Norman, OK: Curator of the Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma

Job Opening Title: Curator of the Western History Collections

Institution/Organization Name: University of Oklahoma Libraries

Job Location (City, State, Province, Country): Norman, Oklahoma

Application Deadline: Open until filled

Link to job posting:

Years of experience required: 36-48 months

Job Description (if URL to posting not available). Please include instructions for how to apply.: The University of Oklahoma Libraries seeks applications and nominations for the position of Curator of the Western History Collections. The Curator will oversee a nationally significant collection documenting the American West in an environment rich with partnerships and collaborative opportunities. The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of the role of special collections in promoting innovation, scholarship, and community development, a record of engagement with scholarly, professional, and public audiences, and significant experience (5-7 years) managing research collections in an academic environment.

Position Overview: Reporting to the Associate Dean for Special Collections, University Libraries, the Curator of the Western History Collections leads and directs the Western History Collections (WHC), with particular responsibility for outreach to scholarly and other communities, the development of programming and exhibits, and the continued growth of the Collections through acquisitions via donation and purchase. The Curator is responsible for setting strategic directions within the WHC, in line with OU Libraries’ vision and mission to serve as the intellectual commons of the University. The Curator will work collaboratively across OU Libraries and with campus and external stakeholders to leverage capacity and expertise to further integrate WHC collections into the work of scholars, students, and community members. S/he will develop programs and initiatives that foster meaningful dialogues on campus and in the scholarly and heritage community; identify and seek external funds from individuals, foundations, and granting agencies; and lead an active program of collecting and documentation. The Curator will develop partnerships and manage relationships with students and scholars across the disciplines, and will engage in outreach to groups including cultural heritage organizations, tribal communities, and scholarly societies. S/he will grow already significant collections to extend the range and reach of resources for the study of the American West in the WHC.

Minimum Qualifications: Graduate degree in a relevant field and 36-48 months of experience in an archive, library, museum, research institute, or comparable organization.

Skills Required: Knowledge of research methodologies in the humanities and of practices and trends in the administration of special collections; knowledge of the history, cultures, and geography of the American West; excellent communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills; strong analytical and organizational skills, including project management; experience planning and coordinating constituent-focused events, and in engaging both scholarly and public audiences; supervisory or team-lead experience.

Additional Skills and Experience Preferred: PhD with an emphasis on the American West preferred. 5-7 years managing collections and personnel in a research environment; evidence of experience with fundraising and donor relations; knowledge of the role of the university library within a research university; experience working in an academic environment; experience developing digital humanities projects or applying computational, visualization or other digital tools to historical resources or data; record of publication and service; knowledge of dealer and auction market for historical manuscripts and books; ability to assess and adopt emerging technologies that advance access, interpretation, and management of multi-format collections.

The Western History Collections: Founded in 1927 and an integral part of the OU Libraries’ Special Collections, the WHC is one of the nation’s most important collections for the study of the American West. The Collections’ strengths lie in documentation of Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains, and constitute exceptional resources for scholarly research across many disciplines, including environmental history, economic geology and extractive industries, Native studies, languages and literatures, art history and visual culture, transportation and settlement, military history, local and regional studies, and community life. Collections include more than two million historical photographs, more than 2,000 manuscript collections, and more than 80,000 rare books relating to the history of Native peoples, Oklahoma, the Southern Plains, and the American West. The WHC is also home to the institutional archives of the University of Oklahoma. OU’s extensive resources for the study of the West include accredited museums of art and natural history, the University of Oklahoma Press, the Charles M. Russell Center, Carl Albert Center for Congressional Research, and the Western Historical Quarterly (WHQ, the flagship scholarly journal for western historians). OU has strong doctoral programs in disciplines reliant on the WHC, including History and Art History, Anthropology, Geography and Environmental Sustainability, and Native American Studies. Through instruction, exhibition, research support and resident fellowships, the WHC serves as a site of intellectual exchange. Learn more at the Western History Collections.

About OU Libraries, the University of Oklahoma and the Community of Norman: The University of Oklahoma Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, Center for Research Libraries, HathiTrust, Council on Library and Information Resources, Greater Western Libraries Alliance, and the Western Storage Trust. The University of Oklahoma is a major research university located in Norman, OK, and is home to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (ranked in the top 5 university art museums in the nation), the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2014), and the National Weather Center. Known for its academic excellence and strong sense of community, OU ranks first in the United States in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled among public universities. Conveniently located approximately 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, Norman provides a friendly, small-town atmosphere that offers affordable living coupled with a vibrant array of on-campus cultural and athletic events.

Salary $70,000 to $75,000. Full-time 12 month staff position, with the possibility of affiliate faculty status in an academic department for the candidate with exceptional credentials and experience; support for travel, research, and professional development. Applications require: 1) a cover letter addressing the required and preferred qualifications; 2) a current resume / curriculum vita detailing education and relevant experience; and 3) names and contact information for at least three professional references. Applicant screening to begin immediately; search will remain open until filled. To apply, go to and search for Requisition Number 183047.

An OU Libraries representative will be at the Western History Association Conference in San Antonio, TX, October 17 – 20. Email to schedule an informal conversation.

The University of Oklahoma, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, disability, political beliefs, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to: admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Bobby J. Mason, University Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Coordinator, (405) 325-3546,, or visit .