Princeton University Art Museum

 Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art


The new Princeton University Art Museum (the Museum) building, scheduled to open in 2025, is located at the heart of the Princeton University campus. Under the oversight of Museum Director James Steward, the new three-story 144,000 square foot building will also serve as a home for the Department of Art and Archeology and Marquand Library, one of the oldest and most extensive fine art libraries in America. In addition to over 60,000 square feet of gallery space, the new Museum facility will function as a vital new hub of campus life, an entry point for the wider public to the University’s intellectual resources, and a space in which “town and gown” can come together. Including two auditoria, six object-study classrooms, two creativity labs for hands-on artmaking, and a rooftop restaurant, the new Museum promises to be a significant reframing of one of the oldest collecting institutions in the United States when it opens in 2025.

Collecting at Princeton University can be traced to 1755 when the young college began to collect works of art with an eye to bringing the world to its students. From those beginnings have grown collections that span the globe and 5,000 years of human history—probably the most expansive such collections under a single roof on any college or university campus. Today’s Museum’s collections of over 115,000 objects include broad representation of modern and contemporary art. Early holdings in postwar art were shaped largely by gifts, often from artists themselves—including works by Lee Bontecou, Sam Gilliam, Yayoi Kusama, Alice Neel, and Princeton alumnus Frank Stella. Beyond the Museum’s walls, a 1968 gift endowing the John B. Putnam Memorial Collection has filled the University campus with outdoor sculptures and works of public art by artists such as Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, and more recently Maya Lin, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Shahzia Sikander.

Since the 1990s, and especially since the appointment in 2007 of the Museum’s first curator dedicated to modern and contemporary art, strategic acquisition initiatives, important gifts, and an international artist-in-residence program have introduced art by African and African diasporic, Asian, Asian American, Indigenous North American, Latin American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern artists, supporting the University’s ever-expanding teaching mission. In addition to recent acquisitions of works for the collection by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Byron Kim, Titus Kaphar, Wangechi Mutu, Pat Steir, and Marie Watt, among many others, the Museum leads the process of continually enlivening the campus-wide presence of public art, including six new commissions or purchases specifically occasioned by the new Museum building, including work by artists Nick Cave, Diana Al-Hadid, Tuan Nguyen, and others. The full collection can be explored here. two people watching art work at a museum

The Museum has been led since 2009 by James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director. The Museum’s 24-member Advisory Council is chaired by John Diekman, Class of 1965. The Museum has 110 staff, including 15 curators who work collaboratively across the Museum and with University academic departments in support of its teaching mission. The current total operating budget for the Museum is approximately $28 million, including a substantial endowment to support acquisitions. By the time the new Museum opens in 2025, staffing levels should approach 180.

Position Summary

The Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art (Haskell Curator) will be an experienced, visionary, collaborative professional who will lead the Museum’s program in global modern and contemporary art. With responsibility for the Museum’s collections and activities in postwar art with a particular focus on global art after 1980, the Haskell Curator will also collaborate with curators from a range of collections areas to ensure that art after 1913 is well represented in galleries, collections, and programs. At a time of unprecedented growth for the Museum as it prepares to enter a dramatic new building, the Haskell Curator will shape collections displays, originate exhibitions, conduct research, and care for, research, and interpret the collections. Teaching in galleries, study rooms, and classrooms, as well as partnerships across campus, will foster engagement among faculty and students. The Haskell Curator will support the Museum’s dynamic program of engagement through public programs and will contribute to the accessibility of the Museum and its collections and exhibitions. Substantial purchase endowments will allow the Haskell Curator to continue to build the collections intentionally, as well as through gifts cultivated from a philanthropic alumni community.

As a member of Princeton University’s Campus Art Steering Committee, the Haskell Curator will lead curatorial planning for art commissions for the campus. They will engage a dynamic network of curators, collectors, artists, galleries, dealers, and benefactors. Working within a team environment, the Haskell Curator will partner with Museum conservators and educators, supervise researchers, and mentor interns and students. The Haskell Curator will also have the opportunity to develop and deliver their own courses, whether within the Department of Art & Archaeology or in other related fields. The ideal candidate will be attuned to dynamic changes in the museum field, will embrace the possibilities of a public facing campus-based museum, and will communicate effectively with scholarly and broad audiences.

Roles and Responsibilities

Curation, Collections Management, and Acquisitions

  • Curate wide-ranging rotations and installations of modern and contemporary art in dedicated galleries and throughout the building.
  • Curate special exhibitions, ranging from ambitious loan-based, multiple venue exhibitions with book-length publications to more focused displays within the new building.
  • Support exhibitions in Art@Bainbridge, the Museum’s gallery space in downtown Princeton, which is largely focused on the work of emerging artists.
  • Collaborate with other curators in areas such as Asian art, African art, American art, Photography, and Prints and Drawings on gallery installations, exhibitions, and/or publications.
  • Produce interpretive materials with a larger cross-departmental team for works in the galleries and online.
  • Partner with conservators to assess and ensure care for works in the collections, including evaluating prospective gifts and purchases.
  • Contribute to knowledge about the collections and increase access to the objects in the collections through deep research and cataloguing, including provenance research and accessibility.
  • Formulate a collecting strategy and grow the modern and contemporary collections, in collaboration with the Museum Director, supported by substantial endowments, the cultivation of donors and collectors, and the evaluation of proposed gifts.
  • Supervise interns, students, researchers, and other curatorial staff.

