Associate Curator

The Art Institute of Chicago


The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.

Position Summary

The museum’s collections of Applied Arts of Europe comprise 9,500 works of art ranging in date from about 1100 to 1945. There are outstanding holdings of arms and armor, ceramics, glass, British furniture of the 18th and 19th century, and works in all media from the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Department seeks an Associate Curator who will have responsibility for the ceramics collection as well as works in all media from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The department is committed to developing an inclusive account of design history, exploring creative communities and global networks and their relevance for contemporary audiences.

Under the direction of the Chair, and in collaboration with other AAE staff, shares responsibilities for researching, interpreting and acquiring works for the department of Applied Arts of Europe.


Duties include:

  • ongoing research on the collection

  • proposing and researching new works for acquisition

  • selection and arrangement of works for exhibition

  • writing and editing interpretative texts for the Museum’s galleries and website

  • collaboration with the Conservation and other curatorial departments

  • publishing original research in scholarly journals and catalogues

  • developing or collaborating on special exhibitions that shed new light on the history of design

  • lecturing to peers and to general audiences

  • building and maintaining relationships with benefactors, collectors, dealers and fellow scholars

  • supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution



  • Advanced degree in art history, the history of design, decorative arts or material culture

  • 5 years of museum experience or equivalent

  • demonstrated record of object-based study of ceramics

  • broad familiarity with the history of the applied arts

  • established commitment to exploring new narratives, placing the history of European design in a global context

  • outstanding written and oral communication skills that demonstrate scholarly ability and an interest in public engagement

  • facility with two foreign languages

  • some mentoring and supervising experience

  • ability to work collaboratively as part of a team.


We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package:

  • 5+ weeks of paid time off

  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)

  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance

  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits

  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)

  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program

  • Great employee discounts

  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

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How to Apply

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Closing Statement

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Posted on April 22