th century to the present. The mission of AJHS is to foster awareness and appreciation of the American Jewish experience and to serve as a national information resource through the collection, preservation and dissemination of materials relating to American Jewish history.