Collections Manager

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is seeking an experienced Collections Manager for a newly created position developed to create a leadership role for two major collections-based initiatives and to lead the registrar team.

The first major initiative is the development of the Art Preserve—a new facility that will house the Arts Center’s permanent collection with innovative storage and display methods. The Collections Manager will work collaboratively with the curatorial and building team to ensure that building and exhibition designs meet the long-term needs of the collection and strategize the long-term care of the Arts Center’s extensive collection of artist-built environments. The facility is slated to open to the public in 2020.

The second initiative is the digitization of the permanent collection—this process is underway and is intended to fill both the internal needs of the collections management database and the external needs of our public seeking access and information. The Collections Manager will evaluate collections software applications, work with the curatorial team to identify priorities, recommend best practices, and serve as project manager for all digitization efforts. The Collections Manager will also ensure that digitization plans complement the designs for the curated storage facility.


The Exhibitions and Collections department is comprised of ten full-time employees. In addition to overseeing the management of the collections, the Collections Manager will oversee the typical registrar functions of the Arts Center. This includes the management of ten to sixteen exhibitions per year, which could include touring exhibitions, temporary loans, site-specific installations, and collection-based exhibitions.

Permanent Collection

Provide leadership and project management for all collections related initiatives at the Arts Center including conservation, digitization, and a major collections move.

Provide condition assessment of the collection and create both a short-and long-term, holistic collection management plan including operations, finances, preservation.

Oversee all aspects of collection records, including accession, deaccession, deeds of gifts, and object records—including electronic, paper, and photographic records.

Develop, update, and implement all collection management policies and collection-related forms as needed.

As part of an Arts Center team, keep an up-to-date comprehensive disaster preparedness and emergency response plan.

Develop and ensure standards are met on all aspects of the handling and movement of all works of art within the storage area, galleries, and on the grounds.

Establish and maintain inventory control for the collection and temporary loans.

Lead the team in evaluating current database effectiveness for managing the collection and recommend improvements to streamline processes.

Lead the initiative to make the collection information available online to a broad public.

Identify objects in need of conservation and facilitate approval and funding.

Negotiate logistics and provide recommendations for any external loans of the collection.

Oversee pest management and environmental monitoring of on-site and off-site collections storage and exhibition spaces.

Temporary Loans

Review information and paperwork for temporary loans. Look for opportunities to streamline and automate processes.

Work with the exhibitions and collections team to plan each temporary exhibition. Oversee (and assist when needed) the registrars in their management of the logistics related to the transportation of works of art to and from the Arts Center, including:

  • Prepare correspondence with lenders, contracts, condition reports, packing, crating, and shipping. 
  • Plan shipping routes to take advantage of cost savings. 
  • Prepare facilities reports and condition reports.
  • Ensure compliance with national and international art movement laws and regulations.
  • Maintain accurate records regarding lender requirements, shipping details, and courier information for each object and shipment.
  • Pack, crate, ship, and as needed courier art.
  • Identify security needs for incoming and outgoing objects. 
  • Assist with loading and unloading of art.

Managerial and Administrative

Manage and assist collections and registrar staff. Establish departmental goals and objectives consistent with the Arts Center’s strategic plan. Directly manage the registrarial team.

Work collaboratively with the development department for funding requests involving collections.

Manage the permanent collection budget and develop the annual budget regarding exhibition and collection production areas for inclusion in the exhibitions budget.

Update and keep current records regarding the value of permanent and temporary art, including fine arts insurance or possible claims.

       Provide guidance related to rights and reproductions.



  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in arts management, collections management, or related field. A Master’s degree in a related field is preferred but will consider a combination of training and education.
  • A minimum of seven years experience working in museum registration and collections management with a thorough and comprehensive understanding of best practices in museum registration, insurance, and art handling.
  • Significant project management experience required. The ability to facilitate, implement, and budget a project plan is a must.
  • Ability to be proactive and communicative in the analysis, assessment, and mitigation of risk is essential.
  • Excellent knowledge of museum conservation/preservation practices.
  • Proven track record with collections database software and Microsoft Office Suite; knowledge of imaging software preferred.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to manage complex situations with agility, flexibility, and professional courtesy.
  • High level of written and oral communication skills and negotiation skills.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • A minimum five years of supervisory responsibility with a demonstrated ability to lead a cohesive team and meet or exceed goals.
  • Flexibility to travel and/or work extended hours as needed; ability to work manually as needed.
  • Ability to engage in significant physical activity.
  • Technical expertise is required with abilities to access and research viable logistical, practical, timely, safe, and cost effective options on all fronts.         
  • A valid driver’s license is required as well as a clear driving record

Send cover letter, résumé, and list of professional references to:

John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Human Resources Manager
608 New York Avenue,
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Or email:


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