Campus and Community Engagement

  • Support the University’s teaching needs in modern and contemporary art, including teaching or co-teaching courses, gallery-based class visits, and study room teaching.
  • Participate in and lead curatorial planning for the University’s Campus Art program, including the shaping and development of new commissions for both the Museum and the wider campus.
  • Develop and contribute to public and campus-based programs, lectures, and other special events, including programs for and with students and faculty; with particular attention to expanding and diversifying Museum audiences.
  • Represent the Museum and contribute to the field through participation in conferences, public lectures, publications, and institutional and scholarly partnerships.

Fundraising, Public Relations, and Publishing

  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with donors, collectors, and other alumni, including cultivating and soliciting potential gifts in close partnership with the Director and the Museum’s development team.
  • Serve as a key voice for modern and contemporary art for the Museum in the press and media, including social media activities.
  • Inspire members of communities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and beyond to engage with the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, events, and other activities.
  • Publish regularly in the Museum’s quarterly magazine, its annual Record, its book-length publications (co-published or distributed by Princeton University Press), and other national and international publications, as appropriate.

Traits and Characteristics

The Haskell Curator will be a charismatic, thoughtful, intellectual, and visible leader on campus, in the greater Princeton community, and across the wider field. An individual with an appetite for informed and productive risk taking and receptive to new projects and ideas, the Haskell Curator will collaborate with students, faculty, artists, and curators within the Museum and beyond to communicate and activate the Museum’s vision. The Haskell Curator will foster curiosity and continuous learning in the ever-evolving fields of modern and contemporary art.

Other key competencies include:

  • Innovation and Conceptual Thinking – The capacity to creatively envision, plan, and actualize exhibits, collections acquisitions, and themes that are in alignment with the mission and vision of the Museum.
  • Excellence in Communications – The clarity to communicate effectively internally and externally in print, formal presentation, and informal discussion.
  • Teamwork and Diplomacy – The ability to engage with multiple constituents, involve them in decision-making, and listen carefully to multiple points of view while maintaining a leadership role.
  • Time, Priority, and Project Management – The dexterity to develop realistic timelines, maintain schedules, multitask, and ensure that activities are well planned and presented and delivered on a timely basis. Expectations around productivity—in undertaking exhibitions, acquisitions, scholarly production, and more—are high.
  • Personal and Professional Accountability – The reliability to uphold policies, develop and maintain positive relationships, apply lessons learned, and adapt to the present while preparing for the future.


An MA in art history or a related field is required, with a preference for a PhD, along with a track record of scholarly publication and achievements. Significant curatorial experience is essential, including as a lead or co-curator for multiple collections gallery installations and major loan exhibitions. Demonstrable knowledge of commissioning works of art, a track record of collaborating with living artists, and a network of gallerists and collectors. Experience making acquisitions aligned with a collecting strategy, operating and maintaining a departmental budget, and working within a complex organizational structure is critical. Familiarity with donor engagement, collections management, and demonstrated teaching capability are also required.

Compensation and Benefits

Princeton University will provide a competitive and equitable compensation package in the range of $100,000 to $130,000 with generous benefits that include but are not limited to retirement contributions, medical and mental health plans, dental and vision insurance, prescription drug coverage, a wellness center, parental resources such as a childcare center and education plan, commuter benefits, continuing education, flexible work arrangements (including one day of remote work a week), and life and long-term care insurance. For more information about the Princeton University benefits, please click here.

University and Community

Frequently ranked as the best national research university in the United States, what is now Princeton University was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey and is the fourth oldest higher education institution in the country. Its enrollment includes approximately 5,590 undergraduate students and 3,212 graduate students, it has had 18 Rhodes Scholars in the past 10 years, and there are more than 98,800 living alumni who have the most generous tradition of giving of all alumni communities in the nation. Princeton University’s student to faculty ratio is 5:1 and 77% of the 1,267 faculty members are tenured. The campus is situated on 600 acres, has eight residential colleges, over 200 buildings, and over 7,800 benefits-eligible employees.

Located in picturesque central New Jersey, Princeton is a community with Ivy League prestige and small-town charm combined with the convenience of urban amenities in the nearby cities of New York and Philadelphia. A cultural hub for the region, opportunities for experiencing art and history abound with the Princeton Garden Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Morven Museum & Gardens, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the Arts Council of Princeton, as well as many seasonal festivals and events throughout the year. There are ample options for outdoor recreation, as Princeton is home to the 681-acre Battlefield State Park, the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, the Institute Woods (part of the Institute for Advanced Study) and numerous trails throughout at smaller parks such as Mountain Lakes Preserve. Parents will appreciate the top-tier public school system, renowned for its excellence and consistently ranked among the top districts, as well as numerous esteemed private education options. Many family-friendly activities and programs are available through the Princeton Public Library, Westminster Conservatory, Broadmead Swim Club, and Terhune Orchards. Palmer Square, the retail heart of downtown Princeton, boasts many high-end shopping and dining options and beloved independent institutions such as the Princeton Record Exchange, Labyrinth Books, Bent Spoon ice cream, and Small World Coffee. Overall, Princeton is a vibrant intellectual community with historic charm and cultural richness, making it an ideal place to call home.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter, resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, and preliminary references (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit This position is subject to the University's independent application and background check policy. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Delilah Norris, Senior Advisor

Arts Consulting Group logo.
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel     (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201(Thibodeau) or Ext. 230 (Norris)

At Princeton University, individuals with a diverse array of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences find unique opportunities to advance their academic passions while working with their peers and the broader Princeton community.

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