Collections Manager -- Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan

Major Responsibilities:

Manage and care for the Museum’s accessioned and educational collections (approx. 38,000 objects) in the fields of art, history, science, and library & archival resources. Implement basic preservation measures, ensure objects are stored in the best way possible, monitor daily environmental conditions, and keep abreast of current professional and technical knowledge in the field. Starting annual salary range based on experience: $29- 32K plus benefits.

Primary Duties:

  • Implement the Museum’s Collections Management Policy and Procedures Manual, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Guidelines, all aspects of record keeping, security and emergency collections’ procedures in accordance with professional museum standards and accepted best practices. 
  • Develop a written Scope of Collections statement.
  • In consultation with other staff members, assess the strengths of the collection, determine priorities for future acquisitions, and create a Collection Development Plan and Collection Management Plan.
  • Provide input on any changes to the Collections Management Policy as directed. 
  • Maintain physical and intellectual control over the Museum’s collections:
  • Correspond with donors (potential and previous) and lenders.
  • Ensure completion of all collection forms, including Temporary Custody Receipts, Deeds of Gifts, and Donor Acknowledgment Letters.
  • Maintain accession files.
  • Maintain accession and catalog records in PastPerfect. 
  • Ensure database entries and collection locations correspond. 
  • Manage records of collections on loan.
  • Address the preservation needs of all material in the Museum’s collection, as resources are available.
  • Retrieve collection material for exhibition and return material to proper location or lender after exhibit ends.
  • Respond to public inquiries regarding collections; ensure proper copyright and use rights are maintained.
  • Train and supervise volunteers and interns assigned to assisting with collections management.
  • Submit monthly progress reports, including any immediate needs concerning preservation/conservation of collections to the Executive Director.
  • Support research to provide information on exhibition material (including permanent exhibits, temporary exhibits, and loan items).
  • Assist with other duties as needed.


  • Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent preferred) in museum studies, cultural resource management (specialization in Archives and Records Management preferred), public history, history, art history, or equivalent degree with a minimum of three years’ experience as a collections manager, registrar, archivist, or equivalent collections experience.
  • Thorough knowledge of the professional, legal and ethical standards concerning museum collections management.
  • Thorough knowledge and experience in data entry and museum computer system databases; PastPerfect preferred. Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Excellent organizational, administrative, and computer skills with the ability to pay close attention to detail while not losing sight of overall goals; high level of self-motivation, energy, and flexibility; ability to manage multiple priorities.
  • Ability to develop long-term goals, measurable objectives, and effective implementations strategies.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Able to work well and collaborate effectively with a wide range of audiences including staff, volunteers, educators, funders, sponsors, members, public and other constituencies. Must have good writing skills, public speaking, and presentation skills.
  • Good supervisory skills and the personality to work cheerfully and respectfully with a team approach.
  • Must be able to carry material up and down stairs, handle dollies and carts to transport material and exhibit props, move shelving units, climb ladders, and perform other physical activities as required to manage collections.
  • Willing to work occasional weekends and evenings as circumstances demand.

Please mail resume to:

Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan
491 Johnson Street
Alpena, MI 49707

Please email resumes to:

Posted on the MMA website 3/13.

 The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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